poWeek 9 Hierarchyhierarchy

October 25 Reading on Hierarchy pages 129-139; Reading Presentation; Quiz #6; Discussion; The Noun Project: Building a Global Visual Language

October 27 Design Activity #6: Hierarchy through Contrast

Ellen Lupton says, “As technology allows ever greater access to information, the ability of the designer to distill and make sense of the data glut gains increasing value.” In this assignment, you will learn more about choosing different types of visuals for illustrating specific data.

Before starting this assignment, please review the following learning materials:

This design activity allows you to practice two outcomes:

  • Examine how illustrations contribute to the readability and clarity of information
  • Choose or develop appropriate illustrations for various rhetorical situations


As a designer, you might be tasked with creating new graphics or choosing stock graphics to accompany text. On the surface, this may sound like an easy part of the job. At the very least, it could be fun, right? The challenge is that we often see visual elements that don’t make much sense (clip art, for example) or illustrations that don’t quite support the point of view of the overall document (a circa-1990 computer in a document discussing cloud technology).

In this assignment, choose some data about your life. It could be 10 facts about you. This could be your resume, a visualization of your technical skills, where you have traveled, worked, lived etc. Then, once you have a data set of ten things – use a combination of both text and image to create a poster (using Abode Photoshop or Illustrator) which visualizes the information hierarchically. What is the most important data? Least important? Are some of the items in groups or sets? How do you display this? Save your poster as a PDF. The dimensions of the poster are your choice.

How would you visualize…..

  • An object, such as a computer or a car?
  • Numbers, such as raw data, grades or dates?
  • A concept, such as a creative process or an emotion?
  • A result or outcome or accomplishment?
  • A metaphor, such as a visual representation of a concept as something else?
  • A situation, such as an illustration of a meeting, a class, or someone performing a specific task?.

Be sure to use design elements such as scale, perspective, typography, alignment, color and transparency to organize the information and create visual interest in your poster.

After the activity, post your PDF to your blog and write a descriptive post about your design experience. Include  a)  5+ clear and engaging images (photographs, screenshots) or a video of your work from the day’s design related activities and b) a 100+ word write-up, video, or sound file (think short podcast) of what you achieved (or what you were working toward) from a design thinking perspective. Use vocabulary, concepts  and ideas from the week’s material. The blog post is due Sunday by midnight.