Designing Data – Visual Storytelling

October 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

Design Practice In Context 2 Lecture 23/10/13

The definition of Graphic Design – A creative process that combines art and technology to communicate ideas.

Graphic Design makes up a huge part of our culture. It communicates to people, catches their eyes, tells what to do and what not to do. It advertises, promotes, warns, informs, and makes things desirable and appealing. This video gives a few people’s perspective’s on what they feel Graphic Design is.

Graphic Design can make something more legible. People originally found the map of the London Underground confusing because it indicated where the stops were in relation to the world above the ground.  A new map was created showing only the underground stops – the designer thought as long as you can get from A to B (where you want to be) then that’s all that mattered.



The Billion Pound-o-gram was a graphic done to show the distribution of wealth. It uses colours and different sized shapes to indicate where the UK’s money goes or what it is used for. 

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 20.06.17

American Graphic Designer Saul Bass was a well known filmmaker who created quirky and unique opening title sequences for movies. Some of his most famous are for Catch Me As You Can and Psycho. 

His strong use of kinetic typography (moving type) combined with graphics and music work together to portray the theme of the film. 

A slightly more recent example of kinetic typography was created to represent a famous scene in the film Fight Club:

Graphic Design has also played a major role in the changing attitudes and behaviour in society. Old cigarette advertisements often glamourised the idea of smoking and did everything in it’s power to cover up health hazards. Nowadays no such advertising would be allowed – the only coverage cigarettes get in the media are advertisements encouraging smokers to quit smoking for the good of their health and other people’s health. 

More recently there has been a push on recycling – this is due to the introduction of the carbon footprint, global warming theories, environmental activity such as the hole in ozone layer and growing concerns such as the lack of landfill space.

However design doesn’t have to be a positive thing -it can be stark, sinister, and even have a message hidden within it. A famous example of this is the very controversial 1995 painting by Marcus Harvey called Myra. 



The painting provoked angry press when it was displayed at the Sensation exhibition of Young British artists. When observing the painting closely, it is evident that the image is made up of children’s handprint’s – a concept that is horrifically ironic considering Myra Hindley (the woman featured in the painting) and her partner Ian Brady’s horrific crimes during the 1960’s Moors Murders. 


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