Significance of Information – Reflection


I choose Significance of Information as my second term field project because I wanted to develop on my portfolio work and I knew that the tutor, David Wrenne, would allow me to do this within field. I also knew that David was a tutor I always enjoy working with, and based on my experience within field last year being not so great, I wanted to make sure that I utilised my experience with field this year and ensure that it was as helpful and productive as possible. I am extremely happy that I took this approach to picking this field group because I have throughly enjoyed these 6 weeks and I believe that it has been my favourite field project that I have studied on. I have really enjoyed experimenting and learning about various ways to present information that isn’t just the same old bland pie or line chart. Also I really enjoyed learning about iconography and I definitely will be referencing back to all these techniques I have learnt in my work in the future.

What I firstly liked about getting our brief for the outcome for this project is the fact that it was so open and you could tailor it to be an outcome that is personal to you. When coming up with the initial ideas for the topic I was going to base my outcome on I was originally thinking about doing something to do with Animal rights, however when I was looking at what was trending on Twitter during that period of time, I found an article entitled “how to protest”. I liked the fact that this topic was so relevant to the current situation.

My idea was to create a ‘starter pack’ on how to protest. I wanted to particularly focus in on peaceful protesting because I did not want to be seen to be advocating violent protests, so a lot of the information I gained from my research was based on facts and statistics about peaceful protests. I thought this was relevant to my subject because I could make a piece of editorial containing this information, as well as exploring other ways to present information in this pack. So I wanted a magazine/booklet (which I particularly enjoy creating) as well as other different formats within the pack.

What I found difficult within this project was that because I was effectively setting myself a brief, I really struggled to actually design this pack to a standard that I was happy to within the time constraints. Normally with in a brief it kind of gives you an idea as to what the client is looking for, however because it was for me at times I didn’t really know what I was looking for in terms of design. Therefor if I were to do this project again, I would physically write myself a brief for the project so I could have something to refer back to and pull me back in, because with the project being so open to what you want to do, my mind was running all over the places with different idea’s of design and things I could do.

Overall, I am happy with my outcome, however it’ll definitely be something I work on more before the end of the year because currently I do not feel like it is finished to a standard that I am happy with. I would love to be able to get this project finished and printed out professionally because I am personally very proud of the concept behind it, however I feel that I could definitely do more with it given the time.


Significance of Information – Final outcome.

Today came the end of our 6 weeks spent on the Significance of Information field project, and also deadline day. To mark the end, we all came in to present our outcomes to the rest of the group.

For our presentations, we showed the research and development that went into our project  in order to get to the stage we are at now. When it comes to giving presentations, I often find that I get extremely nervous in the run up to them, so today I tried to not think about it to much and think of it more like a feedback session. Because I find when I am in a environment that I feel comfortable and not under pressure I am able to talk a lot more freely and more confidently. This tac tick worked in the sense that I wasn’t particularly nervous in the run up to presentation, however when it came to giving the presentation I spoke really quickly and got my words jumbled up some times. I think that for me in particular, giving these presentations is a really useful experience because it is helping me work on my presentation skills, however it is definitely something I still need to work on and improve a lot.

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Overall, for my final piece I would’ve loved to have it a lot more finished for the presentation. However given the 3 weeks we had to complete this project, I am happy with what I have achieved and I know it is definitely a project I will be working more on in the next few months, because it is a project that I have become quite passionate about over the last few weeks and I would love to have a finished outcome to include in my portfolio. So watch this space.

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Significance of Information – Project brief

This week we received our brief for our main project we will be undertaking for the last 3 weeks of our field project.

Our brief is to develop an outcome using information that we perceive to be significant. Be it a moment in history that we find inspiring, something personal such as your own music collection, or a documentation of a social issue such as Emmeline Pankhursts’ struggle for the women’s suffrage.  Our outcomes must communicate effectively to a specified audience and our concept will be negotiated through group critique, peer and tutor discussion throughout these next few weeks. The context of our outcome is up to us, it could be a book, moving image, installation and so on.

My immediate reaction to this brief was one of intimidation, simply because it is so open and literally could pretty much be anything we want it to be, when I first read the brief my head went blank and I had no ideas. However over this week I have been researching on topics that I think are of significances, and once I had done this and collated a few idea’s the brief didn’t seem quite so daunting. I wanted my project to be based on information that is important and relevant to the current climate in society.

I had two main idea’s for the topic that I wanted to base this project on:

  1. Animal rights
    In particular the rights of animals in captivity, I did a lot of research on how animals in zoo’s have been ‘put down’ due to human stupidity. For example, at Cincinnati Zoo, when a Gorilla was shot and killed because a 3 year old boy climbed into it’s enclosure. Also, a less recent story at a Chilean zoo, when a suicidal man jumped into a tiger enclosure resulting in two tigers being shot dead and the man surviving.
  2. Protesting
    When scrolling through the trends on twitter there was one entitled ‘How to Protest’, which I thought was relevant because of all the recent protests such as the protests against Donald Trump’s travel ban and also the Women’s Marches. Protesting is something that’ll always be relevant and happening in society, so I thought it could be interesting to look at how you actually protest.

After going in today for our first group tutorial for this project and telling the group my idea’s for the topic, I have decided to focus my project on Protesting. We discussed how I could almost create a starter pack for protesters, teaching them how to protest and so on. Now that I have a set idea and a context I am very excited to proceed with this project and see what comes out of it.

Significance of Information – A day with Stephen McCarthy

Today we had the privilege of having Stephen McCarthy come in to the studio to do a one day workshop with us as part of our field project, the significance of information. Stephen works for the Government digital services and is currently the head of design of a programme called Government as a platform. Stephen firstly did a talk with us on Iconography and Pictograms, the we did a task with him later in the day.

Pictograms – an introduction

Iconography and pictograms

Iconography and pictograms are usually used for signalling direction or instruction, to get to do something. We read imagery in 3 different semiotic levels: Syntactic, Semantic and Pragmatic. ….

  • Isotype – pictures whose details are clear to everyone, are free from the limits of language: they are international.

Thoughts to consider when creating  pictograms

  • The art of implication – what you leave out is just as important as what you put in. The viewer will fill in the gaps.
  • Ask yourself what are the criterial aspects of the thing you are representing
  • Develop consistent systems and patterns. Re use elements.
  • Gerd Arntz
  • Stereotypes can also be effective
  • Cultural context can have a big influence
  • The biggest problem with images is that they are ambiguous
  • A helping language – Otto Neurath

Text and Language

  • Relay – extension of meaning the words work with the image in telling the story
  • Anchorage – meaning is defined by the text
  • Using s second image to aid/elaborate on understanding – this acts instead of textual elements

Stephen’s work: creating visual Can

  • Pictograms as modes of reporting instead of modes of instructing
  • Outcomes: A story, a day in time, a period of time (a month)
  • The story – London Riots
  • The Newspaper – Turned a newspaper from start to finish into a pictogram
  • The headlines – picked headlines from the mail the mirror the star and the sun


Our task for the rest of the day was to create a pictogram story based on a article we had been given in pairs. We had to create 8 to 12 images, and explain the story in the article from start to finish. Me and Amber worked together on this project and we were given a article entitled; “Tall salesman banned after driving with head sticking out of roof”. We were lucky with our article because it was almost quick comical and it made it quite easy for us to create a visual narrative for the story.

We began by break the story down into the main facts so we had 10 facts to base our images from, after this we planned out our pictograms by looking for the best way to visually represent each fact that we had picked out.

After drawing out all our ideas neatly and presenting them in the studio, Stephen assigned a different group to each of our pieces and the group had to try and relay our article back to us by literally just seeing what they understood from the visual narrative we had created with the pictogram stories. Me and Amber were very pleased because the group who looked at ours managed to tell the story more or less. What we found was that its hard to represent little extra facts, such as the fact he was a car salesman without it getting too complicated. However as Stephen pointed out, this is ok because the idea of pictograms is that they are too be used alongside text or to tell a very basic story.


Overall, I really enjoyed the day with Stephen. It was really interesting to learn about his work as part of the Government, and the workshop really made me think about how I could simplify information into one simple pictogram to convey a story effectively.


Significance of information – Visual Storytelling

Today we began a new half day project with David before we were given the brief for our 3 week field project. Our task for the half day project was I was put into a group with Amber and Abbie and we were given an article entitled; “Richest 62 people as wealthy as half of the world’s population, says Oxfam”. Our task was to create a visual story based on the data and facts that we read in this article.

Visual storytelling is what it means to convert information with equal parts, clarity and creativity, speaking with remarkable aesthetic, eloquence about the things that matter in the world today.

To begin we picked out some of the significant points that we found in this article, we quite quickly found a quote which gave us the inspiration for our final idea.

“We cannot afford to carry on giving the richest an ever bigger slice of the cake”

We picked out some of the main statistics that we found in the article and decided to focus our piece of work on them, we did this because we believed that this 4 statistics representing the overall theme of our article the best. These statistics were;

  • In 2010, the richest 388 people owned the same wealth as the poorest 50%
  • In 2014, the richest 80 people owned the same wealth as the poorest 50%
  • In 2015, the richest 62 people owned the same wealth as the poorest 50%
  • 1% of people own more wealth than the other 99% combined

Our initial ideas were that we wanted to create some sort of 3D representation of these facts, however because we only had 2 hours to complete this project we naturally had to reign our ideas into something more manageable within the time constraint. Based on our inspiration we got from the quote, we decided to focus on the idea using cakes as a visual representation, more specifically we reigned in on the idea of using a patisserie counter as a way to represent these facts.

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I believe that as a group we all worked well together, we have worked together as a 3 before so I was confident before the project started that it would be a success. We divided up the tasks evenly and managed to complete our design to a degree that we were happy with within the time constraints. I believe that we all felt that if we had more time on this project we would’ve loved to be more adventurous, and create a larger, more structural piece that was more realistic, or even create a stop motion with it. Possibly even using real cakes! However given the 2 hours we had, we were very happy with our final outcome.


The Significance of Information

Today was the start of term 2 of 2nd year and our first day back after the Christmas break. For the first 5 weeks of this term we will be doing our chosen field project, I chose to do the Significance of Information with David Wrenne.


The day started with a briefing on the field group about what we will be doing for these 5 weeks and then a lecture about what information design is. Information design is the skill and practice of preparing information so people can use it with efficiency and effectiveness. The term was used firstly by the graphic design consultancy, Pentagram, based in London. They used the term to distinguish their designs from other types of design. However there if evidence of information design being used thousands of years ago in cave paintings, and hieroglyphics.
One of the most famous examples of information design is the London Underground tube map, designed by Harry Beck in 1931.


First Data

After the lecture David then put 6 questions each on a table and we all had to go around these tables and write our answer to these questions on a post it note. The questions were:

  1. If you had to be stuck in a lift with somebody who would that be?
  2. What is your favourite book/publication?
  3. If you had to listen to one song on repeat what would that be?
  4. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  5. What is your guilty pleasure?
  6. Who inspires you?

After we had answered these questions we were put in 6 groups and each group was allocated to an individual question, the question that my group was given was “If you had to be stuck in a lift with somebody who would that be?”. Our task was to create an infographic based on the answers of the group. We firstly divided our answers up into different categories based on who the person is that each person had decided they wanted to share a lift with. The categories were: politics, personal, celebrities, utilitarian and authors. For our infographic we decided to focus in on the idea of using the lift as a visual image. We decided to base our infographic on the image that you often see in shops etc directing you to the lift. Each lift was placed at different heights on the page depending on the amount of people in each category, and inside each lift they also contained the amount of people in that category.  This was the final result of our infographic.


Each group then placed each of their infographics onto the board and we all gathered round to discuss and give feedback. It was really interesting to look at how other groups had interpreted their questions and how they put this into a visual idea. The feedback that we were given was that we need to represent each category better in a visual way, this is so when the viewer see the infographic they immediately know what each lift represents. Overall, David said it was a strong graphic. I agree with these points, and I feel that we can easily make the lifts more visual.


Beautiful Systems

Our second task of the day is to be our task for the week, we were tasked to create 3 outcomes that share a system/convention and that revolves around a moment in time.

Our group decided to document how people react to a random white piece of paper being placed in random environments. The 3 environments we chose to place the paper was at the entrance to the heart space, in the graphics studio and also on social media. We then observed how people reacted from 3 to 4 pm.


Publish – Week 2

Today in field, we were put into pairs to design a magazine cover for a topic of our choice. I was paired up with Amber and we decided to design our cover based on cycling.

Our first task was to decide what type of cycling magazine we wanted our publication to be, in the end we want to base in on the environment that we cycle in. We chose the heading “the world’s deadliest tracks” for this particular issue of our publication. A big reason why we chose this topic is because we felt that we could create the most visually appealing magazine on this topic in the time frame we were given.

We chose to name our magazine Ride. We wanted something short and snappy and a name that easily rolls off the tongue, we were surprised to find that no cycling magazine that we could find in our research already used this name.

We decided on the layout of our magazine cover after doing research on other cycling covers. We found that a lot of current cycling magazines use a really similar and frankly quite boring layout, so we wanted our magazine to stand out from other cycling magazines. To do this we decided to stay away from using the main image covering the whole page, instead we placed it in different places on the page and created a white border almost.