Rev­o­lu­tions in com­puting and com­mu­ni­ca­tions have pro­duced a relent­less flood of infor­ma­tion about our world and ourselves—right down to our DNA. Today, Boston’s research and tech­nology sec­tors gen­erate, process and inter­pret huge amounts of data across indus­tries, from global busi­ness to per­sonal genomics.

This infor­ma­tion gives us fresh insight and new answers, but presents its own crit­ical ques­tions. Namely, how do we each under­stand it?

Boston’s uni­ver­si­ties, including North­eastern, and infor­ma­tion design firms, such asFathomVisual I/​O and Small Design are leading the response to this new chal­lenge. Through exper­i­mental, the­o­ret­ical, and devel­op­mental work in the design and visu­al­iza­tion of infor­ma­tion, designers are map­ping a brave new land­scape of vis­ible lan­guage that helps us imagine and invent our futures, guide our per­sonal and col­lec­tive deci­sions, and nav­i­gate our daily lives.

It is no small task.

The com­plex­i­ties pre­sented by enor­mous amounts of information—or “big data”—exacerbate issues of inter­pre­ta­tion, point of view, and com­pre­hen­sion. Ren­dering large amounts of com­plex infor­ma­tion to be useful and mean­ingful requires an extremely sophis­ti­cated level of design. To present infor­ma­tion as clearly as pos­sible to people with dif­ferent per­cep­tions, cul­tures and lan­guages, we often employ visual methods.

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