Running since 2013, the Information Design Summer School has gained a reputation as the best place to get a fast introduction to the concepts, principles and challenges of information design.
It is normally a week-long intensive focus on information design, with lectures, group work, critiquing and discussion. In 2021 we ran the same programme online, spread over 4 weeks. Each week there were two 5-hour sessions, with additional readings and creative work done offline. Student feedback was great and we're now reviewing how future summer schools will run - possibly a blend of online and face-to-face.
The next summer school has not yet been announced. The last one was oversubscribed and we started a waiting list. To be among the first to hear about the next one, please contact us using this enquiry form.
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.
Past summer schools have been attended by people from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, USA, Canada, Ukraine, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Brazil, France, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Cyprus and Greece.
We devote special sessions to shared experiences: each participant has an opportunity to show their own work, or share challenges they face and get ideas and feedback from the group.
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, presentations and discussions.
The group work was our biggest challenge as we moved online. We used Mural for this, in addition to Zoom for lectures and discussions, and Basecamp for file sharing and archiving.
Our online summer school included someone in Wisconsin logging on at 6am, and someone in Australia logging on at 9pm.
The normal Summer School is an intensive one week experience when we hold it face to face, and the online version also requires a high degree of commitment, but spread over several weeks. Learning about design can’t be done just by listening to lectures – we work together in groups on practical projecs, and learning comes through the struggle to find order in complex information, and to create new ways to communicate it to users. We are very flexible in our approach and introduce new content in response to questions and issues that emerge during the projects.
The cost of the online summer school was:
Regular fee: £350 (approx €405/$470)
Student fee: £175 (approx €200/$235).
To ensure the course is viable, there are only 4 student places available. These fees may change when the next summer school is announced.
Please use this form to join our waiting list.
If you have any questions about the course, and whether it is right for you, just email us:
The summer school is organised in partnership with the International Institute for Information Design (IIID).
Dr Rob Waller
Financial and government information, design patterns and genres, wayfinding
Rob Waller is the coordinator of the Simplification Centre and a practising information designer with over forty years experience developing clear information for companies such as Vodafone, BT, Barclays, British Gas and many others. He has a doctorate for work on information design theory, and has held academic posts at the Open University, University of Reading and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He is the current President of the International Institute of Information Design (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 a former President of the 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.
Here’s what participants said about past summer schools:
'Such a rich week in terms of learning and exchanging ideas: I would do it again, and actually I might!'
'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 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 been 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.'