The Information Design Summer School: 2–6 September 2019

The Information Design Summer School is a week-long intensive 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. We use the new architecture studio at the University of Bath – a wonderful space for creative teaching and learning.

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, Canada, Ukraine, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Brazil, France, Singapore, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Cyprus and Greece.

Here is the 2019 Summer School:

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.

Medicines leaflet

Programme summary

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.

Advanced programme

Quite a few people asked about returning to the Summer School, so we developed the advanced programme. Instead of lectures, it includes a seminar each morning, discussing a topic to be agreed in consultation with those attending. 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.

In the afternoons, the advanced participants work together with the others in project groups.

What does it cost?

Regular fee: £680 (£640 if you book by 1 May 2019)

Discount price for members of IIID, IDA, ISTC, Clarity or PLAIN: £640 (£615 until 1 May)

Advanced programme for previous participants: £450 (£425 until 1 May)

There are also a limited number of student places at £350. People graduating over the summer of 2019 can apply for the student rate.

The course fee includes lunch and teas/coffee, but it does not include accommodation or other meals, except for our course dinner on Wednesday. Most people stay on campus in student accommodation booked directly from the University of Bath. And there are many local hotels (see visitbath.co.uk, any hotel booking site or Airbnb). 

The university is on the edge of town, but there are buses from the city centre about every 15 minutes.  

Cancellation policy: If you cancel after 1 July your payment will not be refunded, unless you can find someone else to take your place.

How to book your place

Make a card payment via Paypal

We will send you a registration form to fill in.

Or pay by bank transfer

It saves us money if you just pay direct to our bank account:

sort code: 08-92-99
account number: 65508631
IBAN: GB67CPBK08929965508631
Swift/BIC: CPBKGB22

Email us to tell us, and we will send you a registration form to fill in.

Or request an invoice

You can request an invoice for your organisation – give us any reference or other information we need to include.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about the course, and whether it is right for you, just email us:
info@simplificationcentre.org.uk

The tutors

Three of the tutors

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.

Jenny Waller

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.

The city of Bath

Students in Bath

Bath is one of the UK’s top tourist destinations, and a Unesco heritage site. The thermal baths enjoyed by the Romans are still there, and other attractions include the Abbey, the Jane Austen Centre, great shopping, and numerous cafés, pubs and restaurants. Find out more at visitbath.co.uk.

Bath is easily reached by rail from London, or from other UK destinations via Bristol or Reading. If arriving at Heathrow airport, you can get the Railair bus to Reading and pick up the train there. Alternatively, Bristol airport serves many European destinations, and there is an hourly bus service to Bath.

What people say

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.'
summer school dinner
'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.'
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