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Paul Kahn: Seeing the Differences: A New History of Information Design

In this talk, A+D’s own Paul Kahn will offer a glimpse into his new book project on the history of information design.

Information design encompasses the selection and encoding of qualitative and quantitative data, an art practiced by every human culture in every time period. This talk will explore information design history along nine functional themes:

  1. Cosmology and Theological Narrative
  2. World, Kingdom and City Maps
  3. Transportation
  4. Genealogy and Lineage
  5. Timelines
  6. Scientific Explanation
  7. Economic Trends
  8. Mechanical Controls
  9. Engineering & Business Process

Our appreciation of information design must not be limited to visualizations of quantitative data, nor should our design heritage be limited to Western examples. Viewing a collection of design solutions from different time periods and cultures in light of these themes is meant to broaden our view of the subject. Confronting, learning from and embracing these approaches to information design will help us grow as data visualization practitioners.