Information design is about understanding data.

Whether you’re writing an article for your newspaper, showing the results of a campaign, introducing your academic research, illustrating your team's performance metrics, or shedding light on civic issues, you need to know how to present your data so that other people can understand it.

Regardless of what tools you use to collect data and build visualizations, as an author you need to make decisions around your subjects and datasets in order to tell a good story. And for that, you need to understand key topics in collecting, cleaning, and visualizing data.

This free, Creative Commons-licensed e-book explains important data concepts in simple language. Think of it as an in-depth data FAQ for graphic designers, content producers, and less-technical folks who want some extra help knowing where to begin, and what to watch out for when visualizing information.

Who's behind all of this?

This book was crafted by more than 50 volunteers from 14 countries around the globe.

Data + Design is also a collaboration between Infoactive and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.

At Infoactive, our goal is to make it easier for people to tell interactive stories with data. We believe that you shouldn’t need to be a designer, developer, and a data analyst to make great information graphics. Through the process of working to simplify data storytelling, we realized that there’s a huge need to simplify the language around working with data — especially for those who don’t identify as math people.

We plan to bring the simple and painless spirit of Infoactive into this project by writing in plain language and supporting it with relatable, real-world examples. We also want the end result to serve as a resource for everyone, no matter what software they use.

The Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) has a goal of helping journalists. RJI is supporting this e-book project because data visualization is an excellent tool for journalists to tell stories.

Get Involved

This is an open source, collaborative project and we'd love to have you involved! The source code is available on GitHub, along with basic instructions on licensing and contributing to this project.

Some of our contributors have been talking about translating the book for other languages, adding more chapters, or even writing a second edition of Data + Design. The contributors for this book are smart, friendly, and all-around awesome to work with, so we're sure that the next phase of the book will be a ton of fun for everyone involved.

Want to write a new chapter? Volunteer as an editor? Launch the second edition? Report a typo or an error? Please use this form to let us know.

This project was made possible by a collection of more than 50 volunteers from 14 different countries around the globe. We think that's pretty amazing, and we want to thank all of our past and future contributors for making it happen!


For those who want to write a story about this book, please check out our press packet and contact [email protected] for more info, or to schedule an interview.


Data + Design isn't just a book. It's a global movement working to make data easy to understand and fun to explore. We're so excited that you're here, and we'd absolutely love it if you would drop us a note to say Hi.

  • Infoactive
  • Reynolds Journalism Institute