“I do believe that there are some universal cognitive tasks that are deep and profound – indeed, so deep and profound that it is worthwhile to understand them in order to design our displays in accord with those tasks.”
As librarians, we are often called upon to create visual representations of information – library displays, Powerpoint presentations and handouts, just to name a few. But many of us have little experience with design. Fortunately, there are some resources out there to help.
With regard to library displays, there are a couple of resources out there that can help. Although a little out of date, Rita Cohn’s Experiencing Displays is a nice book for helping you think about design. Ideas about color, depth, shape, framing, texture and much more are discussed in this book. For a practical discussion on book displays, take a look at this article titled What Libraries Can Learn from Bookstores. The article discusses location, signage, lighting, and attracting the eye.
There are several good places to find ideas about good Powerpoint design. One of the popular and highly regarded ones is Edward Tufte’s The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within. The extended essay is excellent at helping you think about the representation information. A practical guide to creating effective powerpoint design is Satyajeet Singh’s “Designing Effective Powerpoint Presentations”.
Finally, taking a look into the world of museum studies, I found a couple interesting helpful resources. The magazine “The Exhibitionist” from the National Association of Museum Exhibition has many fantastic articles about exhibits and The interactive Design and The Elastic Mind from MOMA is a fascinating multimedia project about visual representation.