During the 1970s, Edward Tufte developed a course on statistical graphics, which he further developed in joint seminars with John Tukey, a pioneer in the field of information design. The course materials became the foundation for his first book on information design, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, which he self-published in 1982. The book was called striking, beautiful, and ground-breaking[by whom?].
It raised non-professionals' awareness of the issues and possibilities of presenting information. The term information graphics tends to be used by those primarily concerned with diagramming and display of quantitative information. Information designers with roots in professional writing sometimes refer to the field as 'document design', particularly in the USA. In technical communication, information design refers to creating an information structure for a set of information aimed at specified audiences. It can be practiced on different scales. On a large scale, it implies choosing relevant content and dividing it into separate manuals by audience and purpose.
On a medium scale, it means organizing the content in each manual and making sure that overviews, concepts, examples, references, and definitions are included and that topics follow an organizing principle. On a fine scale, it includes logical development of topics, emphasis on what's important, clear writing, navigational clues, and even page design, choice of font, and use of white space.
Similar skills for organization and structure are brought to bear in designing web sites, with additional constraints and functions that earn a designer the title information architect. In computer science and information technology, 'information design' is sometimes a rough synonym for (but is not necessarily the same discipline as) information architecture, the design of information systems, databases, or data structures. This sense includes data modeling and process analysis.