Design Workshop 2

Making Sense of Complex Challenges Through Information Design

Other: Food will be provided.

The scale and complexity of today’s challenges are demanding more specialized skills to handle the large amounts of information needed to find solutions. When information is well-designed, it facilitates navigation, enhances communication, increases usability and improves understanding. This is why information design skills are becoming an essential component of professional advancement to help find patterns, make associations, and ultimately extract personally relevant meaning to achieve a goal. Information design highlights gaps in knowledge, unpacks stories, and reveals facts that are hidden or forgotten but that are nonetheless essential for gaining an understanding of the current challenge or situation. Information design can be practiced by an assortment of professionals within and outside of the conventional boundaries of design bringing rigor and focus to the overall problem-solving process and enabling more understanding-driven solutions. 

This workshop is for anyone who has a responsibility for, or is interested in, the analysis, management, organization, and communication of information across all media. Attendees will be equipped with information design foundational principles to organize, analyze, manage and structure information, and effectively use visual language to present information. These principles could be later applied in a variety of settings including business, the public sector, and the academic world. 

Note: The workshop is open to Princeton University students and postdocs with a valid university ID.


3-3.10 pm: Welcome & Warm-up Activities: Do you mean…? & How many…?

3.10-3.30 pm: Introduction to information design

Overview of foundational principles and frameworks to organize, analyze, manage, structure and visually present information, and key steps to managing complexity.

3.30-3.50 pm: Activity 1: Practicing the basics

Understand how to select and organize key component parts, identify their relationships and determine overall structure of a situation to enhance understanding and communication.

3.50-4.30 pm: Activity 2: Putting all together

Understand how to make sense of data by organizing the content into categories, and identifying patterns and connections, and how to create a big picture to tell the story.

4.30-4.50 pm: Show & Tell

4.50-5 pm: Questions &Wrap-up


Sheila Pontis is an information designer and partner at Sense Information Design. She studied Graphic Design at University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), and went on to specialize in Information Design, receiving her PGDip and MPhil at University of Barcelona (Spain), and her PhD at University of the Arts London (UK). She began her career in design practice, but gradually shifted towards the conceptual side of the problem-solving process, pursuing academic research on sensemaking, information users’ behaviors, technology and interactions at University College London (UK). Her work has been published in JASIST, ICOGRADA, IADIS, IDJ, and Malofiej, and presented at VisionPlus15-IIID, IADIS, CIDAG, EIKONES among others. She has extensive experience teaching and leading undergraduate and postgraduate programs, and facilitated workshops on information design, design research and design thinking (Ravesnourne, Goldsmith University, 2CV). She has produced work for diverse industries and organizations in the United States, South America and Europe including TfL, Elsevier, Unilever and NHS combining design research methods and visual thinking tools with information design skills.