Visualizing Complexity – Modular Information Design Handbook

Authors – Nicole Lachenmeier and Darjan Hil
Publication date – May 2022
Languages – English / German
Publisher – Birkhäuser
Volume – 224 Pages

How can you turn dry statistics into attractive and informative graphs? How can you present complex data sets in an easily understandable way? How can you create narrative diagrams from unstructured data? This handbook of information design answers these questions. Nicole Lachenmeier and Darjan Hil condense their extensive professional experience into an illustrated guide that offers a modular design system comprised of 80 elements. Their systematic design methodology makes it possible for anyone to visualize complex data attractively and using different perspectives.At the intersection of design, journalism, communication and data science, Visualizing Complexity opens up new ways of working with abstract data and invites readers to try their hands at information design.

  • New standard work for information design
  • Attractively designed and illustrated manual
  • Innovative presentation solutions for analogue and digital media
  • NZZ am Sonntag

    «The modular design system they developed works with 4 colors and consists of 80 elements. The visuals are surprising and beautiful.»

  • Koen Eeckhout

    «With an analytical approach, Visualizing Complexity resonates strongly... a must-have for those who wish to grasp the analytical processes behind potent data visuals!»

    Read full review 
  • Neil Richards

    «How can you turn dry statistics into attractive and informative graphs? The MID system explained in Visualising Complexity answers that question.»

    Read full Review 

Awards & Recognitions

ADC Wettbewerb – Bronze

We have been awarded a bronze «Nagel» by ADC Germany in the «Book, Non-Fiction» category.

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Swiss Design Awards – Finalist

The handbook's innovative design method was acknowledged and exhibited in the «Design Research» category as a finalist at the Swiss Design Awards.

Stiftung Buchkunst – Shortlist

Earning a place on the Stiftung Buchkunst shortlist emphasizes its exceptional design and presentation.

European Design Award – Finalist

«Visualizing Complexity» has been nominated for yet another award: European Design Awards in the categories «Printed Infographics» and «Book Design»!

Indigo Design Award – Gold

Excellence in design and innovation secured a Gold award at the Indigo Design Awards in the category «Book Design».

Joseph Binder Award – Gold

«This extremely clever handbook, the result of many decades of work experience, shows how complexity can be made readable in a very clear and simple manner. The handbook's compact-ness, aspects, different perspectives, unreadability-simply because it is so well visualised-captivate on every page. Gold. Quite clearly.»
​​Thank you Designaustria!

DPA Infographic Award – Silver

the Modular Information Design Visual Summary Poster has been awarded silver at DPA Infografik Award in the category of «Infographics from companies, institutions, NGOs, authorities, foundations or other organizations».

ICMA Award – Bronze

We had the honour of receiving the ICMA Award for our book at the Royal society in London. Thank you! It was a pleasure to meet you all.

Who We Are

MID was developed by Darjan Hil and Nicole Lachenmeier from the information design studio, Superdot. We're experts in explaining complexity through the language of design. We take complex information, visualizing it in a way that audiences can understand.

Because our field is still in its infancy, we wish to inspire and educate, providing guidance for creating information design projects. We share knowledge from over 10 years of practice and teaching to support the growth of the information design community.

More about Superdot

About Modular information Design

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Why is this book significant?

Visualizing Complexity simplifies the process of information design, introducing the Modular Information Design (MID) framework. It offers a structured approach to transform intricate data into engaging designs, blending data with Swiss graphic design principles.

Who is the target audience?

The MID Handbook benefits those in data science, design, journalism, communications, and academia. It’s a system suitable for pen-and-paper application, ideal for designers seeking creativity in data design and for individuals keen on understanding data visualization.

What makes it worth buying?

Visualizing Complexity is:

Practical and application-focused.

A comprehensive guide for data visualization enthusiasts.

A unified manual for encoding, decoding, and creating DataViz.

A source of creative inspiration that emphasizes design freedom.

Structured to lead readers from raw data to multidimensional visualizations.

An alternative to standard diagram templates, promoting creativity with accurate data representation.

How would you describe the book briefly?

It's a visual storytelling handbook, suited for both study and display, compact enough for travel.

Can I access media on MID?

Absolutely. A press kit with images, texts, and videos on the handbook is available for feature purposes.