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Tagged: Thoughts | Posted: Tue, Mar 29, 2005

I was there at the exhibition about information design. It was my first trip to the Design Museum, and I had mixed feelings. It was smaller than I’d imagined, perhaps I’ve been spoilt by the scale of other museums, but was a reasonably acceptable building and interior. The shop was gratifyingly well stocked, espcially with current design mags and the coffee was good. I wasn’t suprised to see that minimal white was the overriding aesthetic, as seems always to be the case when someone wants to invoke the designer voodoo, but at least it was broken up a bit by some ‘digital baroque’ illustrations.

The exhibition that I’d come to see provoked mixed feelings. The exhibits were mostly familiar as the same examples appear frequently in discussions about information graphics. Minard’s masterpiece is there along Harry Beck’s famous underground map. It was fascinating to see some of these things in the flesh. The Isotype work was especially fun, with one poster illustrating the respective risk of contracting TB amongst working groups such as bankers, farmers, waiters (who were at most risk!). The section that included various underground maps was good in showing the different problems of layouts around the world, and how New Yorkers didn’t take to Vignelli’s 1972 design.

Having said that I then wanted an example of the info graphics that is currently doing that job. This is where I think the exhibition feel down. The sense of a theme to the different areas of the show was absent. I almost feel that the types of examples chosen and the range of activity covered meant that the show was too ambitious.