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Information and Experience Designer Paul Kahn has been teaching information design history for many years and explored a global perspective into the history of information design together with his students. He has recently published an exciting new series exploring global information design on Nightingale, the Journal of the Data Visualization Society. Paul writes:

Global information design embraces the visualizations of qualitative data such as expressions of social hierarchy, cultural beliefs, and values, as well as visualization of quantitative data, such as economic trends and scientific explanation. We can broaden our view of information design by following the pathways of its intended use. Exploring the history of how we visualize cosmology and timelines, transportation networks and family lineage, is as informative for current data visualization practice as the mastery of programming libraries and cognitive science. Studying examples of information design from many time periods and many cultures helps us understand how we shape patterns of difference into hierarchies and networks to create that chart, story, or graphic from the patterns that connect.

Access the articles through the links below.

Part 1 – Global Information Design: A New Framework for Understanding Data Visualization

Part 2 – Diving into Global Information Design: Cosmology in the Large

Part 3 – From Creation to Migration: Cosmology in the Small

Part 4 – Maps = Eyes + Imagination, Envisioning the Known World

Part 5 – Kingdom Maps: Drawing the Boundary Between Us and Them

Part 6 – City Maps: Ways to View the Polis

Part 7 – Visualizing Overland Travel, When All Roads Led to Rome

Part 8 – On the Road, From the Postal Web to Lincoln Highway 

Part 9 – Reaching Invisible Destinations, Information Design for Travel by Sea and Air

Part 10 – Over and Under the City, vacillating between the simple and the familiar

Part 11 – Drawing Cultural Position: Transmission of Power Among Ancestors and Descendants