The Information Architecture Institute
A conference on designing complex information
spaces of all kinds.
Seattle Public Library, October 23-24, 2006

Meet Betsy Ehrlich, from the National Park Service!

Two and a half years ago, I marveled at the high quality and consistency of the National Park Service brochures collected on a southwestern road trip. Poking around the Web, I found they had extensive materials on the designs of their brochures, wayside exhibits, exhibits and museums, and audiovisual media, all tied together with a strong graphic identity.

So, when planning IDEA, I knew I wanted a representative from the NPS to share with us how they are able to maintain such quality and consistency, given the complexity of their charter (380 parks, each of which is run independently, spanning from Guam to Maine, with a range of interpretive needs).

Emailing the NPS, I eventually made contact with Betsy Ehrlich, whom I had the fortune of meeting on Friday. Here she is:

Betsy and I hung out for two hours. She showed me around the Interpretive Design Center, and we talked about the structure of her presentation at IDEA. Among the things that excited me was finding out that her group also manages the training for park rangers — this means they’re not just responsible for media, but also influence the experience visitors have with, if you will, the Park’s customer service representatives. Talk about holistic experience design!

Some behind-the-scenes photos:

Drawer of Brochures

Wall of Graphic Standards


More on the Central Library

The Seattle Public Library’s Central Library is easily the most aggressively modern piece of public architecture in a long time. It embodies much of the philosophies behind IDEA, with it’s mix of physical and virtual, information and substance.

Principal architect Joshua Prince-Ramus spoke about the library at the TED conference earlier this year, and a video of this is available for viewing. (Scroll down).

The images about the library that Joshua shows in his talk are included, among many others, in the Concept Book OMA created for the project. The Concept Book is a fascinating browse, and demonstrates just how deeply information architecture is embedded into the space.

Don’t forget, City Librarian Deborah Jacobs, who was instrumental in the development process, will be speaking at IDEA!


36 Hours in Seattle

Today’s New York Times features a travel piece on 36 hours in Seattle, perfect for those wanting to spend the weekend in the “Emerald City” before the event.

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Welcome to the IDEA Conference Blog

Over the next few months leading to the conference, and probably for a little while afterward, this blog will be the main source of news and information about the forthcoming IDEA conference. There will be links to concepts related to the conference, interviews with conference presenters, and who knows what else. So grab our RSS feed and stay tuned!

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