DK Publishing: Information Design at it’s finest.

22 Jan 2006|Terri Ducay

In preparation for a trip to Beijing, I bought a travel guide book by DK Publishing – Eyewitness Travel Guides.
I am a huge fan of DK publishing. They were the first publisher to design a format that is highly visually and informative, a ratio of images to words that is roughly 80% to 20%. The images, both photos and illustrations, give a huge amount of information in an elegant and easy-to-use design.

DK’s design objective is to “provide information in an attractive and easy to reach form.” It aims to inform, excite and inspire. Oh, and did I mention their books are fun to use? They accomplish all this by employing a few tricks of knowledge visualization.

DK includes a variety of visual elements on its pages. These include photos, illustrations, maps, timelines, charts, etc. Using these different elements allows the eye to scan pages faster and easier. The shapes and organization of the elements help to guide the eye around the page.

Effective and insightful use of contrast makes things more interesting. For example, illustrations juxtaposed with photos, or black and white photos paired with color photos. A small silhouetted photo may be placed on top of a full page bleed photo. Text will rest on a white background or within colored boxes. The overall result is pages that are visually exiting and compelling.

Using a Grid
Although DK books are visually complex, they are not overwhelming. Everything is carefully laid out using a framework called a grid

These are just of few of the methods used to organize and clarify the information found in DK books. These also happen to be a few of the methods we use at Cheskin to organize and clarify the information we analyze and communicate everyday.

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