P01: Information Design


This term we will be working with the City of Vancouver's Sustainability Office to help citizens understand and make decisions relating to their ecological footprint. Working with the context provided by the City staff you will be creating designs intended to clearly and effectively communicate the idea of an ecological footprint. You can pick one of, a combination of, or all of the following categories:

After selecting one of the options above, you will sift through City provided materials to develop your own design that effectively communicates the chosen topic to a general audience, as well as identify how your design successfully conveys the given information. Keep in mind that your audience will not necessarily have an understanding or explanation of the technical terminology being used, so an integral part of this project is making complex information accessible.

This project is to be completed individually.


Before your lab time on Jan 30/31.


15% of your final grade.


There are a number of weeks in which to complete this project, so please make sure to read the instructions below carefully.

Starting Jan 9/10

In the labs, you will start by looking at the collection of resources provided by the City on the given list of topics. Your main task this week is to consider how to make the given information understandable by a general audience (who is not trained in this area). As part of this you will also begin drafting approaches to the design. To get started, please consider the following questions:

  1. Purpose:
  2. Information:
  3. Use:
  4. Organize your answers to #1/2/3 from the above into an easily understood document (500 words total max). You will be discussing your findings next week in the labs, so it is important that you make it readable for your classmates.

    Having answered the questions above, generate twenty thumbnail sketches which demonstrate how you would approach laying out the necessary information.

Due in your Jan 16/17 lab:
:D (Exceeding expectations):) (Meeting expectations):| (Approaching expectations)

In addition to meeting expectations (outlined to the right) at least three high-fidelity sketches have been made (in addition to the 20 thumbnail sketches) to help further explore those directions.

  • 1 completed set of answers in a readable format, printed for lab.
  • 20 thumbnail sketches of initial designs demonstrating a variety of different design directions.
  • 1 mostly complete set of answers in a readable format, printed for lab.
  • 20 thumbnail sketches of initial designs, with little variety of different design directions.

Starting Jan 16/17

There will be discussion and critique in the lab this week, so please make notes as necessary.

  1. Based on your responses from last week, in-lab discussion, and critiques develop an vector mockup for a design direction which helps communicate your topic to a general audience. Take into consideration:
  2. Prepare a brief argument (max 300 words) of why your design communicates the necessary information effectively, and use clear visual examples to support your argument.
Due in your Jan 23/24 lab:
:D (Exceeding expectations):) (Meeting expectations):| (Approaching expectations)

In addition to meeting expectations (outlined to the right) the argument uses visual references from the design to effectively demonstrate the strengths in the design.

  • 1 vector mockup of a new design, printed for lab.
  • 1 argument of why your design communicates the chosen topic effectively, printed for lab.
  • 1 vector mockup of a new design, printed for lab.
  • No argument printed and/or provided for lab.

Starting Jan 23/24

This week in the lab you will receive additional feedback on your vector mockup and argument. The feedback should be worked into your final design due next week. Please make sure your final deliverables for next week answer:

  1. How the design clearly and effectively conveys the chosen topic.
  2. The brief argument (max 300 words) should effectively argue why your design effectively conveys the chosen topic, using clear and appropriate visual examples to support your argument.

Final Delivery

Final deliverables are due to Canvas before your Jan 30/31 lab and make sure to double-check all your submitted files to ensure they can be opened. Final submission is 1 PDF document, which includes:

Remember that Information Design is a design course, and as a result the submitted package of materials and their quality should be considered a design problem just as much as any other aspect of the project.

Grading Rubric

Your project will be graded on the following criteria, a more detailed rubric is available on the course pages.

  1. Process — Weekly deliverable checks, final deliverable quality, quality and quantity in exploring potential design solutions (3pts)
  2. Argument — Quality of argument, focus on topic, use of visuals to support argument (6pts)
  3. Design — Application of design elements/principles, quality of designed materials, balancing aesthetic engagement and utility (6pts)