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Went to see this exhibition on the history of information design today at the Design Museum. As the intro rightly pointed out, it's usually when information is badly designed that we stop and take notice rather than the other way round. This, however, was a display of some of the of classics of the last couple of hundred years - from John Snow's 1854 plot of the homes of victims of cholera in Soho, to Dmitri Mendeleev's 1870 periodic table, to Harry Beck's 1933 tube map (arguably the most famous piece of modern British information design).

What is interesting is that many of the best pieces were produced by non-designers: Beck was electrical draughtsman and Phyllis Pearson (the woman who plodded around more than 3,000 miles of london's streets in the 1930s to produce the now ubiqitous Geographer's AtoZ) was a writer and painter for example.

The exhibition was let down a little by the lack of a narrative to tie the different areas of the display together, but otherwise a fascinating afternoon out. Runs until 15 May.
13 Feb, 2005 | other stuff



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Online musings of Richard Alderson: aspiring social entrepreneur, writer, photography-lover and closet geek.

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