Hitchings | D054 | Fall 2023

Category: Lessons (Page 1 of 2)


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Tips for finding Data on Search Engines

  • When searching for subject matter on search engines, here are tips for best ways to refine your words. You can use the operators (AND, NOT, OR, etc.) discussed below and combine them to further drill down:
    1. Search for specific phrases with quotes “”
      Ex “DNA and Health Insurance”
    2. Add the word “data” to a search:
      Ex “DNA  and Health Insurance data”
    3. Exclude search words with a hyphen
    4. Search for something either/or with OR
      Ex: DNA Barcoding 2010 OR 2018
    5. Find Websites that are similar to others by using related
      Ex: “Related: DNA Forensics”
  • Additional tips for searches:
    1. Type in a search topic together with ‘data’ and see what comes up under the image search.
    2. Search only with a certain domain by using site “site url: topic”
      Ex: “nyc.gov: DNA Barcoding”
      Google Results: “nyc.gov: DNA Barcoding”
    3. Search for a specific filetype:xls (or xlsx,csv or pdf)
      Ex: “DNA Barcoding: pdf”
    4. You can use this to find data or documents from specific agencies:
      Ex: DNA Barcoding filetype:doc site:nyc.gov
    5. You can find out more on google: google.com/advanced_search
    6. Use existing data repositories: (Many of them have limited functionality for sorting/filtering) but you can easily download data:
  • Sites to search for academic research:

Tips for Collecting and Saving Information

  1. Create a folder on your main hard drive and give it the name of the project
  2. Within this folder create a folder titled ‘research.’ Save all related research materials into this folder
  3. Create a text document. Copy and paste all related links to where you have gathered content from
  4. Save a clean copy of your data and content
  5. Keep track of your work. Save edited versions under new name.
  6. Ex: ‘ContentHitchings-V1.doc,’ ‘ContentHitchings-V2.doc’
  7. Keep careful records of your sources
  8. Set up a spread sheet in Excel. Create categories for different data types.
  9. Keep track of your work. Save edited versions under new name.
  10. Ex: ‘ContentHitchings-V1.xls,’ ‘ContentHitchings-V2.xls’

Concept Development

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Building the Concept and Drafting the Design

The goal of this Phase is to figure out what information you have and how best to present it. The goal of  each project should be too:

  • Enhance comprehension of complex concepts
  • Strengthen the persuasiveness of claims
  • Make key insights more memorable

Research and Compose Content

  • Your project should have one main focused thesis:
    • What’s the core message?
    • What’s the main question being answered?
  • Data Collection You can collect your data for any reliable source. I recommend: NYC Environment and Health Data Portal: >>Environmental and Health Data Portal
  • Organize your content into a clear outline
  • Use bullet points to organize details for each section
  • Gather the right data to support your thesis.

References and Inspiration materials

  • Pintrest – create a board for yourself of inspiring examples
  • Gather images from a variety of sources that help to inspire and guide you
  • Identify at least three designers who have successfully completed work that is inspiring and perhaps related to aspects of your project

Organize your Data – Graphs or Charts

  • Read through your data – what will be the most clear way to visualize your data.
  • Inform: convey a single important message or data point that doesn’t require much context to understand
    (Big Number, Donut Chart, Pictogram)
  • Compare: show similarities or differences among values or parts of a whole (Bar Chart, Bubble Chart, Pie Chart, Stacked Bar Chart, Bubble Cloud, TreeMap, Word Cloud)
  • Show Change: visualize trends over time or space
    (Line Chart, Area Chart, Timeline, Map Chart)
  • Organize: show groups, patterns, rank or order
    (Lists, Flow Chart, Mind Map, Pyramid Diagram, Table, Ordered Bar Chart)
  • Reveal Relationships: show correlations among variables or values
    (Scatter Plot, Histogram, Multi-Series Chart)


Develop concept and refine sketches (charts and graphs)

  1. Create at least 3 hand sketches of your layout and related ideas. Use the sketch to figure out how to visualize your thesis. What do you need to say and how you will say it?
  2. Each sketch MUST have a border around it (draw an outline around the sketches to show the dimensions of the poster). Sketches can be scaled smaller.
  3. Sketches should give you a sense the of the space you are working with and show how you might organize the content to fit. Reference your outline from your content document. Work within a grid.

Selecting Type

Carefully select (no more than 2) typefaces you would like to work with for your project. Do your research and show your research.

  • Study the typefaces available to you
  • Choose two different typefaces that compliment each other, perhaps a serif and a sans serif
  • Try to choose typefaces that come with a large variety of of fonts: Light, Condensed, Heavy, Extended, etc.
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