(Info) Design Associations, Journals, Online Platforms

The communication of new data and information to others is what transforms information and data into knowledge and thus what makes possible the development of a discipline. (Design) researchers can build up their work on others only if previous works have been properly documented (there are some requisites that have to be followed).

Since design was officially made a discipline in 1836, Design research has gone through different periods. In the modern history of Design research, three periods can be found:

The three main periods of Design research

Design outcomes. The first was in the 1920s, when the main interest was in researching final design outcomes, such as products and posters. During this period, design outcomes were often created following rational methods. As an example, movements such as the Bauhaus, De Stijl and constructivism presented new ways of understanding art and design based on systematic and rational approaches.

Design processes. The second period was around the 1960s, known as the ‘design science revolution’, in which the scientific side of design evolved significantly. During the 1960s and ’70s it was common to find professional designers (and architects) concerned with defining analytical and teachable theories about the design process in addition to merely solving design problems. Systematic steps and approaches were adopted to structure the design processes. In addition, technological development had a key influence on designer’s processes adding computers as powerful and indispensable tools that dramatically reduce the time taken to produce design outcomes. In addition, specialised software enables them to try different proposals, techniques and layouts very rapidly, increasing the daily production of new design projects. This methodological design wave was interrupted during the 1980s and ’90s.

Design methodologies. The third started in the 2000s, with the rebirth of design science questions. Design research communities, spread in the 1990s at European universities and colleges (Schneider, 2007), started to grow at the end of that decade and the beginning of the 2000s.

I have been searching about the different (info) design organisations and journals, here and there, and then I have looked if there were similar characteristics in their structures and way of sharing information with their audiences and members. Below, I wrote a list with the design organisations and design journals I consider more relevant or are more related to my info design work.

AIGA. American Institute for Graphic Arts
ICOGRADA. International Council of Graphic Design Associations
Visible Language Journal
Icographic Magazine (The review of International Visual Communication Design)
SND. The Society for News Design.
SNDE Society for News Design Español. Malofiej
IDJ. Information Design Journal
Design Issues Journal. Academic journal to examine design history, theory, and criticism
TED Conferences. Technological Entertainment and Design Conferences
IIID. International Institute for Information Design
IDA. Information Design Association
DAC. Design Against Crime. Research Centre. University of the Arts
AIG. Applied Information Group
Foroalfa. Latin American online platform for design
Visual Complexity. Online platform for data visualisation projects
TEDMED. Conversations that demonstrate the intersection and connections between all things medical and healthcare related: from personal health to public health, devices to design and Hollywood to the hospital
NextD Journal | ReRethinking Design

This list of associations and journals are chronologically organised according to their date of creation, highlighting their country of origin (although most of them have offices all around the world), and the design research period they might belong to (when they were created).

It is interesting to see what comes up from visualising the Design research periods and the above list of associations and journals all together (see image above). It can be seen that many of them had emerged during the second period, for example; which might mean a deep interest of understanding and analysing the design process. The increasing organisation of conferences about a particular subject or (sub)discipline of design can be seen as a sign of Design research consolidation. Similarly, when the diagrammatic language began to be considered as a valuable, rigorous and objective language, one of the key points was the consolidation and development of International Conferences about what was called the graphic method, starting in Brussels in 1853, but running annually in a different country.Recently there seems to be changing the way associations share information and get in touch with their audiences and members. Internet as an active platform offers a different modality for sharing and discussing ideas, which at some point may be seeing as a valuable tool for facilitating the spread of knowledge. I am not a fan of social online platforms as Facebook or Twitter, but when they are used as a place for knowledge discussion, they can reach massive audiences. However, attending to face-to-face conversations, forums and conferences is also a way of learning new knowledge, and this includes having the chance to personally meet the person who has just given a lecture.

Although Blogs don’t tend to follow academic requirements, they can also be rich platforms for sharing ideas, comments and thoughts.

– Funkhouser, H. G., 1937. Historical development of the graphical representation of statistical data. Osiris, 3, pp.272-464.
– Schneider, B., 2007. Design as practice, science and research. In: R. Michel, ed. 2007. Design research now. Berlin: Birkhäuser, pp.207-18.


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