October 22, 2016 - Douglas Cramer
Since graduating from Rutgers University in 1990 with a degree in English, and a lot of classes in what was then an innovative program in "Communications", I have worked in many publishing environments and observed first-hand the arrival and adoption of the Internet as our primary means of presenting ourselves, our ideas, our institutions, and our businesses to the public.
As the Internet has matured, and new publishing approaches and ecosystems have developed, our language has continued to evolve as to what even to call this field in which we're engaged. As I began to move from print publication to online communications in the early 2000s, the term New Media was in style. Other terms have come and gone. I've recently seen a lot of smart folks using the phrase Content Strategy to describe the intersection online of good words, images, audio and video with an overarching design and vision. But the wording that I'm most intrigued by now is that of Information Design and Strategy.
This is the wording that has been chosen by prestigious Northwestern University, as they launch their new online Master's program in Information Design and Strategy at the School of Professional Studies. Having spoken with some of the people behind the effort, I'm very impressed by their understanding of how this emerging field has come to be, why it is needed, and how it can advance in the future. The goal of the program is to teach people how to "learn to drive effective digital communication".
Step into an emerging field and learn how to blend digital skills like information architecture and experience design with branding and messaging needs, translate data into compelling visual forms and narratives, and understand how research and analytics can drive communication strategies and tactics.
This is a fascinating opportunity for all us with a compelling interest in elegantly and effectively sharing stories and messages, and forming and growing and serving communities, via today's digital technology.