The Communication Design process was often considered a three-stage activity: first, a concept was developed, then a tangible design was produced, and this was then presented to an audience through the available channels — usually print or broadcast media. Information design practice involves the same central task, the making of tangible design; however, the focus at each end of the process is generally more analytical, staged, and objective. From the outset there needs to be great refinement in the data/concept development. The source data, once identified and accessed, must be modeled through an effective algorithm. This can be a "conceptual algorithm” that determines how the information will be intellectually modeled, or a computational algorithm that automates a tangible result. Today’s designers also have great control over channels of distribution and this permits investigation into user experience and interface workflows.
For the kick-off of our eighth volume, the Parsons Journal for Information Mapping, contains articles on: the transmedia narrative, the greater social impact of arms trade treaty negotiations, mapping non-linear text/image data sets, and mapping the (design) critique process. In every case the challenge is to look at source data that is both qualitative and quantitative and conceptually process this information in order to reveal heightened insight. All the applied “algorithms” are intellectual ones conceived by the authors; these are applied to their chosen data sets, or in most cases here, source examples. For information designers the study of data kinds and sources against the interpretation and ultimate processing and “through-put” practice is one of the three pillars of capability. (The others being the ultimate visualization of the models so derived and their effectiveness in the hands of users.) We hope you enjoy the challenges faced by the authors and the heightened insights their interpretive skills provide via the resultant models.
Ben Rubin, Publisher, and William Bevington, Editor-in-Chief
Parsons Journal for Information Mapping
by Kathryn Weinstein, MFA
by Amritha Subhayan Krishnan, MA & Vivek Mohan, PHD
by Brad Tober, MDES
by Tegg Westbrook, MA
Communication design, data collection, design critique, data visualization, graphic design pedagogy, information design, quantitative reasoning
This case study provides design educators with an assignment they can use to introduce principles of data collection, and a pedagogic space in which to explore quantitative reasoning skills and data visualization strategies. The study describes how, in two sections of an undergraduate Information Design course, the final critique of a mid-term project was replaced with an anonymous survey instead of the traditional delivery of feedback through verbal dialogue. Responses were collated into data sets for each student project, stripped of identifiers to maintain anonymity, and then distributed to the class with the directions to create data visualizations of the critique. Students used various mapping strategies (charts, graphs, and maps) in their visualizations. The resulting projects provided a variety of means to display the outcomes for the entire class of the preceding assignment and identified specific weaknesses and strengths of each individual project. This paper explores the value of democratizing the critique process, one that ensures that each student’s response to the survey is documented and presented with equal weight, and the potential benefit to student learning.
Kathryn Weinstein is Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Queens College, CUNY. Her work spans media, including web interface design, print design and photography. Much of her work has focused on not-for-profit institutions, including arts foundations, local health and housing services, legal defense and youth services. She has received funding from CUNY Workforce Development Initiative, PSC CUNY and CUNY Service Corps to implement internship programs and track career pathways of former interns. She is co-founder and co-director of Design Incubation.
Business models, co-production treaties, film and media, systematic review, transmedia storytelling
The concept of transmedia storytelling is unique in the sense that it entails telling different portions of a story on separate media platforms. Furthermore, it varies from other forms of cross-platform distribution. The adaption of transmedia storytelling perspectives and business models in creative co-production ventures is an evolving phenomenon, which presents scarce evidence in extant studies. In the light of the recent India-UK co-production treaty, this paper is aimed at offering a thematic analysis of evidence concerning the transmedia storytelling and business models in films and co-production ventures. The paper reviews existing studies and published work over the past fifty years to suggest a thematic map of research for future research ventures in this fairly under-researched area. Along with several crucial findings, the study confirms that more focused studies in the area will help to form clear assertions about the cultural, artistic, and economical possibilities of the film co-production agreement between the Republic of India and the United Kingdom and bilateral impacts of the same in creative agendas. The study offers crucial practical and theoretical implications for future analysis of the creative progression of co-production elements, which will also map the developmental graph of transmedia evolution, and also the variables involved in the exchange of practice facilities and infrastructure between the two countries.
Amritha Subhayan Krishnan (MA) is a Masters student in Filmmaking in the Northern Film School at Leeds Beckett University. She is also an experienced Film Editor with a keen interest and expertise in dealing with Transmedia narrative projects which has motivated her to pursue a PhD in Transmedia storytelling next year. As an editor, she has worked on various projects in the genre of documentaries and Films.
Vivek Mohan (PHD) is a PhD candidate and Researcher in Organisational Behaviour at Leeds Beckett University. His research interests include various topics in Organisa- tional Psychology and Learning in digital organisations that promote art. His experience in doing consulting for digital organisations has led to a keen interest in the aspects of Transmedia Narratives.
Cross referencing, custom visualization tools, data visualization, hierarchical structures, non-linear data, set/graph theory
This paper presents an information visualization titled Mapping the Colosseo and the Panteon through Le Antichità Romane. The base data set for this visualization, Le Antichità Romane, is a collection of etchings of ancient Rome by printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi. As a reference work the nature of this data is very much non-linear, although it features a significant hierarchical categorization. The concept for this visualization initially arose out of a colleague’s desire to track each textual/image reference from both the Colosseo (Colosseum) and the Panteon (Pantheon) throughout the data set. These references cross the hierarchical structure of the data set. The final visualization uses an approach that leverages formal qualities such as value, pattern, directional arrows, and text labels to identify the relationships between the pages of the collection. In addition to an overview of the final visualization, this contribution details the design process that produced it, describing Skydive, a custom prototype/interface proof- of-concept data visualization tool for mapping cross- references within data sets. This process and the final visualization are further contextualized by describing their relationships to set/graph theory concepts as found in Euler, spider, and constraint diagrams.
Brad Tober investigates the potential of code-based and interactive visual communication technologies, aiming to contextualize their relationships to design practice and pedagogy. His practice-led research is often speculative, recognizing that forms of and methodologies for contemporary practice spanning design and technology are best developed through exploratory processes.
Arms control, Constructivism, corruption, development, gender, export, human rights, import, liberal institutionalism. mapping indexes, trade
Great achievements have been made within the United Nations (UN) with regard to social mechanisms that shape the practices of its member states. While imperfect, what came to be the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was a major stepping-stone in achieving cooperation and standards on states’ wider international human rights responsibilities. Constructivists, however, have struggled to understand the wider social mechanisms that shape the preferences of states, and the implications this has for understanding how norms came to exist within the international system. Thus, in the context of the arms control negotiations, how do we understand the socioeconomic, political and institutional factors that influenced states’ preferences? How does a state’s human rights record or socioeconomic resilience affect its ability to acquire weapons, and how does this make it respond to emerging norms materializing within the UN? By cross- referencing mapping indexes that provide visualizations of risks relating to human rights, socioeconomic resilience, sexual violence in conflict, and corruption, in tandem with theoretical and hypothetical arguments relating to norm construction, my argument is that states were conforming norms because of their self-esteem, need for domestic legitimacy, network pressures, and as a process of identity reformation. Focusing on states with high or extreme risks in Sub-Saharan Africa that voted yes to the Treaty, the study argues that the ‘cultural-institutional context’ produces and reproduces identities in international politics, and argues about the importance of using indexes in this way to focus on the macro-level aspect of identity politics.
Tegg Westbrook’s interests lie in arms control, institutional theory and constructivism, with particular focus on risks associated with conventional weapons and assessments in existing arms control regimes. Having completed his degree in Human Geography (BSc) (Manchester Metro- politan University, UK) and Master of Arts in Interna- tional Relations (Nottingham Trent University, UK), his skills lie in merging contemporary and traditional approaches in human geography to understand macro- level events in international relations. He is currently a PhD candidate in Global Studies (thesis submitted) at Nottingham Trent University, and volunteer research assistant at Omega Research Foundation, Manchester, UK.