Tools of the Trade

Information design has, as a formal discipline, not been in existence as long as other ‘design’ disciplines. That doesn’t mean there are no tools for practitioner to use. Most, if not all the tools for Graphic Design, Copy Design, Web Design, etc… are also the tools of Information Design. Some are physical tools such as software programs, rulers, photo tables, etc.. some are mental tools such as Dan Roams Visual Thinking Toolkit, (Roam, 2009)

Roam's Visual Thinking Toolkit

or Yvonne Hansen’s Graphic Tools for thinking (Jacobson, 2000).

Hansen's Graphic Tools

In any Information Design project (such as these blogs), there should be a liberal smattering of all applicable tools, but only those tools that ARE needed.

For example, in the construction of this blog, I use a productivity suite program (Open Office) which includes a word processor, a spreadsheet (unused in the creation of this blog) a presentation application (also unused) a drawing application, and a database management application (unused for this blog).

I do also own licensed versions of other, more advanced and tightly focused tools, such as Adobe’s Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Flash programs. In fact I used Photoshop to create the background image used by the blog. However, the simple nature of this blog does not require the use of any tools other than my word processor, and my own opinion and commentary. Some may criticize the simplicity of this, but someone once said (I believe the quote is credited to Albert Einstein) “God always takes the simplest way.” Why not learn from the Head Cheese themselves?

Roam, D. (2009) The Back of the Napkin, Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, Expanded Edition Penguin New York, NY.

Jacobson, R. (2000) Information Design Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA.

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