With roots in, and in a general sense synonymous with graphic design, information design is the interpretation, representation and narrative communication of factual information, with priority on instructive or educational knowledge transmission.
While the communication must still be engaging, this is different from branding, marketing and general corporate communication, which emphasizes persuasion.
The practise of information design involves research, technical writing and technical illustration, and with, increasingly, the inclusion of video, audio, animation, interactive and haptic (touch) elements.
The products of the communication can be quite broad and varied, from simple assembly instructions to complex technical manuals and scientific research papers; from signage systems to educational exhibits in museums and science centres; from children’s books to textbooks, and from presentations to journalism and more.
An inclusive and exhaustive definition is that information design is the research, technical writing, technical illustration and design of materials intended to educate, train, direct, instruct or otherwise inform people about the conception, development, construction, inner workings of, and relationships between, ideas, issues, processes, procedures, places, people and/or things.
Simply put, information design is the art of explanation.