Reading list

This reading list is the one I used when I taught the MA Information Design programme at the University of Reading. It's a little out of date now, but I plan to revise it soon.

For the background to information design, you don’t have to read all of these works, but nor should you restrict yourself to this list. Some books are here because they open up worlds (Lakoff, Ong) or ideas about method (Alexander, Jones). Some are here because they are classics (Lynch, Twyman, Tufte). Others are here because they are a way in to other disciplines that inform our own (Bechtel, Bateman).

General, philosophy of design, design methods

Alexander, C., Ishikawa, S., & Silverstein, M. (1977). A pattern language. Towns. Buildings. Construction: Oxford University Press.

Butler, J., Holden, K., & Lidwell, W. (2007). Universal principles of design: Rockport. Jones, J. C. (1970). Design methods : seeds of human futures: Wiley.

Lakoff, G. (1990). Women, fire and dangerous things: what categories reveal about the mind: Chicago University Press.

Kinross, R. (1985). The rhetoric of neutrality. Design Issues, 2(2), 18‐30.

Macdonald‐Ross, M., & Waller, R. (2000). The Transformer revisited. Information Design Journal, 9, 177‐ 194.

Ong, W. (1982). Orality and literacy : the technologizing of the word Methuen.

Schriver, K. (1996). Dynamics in document design: creating text for readers:Wiley.

Sless, D. (1997). Theory for practice. Retrieved 1 July 2010, 2010, from

Collections and interdisciplinary conference proceedings

Duffy, T. & R. Waller (eds) 1985. Designing usable texts. London: Academic Press

Easterby, R. and H. Zwaga (eds) 1984. Information design: the design and evaluation of signs and printed material. New York: John Wiley

Jacobson, R. (ed.) 1997. Information design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Jonassen, D. (ed.) 1982 The technology of text vol. 1 Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications; and 1985. The technology of text vol. 2

Kolers, P., M. Wrolstad, & H. Bouma (eds). 1979. Processing of visible language, vol. 1. New York: Plenum Press; and 1980. Processing of visible language, vol. 2.

Zwaga H., T. Boersema, & J. Hoonout (eds) 1999 Visual information for everyday use. London: Taylor & Francis

Practical books

Baer, K. (2008). Information design workbook: Rockport Publishers.

Birdsall, D. (2004). Notes on Book Design: Yale University Press.

Institute for Information Design Japan (Ed.). (2003). Information design source book. Tokyo: Graphic‐Sha Publishing Co.

Schwesinger, B. (2010). The form book: best practice in creating forms for printed and online use.

London: Thames & Hudson.

Visocky O'Grady, J., & Visocky O'Grady, K. (2008). The information design handbook: Rotovision.

Interface design, interaction design, usability

Cooper, A. (1995). About face: the essentials of user interface design: John Wiley & Sons. Moggridge, B. (2006). Designing interactions: MIT Press.

Morville, P., & Rosenfeld, L. (2006). Information architecture for the world wide web: designing large‐ scale web sites: O'Reilly.

Nielsen, J. (2000). Designing web usability: the practice of simplicity: Peachpit Press. Norman, D. (1999). The design of everyday things: Doubleday.

Norman, D. (2004). Emotional design: Basic Books.

Tidwell, J. (2005). Designing interfaces: patterns for effective interaction design: O'Reilly.

Understanding readers and writers

Candlin, C. N. & Hyland, K. (Eds.) (1999), Writing : texts, processes, and practices. London: Longman.

Cohen, D. J., & Snowden, J. L. (2008). The relations between document familiarity, frequency, and prevalence and document literacy performance among adult readers. Reading Research Quarterly, 43(1), 9‐26.

Dillon, A. (2004). Designing usable electronic text CRC Press.

Orasanu, J. (Ed.). (1986). Reading comprehension: from research to practice: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Sellen, A., & Harper, R. (2002). The myth of the paperless office: MIT Press.

Data graphics, pictures, diagrams

Neurath, M., & Kinross, R. (2009). The transformer: principles of making Isotype charts: Hyphen Press. Tufte, E. (1983). The visual display of quantitative information. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.

Tufte, E. (1990). Envisioning information. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press. Tufte, E. (1996). Visual explanations. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.

Twyman, M. (1985). Using pictorial language: a discussion of the dimensions of the problem. In T. M. Duffy & R. Waller (Eds.), Designing usable texts: Academic Press.

Ware, C. (2008). Visual thinking for design. Burlington MA: Morgan Kaufmann.

Language, genre

Bateman, J. (2008). Multimodality and genre: a foundation for the systematic analysis of multimodal documents. . London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Bhatia, V. K. (1999). Integrating products, processes, purposes and participants in professional writing. In

C. N. Candlin & K. Hyland (Eds.), Writing: texts, processes and practices (pp. 21‐39): Longman.

Bhatia, V. K. (2004).Worlds of written discourse. London: Continuum.

Delin, J., Bateman, J., & Allen, P. (2002). A model of genre in document layout. . Information Design Journal, 11(1), 54‐66.

Hoey, M. (1983). On the surface of discourse London: Allen & Unwin.

Waller, R. (1991). Typography and discourse. In R. Barr, M. L. Kamil, P. B. Mosenthal & P. D. Pearson (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research (Vol. II, pp. 341‐380): Longman.


Arthur, P., & Passini, R. (1992). Wayfinding: people, signs and architecture. New York: McGraw‐Hill. Bechtel, R. B. (2007). Environment & behavior : an introduction Sage.

Bechtel, R. B., & Churchman, A. (Eds.). (2002). Handbook of Environmental Psychology. New York: John Wiley.

Berger, C. (2009).Wayfinding: designing and implementing graphic navigational systems: Rotovision.

Calori, C. (2007). Signage and wayfinding design: a complete guide to creating environmental graphic design systems: John Wiley & Sons.

Gibson, D. (2009). The wayfinding handbook: information design for public places: Princeton Architectural Press.

Lynch, K. (1960).The image of the city. Cambridge MA MIT Press.

Meeda, B., Parkyn, N., & Walton, D. S. (2007). Graphics in urban design. London: Thomas Telford. Mijksenaar, P. (2008). Wayfinding at Schiphol : on the how and why of signage at Amsterdam Airport

Schiphol Amsterdam: Mijkensaar.

Miller, C., & Lewis, D. (2000). Wayfinding in complex healthcare environments. Information Design Journal, 9(2/3), 129‐160.

Mollerup, P. (2005). Wayshowing : a guide to environmental signage : principles & practices. Baden: Lars Müller Publishers.

Segaran, T., & Hammerbacher, J. (2009). Beautiful data: the stories behind elegant data solutions: O'Reilly.

Smitshuijzen, E. (2007). Signage design manual. Baden: Lars Müller.

The ‘Reading School’

What your tutors think or once thought

Stiff, P. (1997). 'A footnote kicks him': How books make readers work. Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 28(2), 65‐73.

Stiff, P. (2005). Some documents for a history of information design. Information design journal+document design, 13(3), 318‐330.

Twyman, M. (1979). A schema for the study of graphic language. In P. Kolers, M. Wrolstad & H. Bouma (Eds.), Processing of visible language. Vol. 1 (pp. 117‐150). New York: Plenum Press.

Walker, S. (2001). Typography and language in everyday life: prescriptions and practices. Harlow: Longman Pearson Education.

Waller, R. (1982). Text as diagram: using typography to improve access and understanding. In D. Jonassen (Ed.), The Technology of Text. New Jersey: Educational Technology Publications.

Waller, R. (1985). Using typography to structure arguments. In D. Jonassen (Ed.), The Technology of Text Vol 2. New Jersey: Educational Technology Publications.

Waller, R. (1999). Making connections: typography layout and language, AAAI Fall Symposium on Using Layout for the Generation, Understanding, or Retrieval of Documents (pp. 10‐20): American Association for Artificial Intelligence.

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