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Designing in Another Perspective

A book about the experience of studying information design in a different country and context.

By: Nadine Sprague

Hallein, Austria


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain


table of contents 4

Old vs. New


about graz, austria


about calgary, alberta


old graz


new calgary


new in the old


old in the new

Information Design Program

20 22

about F H Joanneum


about Mount Royal


defining information design


information desgin keywords


graduate’s work

32 36

About the Author


Schlossberg, Graz


Calgary Tower, Calgary

Old vs. New Comparing the City of Graz, with the City of Calgary and the beauty that each city brings.


about graz, austria The city of Graz, gives anyone of every age the ability to explore the many hidden gems of a city in the center of Austria. It has a charm and elegance to it, but also a deep cultural background and ever evolving young influence. The city is known as a student-centered city but with an overall old-town feel, that is known as one of the greatest preserved cities in Central Europe. This city dates back to the Copper Age and has a rich history that attracts many Europeans to reside in it’s city center. Over a quarter of a million people have already chosen Graz as the central location in their lives, and no end is in sight to this growing trend. There is no one single reason why Graz is so popular, since a host of positive factors all play their part. But each one of these reasons can be summed up in a single word: uniqueness. Sustaining and developing this quintessential Graz quality is the most important task faced by City policy and administration. It is the challenge of ensuring for the future that everyone will continue to find and experience everything that makes life so attractive for them here. 8

Overlooking Graz

Graz City Center

Schlossberg Clock Tower


about calgary, alberta The city of Calgary prides itself with a strong Western heritage and a strong modern economy. This city has grown so much over the years, and still can feel so friendly and vibrant. As of the 2011 census, the City of Calgary had a population of 1,096,833, making it the largest city in Alberta, and the third-largest municipality and fifthlargest metropolitan area in Canada. With the energy sector employing a huge number of Calgarians, the fallout from the economic slump of the early 1980s was understandably significant, and the unemployment rate soared. By the end of the decade, however, the economy was in recovery. Calgary quickly realized that it could not afford to put so much emphasis on oil and gas, and the city has since become much more diverse, both economically and culturally. The period during this recession marked Calgary’s transition from a mid-sized and relatively nondescript prairie city into a ma jor cosmopolitan and diverse centre. This transition culminated in the city hosting Canada’s first Winter Olympics in 1988. The success of these games essentially put the city on the world stage. 10

Downtown Calgary

Calgary Tower from Olympic Plaza

The Fairmont Palliser


old vs. new Graz Town Hall 12

new vs. old

Calgary City Hall 13

Maintained Tradition The Graz Opera House consists of traditional and modern architecture. The original construction in 1776 has been only refurbished, in order to maintain the original structure’s beauty.

Graz Downtown Building

Graz Opera House

Styrian Coat of Arms

Historic Accents Many of the buildings that surround the center streets have a lot of the traditional facade on the outside of the building. The decorations include many of the Styrian traditional coat of arms.


More Than Meets the Eye Behind the main streets of Graz, are even more design and an architectural story. There are many courtyards within the buildings that provide more of the traditional baroque style architecture to be displayed.


Graz Courtyard

Elaborate Facades In the center of Graz are the very decorated and prominent traditional buildings that give the city a vibrant addition to the surroundings. The building on the left, called Luegghaus, is particularly striking with it’s elaborate stucco facade and arcades.


Skyscraper City Calgary is known for having amazing buildings enriched with history and a modern look. The city’s city center is made up of many skyscrapers that tower over the city, but still provide all different and unique looks.

Olympic Plaza

Suncor Energy Center

Downtown Bank

A Sense of Pride


Olympic Plaza is within the downtown area and is a historic part of Calgary. With hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics, this part of Calgary is there to represent and show our success of hosting. It provides the city with names of all the sponsors and different important parts of the Olympics, as well as an open skating rink.

Modern Time Calgary’s hospitality is very key to it’s economy, and with that Calgary prides itself on having modern and prestige hotels that are modern for it’s time.

The Bow

Penn West Energy Building

Bigger and Better Calgary is always growing and expanding it’s structure, with the newest addition of The Bow - A 58 floor skyscraper, towering the many other office towers that make up the landscape of Calgary. This new building has added to Calgary’s wondrous horizon.


Graz University of Technology

Glass Lift in Mountain

new in the old Graz is rooted in it’s traditional architecture, but with being know as a student centered city, and one of the UNESCO Design cities, Graz has been able to acquire different modern architecture aspects within it’s city. These structures have been able to showcase some of the top leading architecture’s modern work and really contrast with the other parts of the old city.

Kunsthaus Graz



old in the new Calgary has it’s very modern skyscrapers, but looking closely into the architecture you can find the history of Calgary’s evolution. There are still many buildings within the city that provide outsiders to see Calgary’s history.


Original City Hall

Old St. Regis Hotel

Calgary Downtown

Lougheed Building

Ii D d 22

Information Design Program Comparing Information Design in different Austria and Canada.


about F H Joanneum

Aerial View of Graz Campus


Campus Building


FH JOANNEUM offers students sound academic training – their programmes are practiceoriented, project-based and interdisciplinary. In other words, they work in close cooperation with business and industry to put acquired knowledge into practice, with developing innovative solutions for topical issues in applied research projects and forge links to related disciplines. The university’s large network enables students to complete internships with leading companies and institutions in Austria and abroad and spend a semester studying at one of over 200 partner universities around the world. Teaching is conducted in small teams, which means that students receive individual support from experienced lecturers. Together with intercultural skills, students at FH JOANNEUM also acquire soft skills and advanced knowledge of foreign languages, which in combination with their specialist know-how open up excellent career opportunities for key positions in Austria and abroad.

joanneum 25

about Mount Royal

Aerial View of MRU Campus


Main Campus Building


At MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY you are not just another number. Instead, your professors and fellow students will know your name. You can be yourself. Being recognized as an individual is a great feeling — and it enhances your education experience. You will feel comfortable collaborating with your classmates and, if you need help, your professor’s door will be open. The courses offered have changed over time, but Mount Royal’s focus remains the same — providing you with quality teaching and small class sizes. Experience has also taught Mount Royal the importance of preparing students well for life after graduation. That means practical and current information, as well as hands-on learning through work placements, practicum and co-op education.

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defining information design

Information Design ensures that the right information is presented to the right people at the right time, comprehensible and easy to handle. Information designers are experts in the visual representation of information. They are the people who plan and optimise communication processes in the print and audiovisual media and in the new media based on digital technologies. Information designers show us how we can best find our way through large buildings, exhibitions and transport facilities and evaluate the usability of devices and user interfaces.

f h joanneum, graz 28

With names ranging from infographer, information architects, information scientists or simply designers, the definitions of Information Design are as varied as the titles. In all cases, information design is about promoting understanding by making the complex simple. As an information designer, you combine writing, creativity and critical analysis skills to produce understandable and attractive materials, such as: dynamic web sites, interactive CDs and multimedia, brochures and marketing material training manuals and user guides magazines and books. No matter what conduit is used to convey information, the key is to ensure it is designed in a way that promotes understanding. Information designers are experts at finding the most effective words, images and media to target a specific audience.

mount royal, calgary 29

information design keywords

information design 30

design media instructional design architect usability interaction typogaphy dynamic marketing project management visual clear concise information

design medien didaktisches design architekt nutzbarkeit interaktion typogaphy dynamisch marketing projektmanagement visuell lÜschen prägnant informationen 31

effekt magazine - Calgary information design students 2012 The fourth year information design students at Mount Royal University, participated in the Document Production class and produced an annual design magazine. This magazine is to showcase the different elements each student can bring to the magazine. The student’s shared their passion for information with portraying their influences and tools learnt from over the past four years in the program. “Our

shared, crazed obsession is to create, organize, and deliver information that both influences audiences and accomplishes the goal of successfully communicating an intended message is something we intend to share with you.�


bok bok book - Graz information design students 2010 The third year graduate students for information design create a book based on one central theme. For this particular book the theme was chickens. So this book allowed the many students to do drawings, diagrams, photographs and any other unique way of informing about chickens for the book. “We transfer knowledge to and in collaboration with students and partners. Our teaching staff (experts in their respective subjects) is supported by freelancing lecturers (active practitioners in their fields) from all over the world, who are invited to share their experiences with our students.�

Graz Tram Line

Calgary Transit Line

With the different language, traditions, people and context, there were more similarities between Graz, Austria and Calgary, Canada than ever thought before.


about the author I am a student at Mount Royal University, taking the Communications - Information Design Degree, and I was lucky enough to travel to the amazing city of Graz, Austria on a 5 month semester abroad in the winter of 2012. I was so excited to live abroad and had no idea what to expect from this city, but to my advantage I left with much more than just pictures and souvenirs. Graz had so much life to it and I was constantly amazed at all the many parts of such a small city that could still be discovered. Taking such a unique degree made me appreciate all that F H Joanneum had to offer me in my school life. My semester abroad gave me a wide understanding of different traditions, and languages and amazing people to share it all with. I hope this book gives you just even a snip-it of my experience abroad and encourages you to do the same. 36

Me and the Schlossberg Clock Tower

Me on the main street

nadine sprague 37

Copyright (2013) COMM 3620 - 001 Winter 2013 Semester Photo Credit: Cristy Camara, Julieta Cuellar, Marc DiManno, Nadine Sprague



Designing in Another Perspective