Introduction: Living in the digital age
We live in a world inundated with visual signs, and navigate said world through an implicitly learned visual literacy. We interact with charts, graphics, symbols, visualizations and the like with limited thought, and over the last decade or two, with limited typographic input. We operate smartphones, tablets, and computers through visual monikers that represent certain actions and applications, such as the “Settings” or “texting” buttons, and icons for particular Apps.
Over the last two decades, new screen-based technologies have generated an increasingly visual culture, with a focus on multimodal communication and continuous instantaneous information exchange. Simultaneously, innovative computing technologies, greater access to said technologies, and increased participation by individuals on the Internet and Social Media have generated a hitherto unseen influx of information - thereby ushering in the age of Big Data. The merging of Big Data with our visual culture has given birth to the Information Designer, the Data Scientist and Data Journalist; it determines our present focus on data driven visualizations and infographics, both within popular culture and the academy.
- What constitutes beauty in information design, and
- How does aesthetics inform interpretation and credibility?