This course explores the language of diagrams and similar techniques for increasing communication effectiveness.

Designers are often challenged with the development and synthesis of complex ideas, whether they are research outputs, design concepts, or system plans. At the same time, the proliferation of easy-to-use graphic and visualization tools facilitates the creation of visual representations that often emphasize aesthetics over communication. Fundamentally diagrams’ strength lies in their ability to present information at various levels of abstraction, to show clearly the inherent structure of information, and to summarize what could be lengthy and cumbersome explanations if represented in other forms. This course looks to explore these fundamentals of diagrams as a language and how to effectively use this language to understand and communicate.

Learning Objectives
The goals of this class is to teach the basics of diagram development, including but not limited to:

  • Basic principles of good diagramming
  • The various types of information that is well supported by diagrams
  • Proficiency in using diagrams as a language including syntax and semantics
  • The use of interaction and motion to convey meaning


Learning Outcomes
Students will be able to:

  • Apply critical cognitive skills to identify inherent relational structures of a given content
  • Acquire the capability to create visual representations that reflect that content structure
  • Develop a critical eye to discern and evaluate diagrams they see in everyday life