Learn the basics of design for understanding

Information Design Unbound offers a fresh perspective on information design for beginners and instructors, demystifying the why, what, and how of this evolving field.

Cover of Information Design Unbound with colorful arrows swirling around text

About the Book

As the complexity of problems facing people, organizations, and the planet grows, the role of information design is more important than ever.

Infographics, data visualizations, and other well-known artifacts are part of a broader suite of information design interventions that help promote clarity and understanding. For designers to realize the full potential of information design in the face of new and ambiguous challenges, they need to build on traditional practices as well as integrate emerging approaches.

Information Design Unbound provides a comprehensive introduction to the field, with emphasis on developing essential strategic thinking and visual problem-solving capabilities.

Who It’s For

Design students looking for guidance on basic information design concepts and how to build foundational skills.

Instructors in design programs who want a starting point to structure a course or supplement a class.

Early- to mid-career designers seeking a reference book on information design with plenty of case studies.

Anyone curious about the field who wants a broad overview and practical tips for everyday communication.

Key Features


color images and
instructive illustrations


engaging exercises to
practice key lessons


in-depth case studies
from around the world



The book opens with a big picture overview of the field across its historical, professional, scientific, and cultural dimensions.

CHAPTER 1: Understanding information design

CHAPTER 2: How information designers work

CHAPTER 3: How we process visual information

CHAPTER 4: How we create meaning



The second part covers four foundational skills that are necessary for all types of information design work: visual thinking, research, sensemaking, and design

CHAPTER 5: Thinking and working visually

CHAPTER 6: Learning through research

CHAPTER 7: Sensemaking for communication

CHAPTER 8: Designing with clarity



In the third part, all of the concepts come together. Case studies offer a glimpse into how different information designers tackle projects across the scale of challenges.

CHAPTER 9: Communications

CHAPTER 10: Experiences

CHAPTER 11: Organizations

CHAPTER 12: Systems

What Experts Are Saying

Beautiful, thoughtful, relevant,
timely, practical and useful.

Founder of XPLANE and author of Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers and Changemakers, USA

Timely. Evocative. Seminal. This beautifully illustrated guide offers a compelling vision of information design—told simply, elegantly, and with passion. The book reveals the rich international presence of information design and underscores the key role of human-centered practice. Anyone who wants to help people make sense of complex information should read this book.

Author, Dynamics in Document Design: Creating Texts for Readers, USA

This warm, approachable book invites everyone to explore the practice of information design. The illustrations, examples, and lucid text make a daunting subject accessible to designers, students, and educators.

author of Thinking with Type, USA

The mix of “context, skills and practice” make this book a welcome addition to the growing field of information design. Excellent illustrations and accessible writing – a very useful book for students and instructors.

Professor, Mount Royal University, Canada

Pontis and Babwahsingh bring information design to life. Full of varied examples, the book focuses on the skills and strategies used to tackle a variety of communication challenges. A great resource for new designers to learn the ‘how’ and ‘so what’ of design.

Associate Professor, University of Leeds, UK

The book is very well structured, direct, clear, thorough, and relevant to both practice and education where both authors are active. Different from other books on the subject that are collections of papers or case studies, this is the most comprehensive and systematic publication on information design that I have seen to date.

Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta, Canada

This book is not restrained or tied down by bonds. Its main differential lies in its didactic approach to the wide range of topics covered and its compelling visualizations: it speaks to readers. It has a clear, fluid structure that guides readers throughout, leading to a pleasant reading experience. A range of exercises and case studies helps consolidate the content. This book is a valuable educational resource and will benefit students and teachers alike.

Professor, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil

This new volume by Sheila Pontis, PhD and Michael Babwahsingh has it all. On the important topic of information design this book is comprehensive and detailed. From its historical foundation to theory and practical case studies, this book is the one.

Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design Emeritus,
Rochester Institute of Technology, USA

Information Design Unbound provides a thorough, well-organized framework for designers attempting to bring clarity to the insurmountable content in our world. It thoughtfully guides and informs readers as they strive to produce effective information systems and outcomes. Unlike other texts, this sensemaking approach will be a comprehensive resource for students and educators.

Clinical Assistant Professor,
Arizona State University, USA

This book will serve many audiences: from being a basic introduction to the subject for newcomers to those wanting to move beyond the bounds of their disciplinary backgrounds without getting lost in the bigger picture. It firmly anchors the contribution that Information Designers make in their praxis, useful to those who want to employ and understand its potential, and to the population at large, interested in understanding the basics of sense-making.

Assistant Professor, University of the Aegean, Greece

About the Authors

Sheila Pontis is an information designer, researcher, educator, and partner at Sense Information Design. Her teaching and research blend information design, cognitive science, field research, and creativity.

Michael Babwahsingh is an information designer and partner at Sense Information Design. His experience spans strategic design and innovation, visual facilitation, branding, and communication design.


Take the first step on your information design learning journey!