This course introduces students to visual techniques to translate complex topics into models, diagrams and frameworks as an effective means of taming wicked content into a knowable, sharable conception of a topic.

This skill is increasingly important as many problems that designers are wrestling with involve large-scale problem definition. And include subjects and characteristics too large or numerous to conceptualize using memory and cognition alone.

Learning Objectives
While simple models and frameworks often emerge naturally from design work, truly complex topics are difficult to bound and represent without theories and approaches to guide the process. Throughout this course students will be introduced to:

  • A range of visual models and approaches for representing complex content
  • A structured process for translating dense topics into coherent visual representations
  • Principles of visual design to optimize the reading experience of a complex model


Learning Outcomes
Students emerge from this course:

  • Conversant with a variety of models and insight as to how to match various types of models to different kinds of complexity
  • Experienced in the mapping of complex topics with first-hand knowledge of the benefits and challenges of this approach
  • Equipped to negotiate ambiguous topics, build relevant structures, and navigate issues of scope and content development