Information design is used in many different places. Food packaging contains global elements like nutritional instructions and product branding. Theatre programmes, company annual reports and retail catalogues, all contain an elements that influences their design. Websites have large quantities of content that needs to be organised and put into categories to be presented in a manner that makes them easy to navigate.
Excellent information design provides convenience, like Harry Beck’s celebrated London Underground topological map, or an element of beauty to possibly dry content, like Oscar and Ewan’s typographic handling of the London Art Gallery Terrace’s proposal form.
There are times when it is important for information to be visually understandable. An example of this is when a pharmaceutical company hires a graphic design company or even a freelance graphic designer to redesigning all its packaging to decrease the number of errors resulting from dosage and dispensing errors due to indistinct information.
The first role of an graphic design company is to organise information for setting up the hierarchy. The second role is to arrange it into an appealing and useful source of visual communication. The design of information involves many complicated elements, many of which are functional. The general impression is that information that’s functional can also be boring.
Since specific technical skills are essential for planning information architecture, many designers gain expertise in the design of information, even though it is considered generally to be a segment of graphic design.
Designers of information can be portrayed as specialists who study people’s reactions to words and images in various formats and find pleasure in exploring various means of information presentation that influences an individual’s response to that information. Experienced information designers present information in different ways based on the target audiences, because they can understand the differences in the approach for information processing for men and women, the young and old, or different cultural groups.
Information design focuses on the end-user through a design process to find out what works and what does not. A graphic design company always thinks about the end user.
Wayfinding is a specific specialisation of information design that moves away from traditional designing to architecture and urban planning. The designers who create graphics for signage can also organise the initial wayfinding research about how people navigate and comprehend spaces. Wayfinding and signage systems are therefore very important.
Since information design is just one part of a broad communication and design process, designers who work in this arena will probably collaborate with specialists in other disciplines, which can include a graphic design company, copywriters, photographers, branding consultants, photographers and web developers.