“Making things as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

The differences between Data Visualis(z)ation and Information Design are thrown about a lot on the web as well as on books. Perhaps, the terms and functions still aren’t understood by many that use it. I personally find that the explanations below are rather easy for my brain to digest.

The main goal of Data Visualisation is to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means. It doesn’t mean that data visualisation needs to look boring to be functional or extremely sophisticated to look beautiful. To convey ideas effectively, both aesthetic form and functionality need to go hand in hand, providing insights into a rather sparse and complex data set by communicating its key-aspects in a more intuitive way (Friedman, 2008).

Information design is the defining, planning and visualisation of the contents of a message with the intention of achieving particular objectives in relation to the needs of the target users. It is an area concerned with understanding reader and user responses to written and visually presented information (International Institute for Information Design).

To be honest, words are not as easy as to form a mental image with these explanations after much readings. Hence I put them down in a simple information design hoping to share my understanding to the next reader who might find it useful.


The agreement in simple terms:

Data Visualis(z)ation is the Exploration of Data; Information Design is the Presentation of Data. They both share the same value – to present knowledge yet for a different purpose, outcome, medium, element usage and various categories. The key to avid data overflow or over-working on both design, I quote Albert Einstein:

Making things as simple as possible, but not simpler.

It is how effective the knowledge being conveyed to the audiences, the goal ultimately.

And to answer to my earlier query: Where does my research topic “to re-look at the nutritional labels design” fall in? It is definitely in the information design. I can’t wait to share the mind-mapping journey of my research in the next post.

More, later.


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