Course Goals

The aim of this class level is learn how to represent sequential, multi-level, complex information in a clear, visual communication form. This process is known as information design or information architecture. The outcome is to create a ‘memorable experience’ for your audience, rather than just a ‘cultural artifact.’ This process is know as ‘experience design.’

We will create a body of work under the rubric of addressing the growing epidemic of obesity in this country. Right now, over ¾ of people are overweight; ½ of these are obese. We will explore how the demographic of young adults, 18-25 years old, are effected and what can be done to alleviate this epidemic. We will create an information design project, via a Public Service Announcement, where the goal will be to educate and persuade the UMD students to be aware of and change their unhealthy behaviors to positive ones. We will conduct original research, write our own content, and design the project. Finally, we will test our outcomes in the public realm.

Course Project

Next, the entire class will vote on one visual concept (or a hybrid version). Then everyone will break into 3 major medium teams--- print, video and web--- to complete the final PSA campaign.

1. REALIZE = 25% of final grade
Individually, you will conduct field research and collect data to support your topic. The broad categories will be eating, moving, shopping and doing. You will write a report on your findings and use the content for brainstorming as well as sketching thumbnails and roughs of your visual and verbal concepts for the class’ information design project.

2. VISUALIZE= 25% of final grade
Then, you will work in design teams of 3 people, comprised of 3 different mediums- print, video and web. In this ”home” group, you will combine your individual research and concepts. Together you will create comps of your “pitch” for the final PSA communication campaign2 i.e. print collateral (posters, pamphlets), web (branching system), video (DVD mapping). Then the class will vote on one visual and conceptual direction or a hybrid one.

3. ACTUALIZE=25% of final grade
The entire class, while working in their broad medium groups will bring the entire visual and conceptual Public Service Announcements campaign to a finished visual and verbal communication form. Then everyone will locate UMD forums and outlets to distribute the final project you have created in the public realm on campus.

Ongoing: 25%

Readings, writings and discussions to apprehend the fundamental practices of information and experience design. 15% of final grade.

Participation and attendance is critical, especially with group projects where members are dependent upon you. 10% of final grade.

Overview of class

You will work in specialized groups to lead class discussions in your area

Home and Medium Groups initially will be voluntary, and then assigning will take place dependent on design interest, ability, timing, etc.

You will work as a graphic designer in a STUDIO setting, with your classmates acting as members of your design team. You will nominate a team leader, who represent your group, and meet with me to make key class decisions throughout the semester. I will act in the capacity of a Creative Art Director.

Course Readings (subject to change depending on needs of class)


Citizen Designer, Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne
Experience Design, Nat Shredhoff
National Geographic Magazine article on Fat
Time Magazine article on Obesity
Keep up to date on what is going on with obesity in the USA by reading newspapers and magazines,
watching national and local evening news programs, listening to radio (NPR) or searching websites
Other articles, reading handouts depending on need


Envisioning Information, Edward Tufte
Information Architects, Richard Saul Wurman

Reading Response Form (last page of PDF syllabi, you must print this out)