Exercise: Giving Information

Find some examples of information graphics. For example bus timetables, city maps, diagrams or representations of statistical data. Look at the way they are designed and try and work out the decisions the designer made. What can you learn from them and when would it be appropriate to use a similar design solution?

For this exercise you are going to describe your immediate surroundings using information graphics; this could be a plan of your desk, the layout of your house, the arrangement of objects in your cupboards or your morning journey; anything will do.

Before you start you will need to think about scale and about how you will break down the information for your design. Create a graphic that represents an aerial or front on view of your location. Be mindful of the hierarchy of the elements in the composition and the dynamics needed to draw the viewer’s eye from one stage to the next. Use typography, numbers and colours to describe what is being represented. You may want to produce a key to help us understand what is being shown, as well as a diagram title to put things in context.

Keep all your sketches and notes in your learning log.

I did some research on info graphic designers. I added this to my “Graphic Designers” page.

This is a great site about the 25 best ideas for Infographics.

This week I was asked to create a trail map for an upcoming event on the island where I live. The curator and I listed what we wanted on the map. She decided that she wanted an A5 folded sheet. The logic for this was that if it was raining a small map would be better than an A4 sheet. The map needs to show the location of 8 art galleries. It also needs to contain the ferry timetable and the phone number for the island bus.

We used the existing ferry timetable which was designed by our ferry crew man. He uses a drone to photograph and has a great deal of computer experience. It is clear and simple to follow. The only problem is that the ferry owner sometimes decides to change the ferry times!!!! We have a mobile phone alert system to inform us of changes…

I think Greg, our ferry crew man, used excel to create this and then probably made a PdF and imported it into Photoshop. I used a map of the island on which we would place the trail. I would have preferred a blank map but the curator wanted the town lands on the map. We did remove some in Photoshop. Below is the only one that existed. I did not have the time to create a new one…

I took the map into InDesign and added the red dots. I numbered each dot and put a list of the artists on the inside of the folded sheet. We did not have all the relevant information so it is still a work in progress.

This is a very simple information graphic. I looked up some others on the web. Below is a screen snap of some. 

I had never really considered ways to demonstrate information graphically. I have worked with Excel and produced histograms and pie charts. But these were produced automatically. I have added colours to differentiate information contained therein. But I never gave much thought to the effectiveness of what I was creating. I assumed most of these info graphics were created in Illustrator.

I have wanted, for a long time, to create an information map for visitors to my garden. Time and lack of inspiration have not advanced this project…. But now I can use this exercise to, hopefully, produce something which will be of use to me in the future.

This site gives the ten best infographc designs. These are mostly about ways of gardening rather than mapping a garden. I like this one below about composting. It does not give much useful information but it is attractive. The colours are ‘earthy’

I like the way the following one is set out with the main map of the design in the centre and the information on either side. I could use something like this with the garden site in the middle and plant lists etc on either side.

I think both graphics were probably created in Illustrator. The second one is the sort of map/information sheet I would like to produce for my garden. However I find it a little too fussy for my needs.

This is an amazing info graphic about using recycled items in a garden. This is something I am really interested in and use continually. I would like to add the information about my own recycled items on my graphic. But again it might make the map too confusing.

I have made a copy of the post code site map of our site:

This is not a very accurate map as we have purchased a little more land since this map was created. I will correct it in photoshop before using. I will use this in my log to mind map what I would like to be included on it.

This is the google map of our garden:

Worked on the outline map in my log. I like the result.

On the left I listed what I wanted to include. I think the map I have produced is a little too fussy so I will scale it down in Illustrator.

Having created my symbols I placed them on the map in Illustrator. I added a key for symbol explanation. I also added a little information about my garden and house.

Here is the result:


I think the above map is a reasonable start to my project of producing a garden plan for visitors to my garden. I like my hand drawn map better as it contains more detail. But I think it might be too detailed and a little confusing for visitors.

I will give it to a few friends who know my garden and see what they think.

Deirdre Ní Luasaigh

Hi Nuala

I love it!!

My comments in general

  • Great clarity. Clarity in the garden sketch as well as in the key to the left. This is hugely difficult to achieve and in my view critical to all good design, but especially so for infographics.
  • The piece of writing is great and simple and again easy to understand.
  1. To pick out modifications, two things struck me.

‘Studio’ word is small and difficult to read on the sketch. Possibly could use a letters system on the sketch to identify ‘house’ , ‘ruin’ & ‘studio’ connected to the key on the left eg and a dot with the letter inside for each building on the sketch

8 Buildings:

  •             a house
  •             b ruin
  •             c studio

2:  There is more detail in the writing that does not quite match the key – references to ‘new house’ and ‘old house’ , ‘stream’­  and ‘the elms’ Maybe find a way to include these in the key as well.
Deirdre Ní Luasaigh


Need something to indicate the entrance…

So here is the final version:

Well I thought it was the final version until I used it for this weekend. I had the garden open to the public for an Open Islands Festival. I gave out my Infographics and asked for comments. One lady who was a book editor and proof reader gave me very useful feedback. She indicated spelling errors, I had a comma at the end of the tree paragraphic and not at the end of shrub paragraph. I had a space before the “The” in the second last paragraph on the right. I have corrected all these and her is the Final, final result!


Both of these tasks seem to have been beneficial for you ; the birthday list is a good, functioning document and a solid example of how mocking-up and making a physical version of something very much helps to inform its application. I think it’s fantastic you chose to map your garden and this is also a strong example of you using the GD1 course with good personal application. I hope this kickstarts a long line of garden maps – with practice these will become more proficient and just what you want them to be (I must say I did get quite excited about the house being used to raise Elven children!). I, like you also appreciate the hand drawn version and its detail ; if you fancy scanning this for me I’d be happy to spend a short time during our skype showing you how you could digitally enhance / colour this to make more of it.

Following this advice I looked at my had drawn map again and photographed it and took it into Photoshop. I converted it to B&W and colorised it.  thought the garden trees etc. were self explanatory but I wanted to add the tex about the house and its history. I hand wrote this and soaked the sheet in cod coffee to make a sepia effect but this did not work. So I hand wrote it not to printed sheet and re-c opined it before having it professionally printed. I have included this in my portfolio.