A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

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Accentuation in Technical Illustration

There are various ways to accentuate a specific part in its installation position. However in order to keep the printing cost as low as possible, it is recommended to opt for stylistic devices that are all in black and white.

ITEDO Software. Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Color


The Awesome Power of Visualization 2: Death and Taxes 2007

Visuals that provide insights come from 1) a deep understanding of the goal / objectives 2) from thinking beyond what standard trend lines or stacked bar graphs can provide. Something non-normal to grab attention and yet communicate insights (sort of already contain recommendations and action items and not just data).

Kaushik, Avinash. Occam's Razor (2007). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Log Analysis


Build a Tweet Map with SVG

Divya Manian of nimbupani.com reveals how to create dynamic visualisations using Polymaps, a library that makes it trivial to create and manipulate map data in SVG.

Manian, Divya. .Net Magazine (2011). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>SVG


Comics Can Make You A Better Communicator

Comics are a medium. Just like film, theater, prose, poetry or any other process of telling stories comics can be used to convey all sort so information about a wide variety of subjects to multiple audiences. Comics can make you laugh, cry, gasp in wonder, shake in terror and they can also make great instruction manuals, training aids, white papers, or any other type of business or technical communication you can think of.

Porter, Alan J. Content Wrangler, The (2010). Articles>TC>Technical Illustration>Graphic Design


Creating Perspective Shadows

Perspective—it’s one of the first things you learn about in any art class. The basic idea is that it’s the way your eye actually sees something, represented on a flat surface such as paper or a monitor. A simple example is drawing a group of objects: You represent an object in the distance by making it smaller, while making objects close to the viewer larger—make sense? In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create perspective shadows in Adobe Photoshop CS3. The result is dynamic, but the technique is a breeze!

Gray, Lawrence. Event DV (2008). Articles>Graphic Design>Image Editing>Technical Illustration


Creation of Polylines

Sometimes it becomes necessary to create polylines that follow a certain path as a string of short segments. Here's a little trick that easily helps to solve this task.

ITEDO Software. Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration


Critiquing the Culture of Computer Graphing Practices   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This paper is a critique of current approaches to the development of computer graphing and graph visualization programs. Developers of these programs model the user as an individual problem solver who is reliant on perceptual skills to create and interpret graphed information. Such a model of graphing is ill-suited to meet the complex needs of real users, a supposition that is supported by work in two major areas of graphing theory and research: the sociology of science and the educational research of mathematics and scientific students. These areas have not been traditionally cited when planning computer graphing or visualization programs or when assessing their usability. A review of the literature in these fields reveals that an over-reliance on a user's perceptual skills is unlikely to result in successful graph practices.

Brasseur, Lee. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2001). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Charts and Graphs


Cutaway Illustrations

The cutaway perspective is fundamentally a three dimensional sectional view.

Lightfoot, Peter. ITEDO Software (2002). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration


Exploded Illustrations

As the term implies, the exploded view shows an assembly with its components blown out from the main body, but still remaining in relative order along their respective centrelines.

Lightfoot, Peter. ITEDO Software (2002). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration


Four Ideas to Organize Your Technical Document Images

Most technical documents would have at least a few images to illustrate a point, or screen-shots that accompany the description of a certain step-by-step procedure, etc. Organizing such images can really become a problem, especially when you have dozens and hundreds of them. Finding, editing, and importing them can quickly become a logistical nightmare, especially when you’re working under a deadline pressure. Here are several ideas to organize and name your images for higher productivity.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2011). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration


Four Ideas to Organize Your Technical Document Images and Screen Shots

Most technical writers would include at least a few images to illustrate a point, or screen shots that accompany the description of a certain step-by-step procedure, etc. Organizing such images can really become a problem, especially when you have dozens and hundreds of them. Finding, editing, and importing them can quickly become a logistical nightmare, especially when a technical writer is working under a deadline pressure. Here are four ideas to organize and name your images for higher productivity.

Akinci, Ugur. Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Screen Captures


How To Capture a Screen Shot of your Desktop or the Active Window in Windows

Have you ever pressed the PrtScn (print screen) key on your Windows keyboard and wondered why it was there since it never seemed to do anything? Well, it does do something! It copies an image of your screen onto the "clipboard," ready to paste into any graphics program. These steps show you how to use it along with Windows' standard image editor, Microsoft Paint, to save an image of your screen.

Chastain, Sue. About.com (2005). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Screen Captures


In Which a Concept Model Makes Me Giddy

Concept models aren't for everyone. When I show fellow designers these artifacts, I sometimes get "You show that to clients?" Like any deliverable, there's a time and a place for concept models. If you're anything like me, however, you think visually. Even if your models don't see the light of day, a good model can help you get a better grip on the problem, or lay some groundwork for your designs.

Brown, Dan. User Interface Engineering (2009). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Sitemaps


Inventing Infographics: Visual Literacy Meets Written Content

As texts compete for attention with soundbites, scrolling headlines, tweets, and vines, writers and readers alike are seeing the value of text that uses visual design features to organize ideas, provide background, and emphasize key facts in ways that make it easier for readers to engage a topic thoughtfully.

Vogelsinger, Brett. Edutopia (2014). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration


Labeling in Illustrations

In technical illustrations, labeling is often needed to denominate specific parts. Here, it is important to remember certain details that can really make a difference. This is especially true if the file is to be converted at a later time.

ITEDO Software. Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration


Less is More...

The numerous stylistic devices in Technical Illustration allow you to visualize technical coherences. An important, but very often underestimated, method in Technical Illustration is the omission of lines, which often helps to display the desired information more clearly.

ITEDO Software. Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Isometric


A Matter of Perspective

When working with technical illustrations, you must consider perspective. The following article will provide you with some useful information on working with both parallel and true perspective.

ITEDO Software (2002). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Isometric


Medical Tables, Graphics and Photographs: How They Work   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

An examination of a random sample of four medical journals--The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and The Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine--reveals that one-fifth of the space of articles in medical science is devoted to an average of three tables and three flow charts, graphs, or photographs. Given these figures, the absence of discussion of visuals in the literature on medical communication may seem puzzling. But the puzzle is easily solved: our basic education gives us a coherent vocabulary for talking about prose, but no coherent vocabulary for talking about tables and visuals. Once we have this vocabulary in hand, we make another step in the direction of an explanation of the nature of communication in the medical sciences. We may note that understanding the meaning of a medical article is not just a consequence of understanding its texts; it is a consequence of understanding all its meaningful components working together--verbal, tabular, visual.

Gross, Alan G. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2007). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Biomedical


Megan Jaegerman's Brilliant News Graphics

Megan Jaegerman produced some of the best news graphics ever while working at The New York Times from 1990 to 1998. Her work is smart, finely detailed, elegant, witty, inventive, informative. A fierce researcher and reporter, she writes gracefully and precisely. Megan has the soul of a news reporter, who happens to use graphs, tables, and illustrations--as well as words--to explain the news.

Tufte, Edward. Edward Tufte (2007). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration



One of the most effective methods of creating a technical illustration is the photo-tracing technique.

ITEDO Software (2001). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Documentation


Pricing and Types of Technical Illustration

This chart shows a range of illustration style options and an approximation of the cost for each of those options.

Hulsey, Kevin. Kevin Hulsey Illustration. Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration


Procedures/Affinity Diagrams

An affinity diagram is a technique for organizing verbal information into a visual pattern. An affinity diagram starts with specific ideas and helps you work toward broad categories. This is the opposite of a cause and effect diagram, which starts with the broad causes and works toward specifics. You can use either technique to explore all aspects of an issue.

Mitre (2007). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Risk Communication


Proposal Flowchart Excellence: Ten Rules for Scoring on Top   (PDF)

'Flowcharts-- UGH!' That's a too-typical reader reaction when faced with the average flowchart. It underscores the author's challenge when trying to develop this potentially powerful tool. For conveying process, there is no better means. In proposals, however, where the flowchart must also serve as a sales tool, its optimum form is not always clear. This paper provides some guidelines, such as: Ensuring your flow is a process of merit. Letting goals dictate form. Organizing for readability. Focusing on action. Using simple, standard visuals. Illuminating features. And obviating responsiveness... To reap the winning rewards.

Green, R. Dennis. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Charts and Graphs


Representing Content and Data in Wireframes

Visio practically groaned as I opened the wireframes for my current project, which were in something like the twentieth revision. It was the usual story--poorly defined requirements and business rules--and my project folder was fast becoming the poster child for Feature Creep Flu.

Brown, Dan. Boxes and Arrows (2004). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration



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