The 2018 Information Design Summer School:
“The summer school was a full-immersion experience that introduced me to new concepts and ideas, inspirational tutors and amazing fellow students that I’ll keep in touch with for years to come.”
This comment from a participant sums up the summer school experience. It is a week-long focus on information design, with lectures, group work, critiquing and discussion. It’s held in Bath, UK, the beautiful spa town famous for its regency architecture and Roman thermal baths. This year we used the new architecture studio at the University of Bath – a wonderful space for creative teaching and learning.
Here’s the 2018 group. They include people from healthcare, law, technical writing and psychology as well as designers.
Other events during the week
Information Design Problems and Solutions, a one day symposium: on the Sunday before the summer school starts, we ran an informal day of talks and discussions, together with members of the IIID Executive Board, who were visiting Bath for a meeting. We had a very good day with superb presentations.
Who is the summer school for?
It is suitable both for people with a design background, and also for others interested in learning about information design to apply to it to their own field. Previous summer schools have been attended by people working in health, technical writing, psychology, education, law and government, as well as by designers wanting to build their information design skills. They’ve come from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, USA, Ukraine, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Brazil, France, Singapore, Lebanon, Cyprus and Greece.
Information design has developed as a specialist field, with a growing research literature and critical tradition. But education and training in information design is hard to find, and people who want to develop their expertise can find themselves isolated, without access to expert help, and often without like-minded colleagues.
At the summer school you will meet with experts in information design with a depth of experience in design practice, research and education, and who cover a range of different specialisms: diagramming, typography, clear writing, content structure, design education, health information design, financial information, government information, management communications and legal information design.
Develop your own work
You can bring your own work to show, discuss and develop during the week. Get help from tutors and fellow students, and leave with an action plan for developing it further, and a well-argued case if you need to persuade others of its merits.
There are lectures, case studies, group working, individual project work, presentations and discussions. And social activities.
Each day brings a different focus:
Monday – focus on critiquing: how to discuss information design and diagnose design problems.
Tuesday – focus on visualisation: diagramming, graphic metaphor.
Wednesday – focus on users: user journeys, personas, use cases, testing.
Thursday – focus on text: layout, design patterns, genres.
Friday – focus on change: consultancy tools to convince organisations of the case for change.
The advanced programme includes a seminar each day, discussing a topic to be agreed in consultation with those who book to come. The seminars may include case studies by participants about their own work or field of practice, book chapters or research articles, or case studies and writings by one of the tutors.
2019 Summer School
We’re already planning the 2019 summer school and will announce the dates and cost as soon as we can. In the meantime, get in touch if you want to be kept in touch.
The course is organised by the Simplification Centre, in partnership with the International Institute for Information Design.
What people say
Here’s what the participants said about the past summer schools:
“”Such a rich week in terms of learning and exchanging ideas: I would do it again, and actually I might!”
“If you’ve just started to learn about Information Design, go on the Summer School. If you’re an Information Design professional, go on the Summer School. If you think you know all there is to know about Information Design, go on the Summer School. You WILL learn something.”
“Go there! You will learn so much and meet lots of interesting people! Don’t hesitate!”
“The tutors were a fount of knowledge. I learnt so much from my fellow course mates too. The breadth of the programme was incredible and provided a great course for designers and newbies alike.”
“The Information Design Summer School provides a great combination of lectures and project work, possibility to learn from the best, build the network and find like-minded friends. A special highlight of the course – experienced professors, who not only share their deep knowledge but also show a lot of real-life examples from their own work in the field. I left the Summer School full of insights and new ideas for my current research work and future projects. Thank you very much!”
“If you want to meet some inspirational people and top up your ideas bank, this is for you.”
“The summer school provided me with a precious set of questions to ask when approaching an information-design-problem. Thanks!”
“The summer school was a full-immersion experience that introduced me to new concepts and ideas, inspirational tutors and amazing fellow students that I’ll keep in touch with for years to come. The phrase “that’s poor information design!” has now entered our family vocabulary [I attended with my daughter], as we’re much more aware of examples of good and bad. More importantly, we now have tools that will help us create more ‘good’ and less ‘bad’!”
“The summer school was hugely stimulating. I met a fantastic bunch of people, and was honoured to learn from tutors who are clearly expert in their fields. It opened my eyes to many areas of information design I’d be oblivious to before! Most of my work is to do with communicating effectively, and I feel like I’ve been given x-ray specs that enable me to see it in a whole new way.”
Dr Rob Waller
Financial and government information, design patterns and genres, wayfinding
Rob Waller is the Director of the Simplification Centre and a practising information designer with over forty years experience. His clients have included many well known service brands and government departments. He was Professor of Information Design at the University of Reading, and he is Adjunct Professor of Communication Design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He was the founder-editor of Information Design Journal, co-founder and former Chair of the Information Design Association in the UK, and he is President Elect of the IIID.
Prof Clive Richards
Diagramming, visualisation, design education
Clive Richards is a leading design educator and Emeritus Professor of Information Design at Birmingham City University. He is President of the International Institute of Information Design (IIID), a former President of the Chartered Society of Designers in the UK, and a trustee of the Simplification Centre. He has a doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London, for his influential work on diagrammatics, and he was an early pioneer of computer animation and computer-aided drafting.
Dr Karel van der Waarde
Health and pharmaceutical information, user-testing, regulation of design, design education
Karel van der Waarde is a leading expert on medical communications and user-testing. His clients include many well known names such as Bayer, Procter & Gamble and Glaxo Smith Kline. With a doctorate on the subject from the University of Reading, he has published numerous papers on information design research and is a frequent conference speaker on information design and pharmaceutical labelling. He teaches visual communication at Basel School of Design and is Vice President for Education and Research of the IIID Executive Committee.
Dr Jenny Waller
Simplification, management communications, editorial structures, skills training
Jenny Waller’s career has included both teaching and professional communications. She has worked in information design, technical documentation, and change management communications for large organisations, such as British Steel, DHL and Guinness, and taught information design at Coventry University, where she was Head of Information Design. She developed and leads the Simplification Centre’s training programme. She holds an MBA from Cranfield University and a doctorate in art education from the University of Reading.