History

As a profession, information design is fairly new, dating back to the 1960s.  However, as an activity it is as old as the human race.  There have always been people attempting to convey information in the best way and making it understandable to the audience.  Some people credited with the development of the profession are:

  • William Playfair, who during the American Revolution invented several key types of charts and graphs.  He popularized these charts and graphs through his political and economic writings.
  • Florence Nightingale is credited with inventing new types of statistical graphs and being a pioneer in the use of information design in public policy.
  • Michael George Mulhall, a statistician, is recognized as the inventor of pictorial statistics; while Otto Neurath, an Austrian social scientist, developed a methodology for displaying them effectively.

The following video illustrates the origins of information design and some of the people credited with it’s beginnings:

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