Systems and processes: Information design as algorithms and concept maps

Eugene B. Park, Christopher Hamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At its core, Information Design is a practice that weaves and organizes large quantities of information in such a manner that can effectively articulate a specific topic or behavior. While the visual forms created by information designers can vary greatly from a small bar graph in a newspaper article to a large topological map, the variables that give form to such visuals have traditionally been extrapolated from plotting quantitative data. Moving beyond the designs based strictly on numeric or geographic data, this paper introduces the practice of mapping conceptual ideas and practices that are grounded in the principles and methods to create algorithms and conceptual models. When applied as classroom projects, conceptual models and algorithms introduce students to the issues and challenges of navigating through conceptual data through linear and non-linear methods. The application of algorithms can be used to teach how to impart a clear a step-by-step instructions to the user while conceptual models encourages mapping of multiple pathways that converge around a singular and central topic. In addition to its applications as a teaching and research tool for designers to organize and articulate complex ideas, algorithms and conceptual models can also open opportunities for creative interdisciplinary collaborations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-32
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Design education
  • Information design
  • Mapping


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