6. Diagram, Motion, Rules and Randomness

In this last session we will cover:

  1. Diagram Creation
  2. communicating Time and Motion in 2D design, and
  3. understanding when we need to design with within a framework of Rules and/or Randomness

Diagram in general

First, lets talk about diagrams in regards to concept, design and layout.

Diagram: Concept

Concept dictates complexity. What are you trying to communicate? Can you do it with two circles and some text as in a Venn diagram? Regardless of complexity, strive for simplicity in presentation. Don't add unnecessary ornamentation if it does not help convey your information.

Ven Diagram

Diagram: Design and Layout

As the complexity increases, much more care needs to be invested in avoiding unnecessary information. Edward Tuft, the author of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, encourages those that will create graphics to avoid unnecessary "ink" in data graphics. His advice, page 105:

  1. Above all else, show the data
  2. Maximize the data-ink ratio. (don't put too many lines on a grid if they are not needed: use lines (ink) to show the data
  3. Erase non-data-ink
  4. Erase redundant data-ink
  5. Revise and edit

Tuft also has a good section in The Visual Display of Quantitative Information discussing the concept of chart junk. Drop shadows, 3D effects, hatching should be avoided. Creative integration of images in charts can be overpowering and can slip into the realm of chart junk, even though they might be supremely creative, well designed and very clever. Not everyone agrees with Tuft's perspective, and editors do obviously send eye-catching busy charts to press.

Here is a presentation at speakerdeck.com that illustrates how you might go through the process of improving the data-ink ratio of your diagram.

Diagram: Complex Example; mostly data-ink

For example, if you are trying to create something very dense and complex, like this exploded parts diagram for a model race car, maximize the data-ink ratio.

Here is a view of the assembled model and the un-assembled model.

More info on exploded parts drawing at wikipedia

Time, Motion Rules and Randomness

Below is a diagram that I have created that combines all of the elements we need to cover: Time, Motion and Rules and Randomness. We will discuss this more in class.

watch images

Hands On Work

For hands on work, we will learn how to download some free svg map graphics and put them in Illustrator and modify them. If you have other graphics that you are interested in developing, then you can work on that after you have downloaded a map and learned how to modify it.

We will also work in InDesign.

More Links

  1. 100 diagrams that changed the world
  2. Interactive Web-based graphics
  3. here is one using D3.js code geodesic globe
  4. Information Graphics by Taschen
  5. National Geographic Information Graphics by Taschen
  6. Amazon Search for Information Graphics

Graphic Design Basics