Maps and Narratives – information made accessible

Information design is a category of graphic design that is specifically used to present information with efficiency, in order for clear understanding on the part of the viewer. Some say that information design has its origins in cartography or map making. This Seattle Bicycling Guide map is a quantitative display of information because the map shows measured distances. This map accurately depicts streets, parks, and landmarks in Seattle. Different biking routes have been color-coded and arrow symbols have been placed on the selected routes to plainly indicate which direction a bicyclist should travel. The colored routes help viewers to easily identify which course they will need to take. City sections and streets have been clearly labeled and a few text boxes emphasize important information about some of the routes.

Seattle map

This second example of information design is more in depth than a map and since it has a narrative, it is very useful in answering questions. This infographic, Urban Matters, is a colorful and informative way of showing viewers the factors that make sustainable and thriving cities. I enjoy the integration of charts with the city illustration and the clear information hierarchy. The icons effectively communicate information and aid the viewer in understanding information quickly yet efficiently.  The charts have been organized well and despite the load of information, the statistics have been spaced out in a way that makes the design seem detailed instead of overwhelmingly busy. Statistics have been separated into modules but the illustration helps to unify the whole design.  The audience can successfully find the key factors of a thriving city and can examine predictions of what cities will be like in the future.

Urban Matters

This infographic is from


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