idea·gram your thoughts
Long before the concept of an info-graphic came along, complex design ideas were communicated through sketches & collages. A sketch is a detailed hand-drawn representation of an idea or space, while a collage is a collection of images used to communicate a concept idea.
The info-graphic utilizes icons & symbols to represent data & information in an easily consumable manner.
In written language, symbols are called an ideo-gram: a written symbol that represents an idea or object directly, rather than a particular word or speech sound (such as a number ‘7’ or the ampersand ‘&’).
In graphic design, these translate into icons used to represent the concept & form the basis of an info-graphic.
Similarly, an idea-gram is a visual collage diagram organized in a manner that represents an idea or object directly, rather than a detailed drawing such as a sketch, floor plan, or axonometric. I’m not talking about the type of collage or “dream board” we assembled in college, that shows singular images expressing our ideas & inspirations. I’m talking about an intentionally organized collage designed to translate the idea directly.
IDEA-GRAM: a visual collage diagram organized in a manner to represent an idea directly.
Below is an example of such an idea-gram for the LA High School for the Arts project. The building is located at the base of a steep hill on the south end of the Cal State LA campus. The concept was based on two levels of classroom studios topped with a flexible black-box theater that becomes the focal icon of the building. Working alongside the design director on inspirational images to help inform the building layout & organizational language, we looked at inspirational artists like Andy Warhol & Donald Judd who used simple repetitions, as well as iconic composers & performers such as John Cage & Martha Graham to represent beacons of educational inspiration.
We originally laid out these images in a simple manner on a board, with labels beneath each to communicate our inspiration & ideas to the client. Taking it one step further, I recognized that a simple rearrangement of these images in a way that reflects the actual geometry of the building layout & intent of each building component, may communicate our concept ideas in a stronger way. The client was on board with our approach, & the building design proceeded around these concepts.
Client: LA County High School for the Arts
Project Type: K-12 Arts Education
Scope: New Construction
With: HMC Architects
Building Size: 47,000 SF
Site Size: 1.15 Acre
Budget: $20 M
Status: Completed 2013
Certifications: Pursuing LEED Silver
Press: HMC Architects “Art and Soul”