Information design is about making data more useful and easier to consume; the field of wayfinding is an obvious example; notably, the creation of maps. When bad data gets into the design process the whole effort is defeated – sometimes to absurd results. The power of well-done information design is that any reality can be made to seem true – with great power comes great responsibility.
Maps change history:
In the early 1500s, Spanish maps of the western coast of North America showed California as an island. Initially an innocent mistake, it was known by 1582 that California was definitely not an island; however the idea, and the map, persisted well into the 1700s.
It’s not just an issue from our past:
Spreading confusion and chaos may tickle the evil genius part of us, but you’re unlikely to convince a substantial portion of the world that an entire state has moved out into the Pacific ocean these days. A bad map, however, will still cause unrealistic perceptions of the world and the life we live in that world; with great power comes great responsibility.