Case study:

Historic Venice

Comparing the famous city's past and present.
By Bastian Moser, Lara Perrin, and Carina Sagner

Summary

During fall semester of 2018, I traveled to Venice with a few other Viscom students to attend the Visual Discovery Conference. While there, I worked within a team of international design students to create an infographic that compared historical maps with current data.

To make our research more focused, we chose to examine a small neighborhood on its own island in the heart of the city. The Campo Del Ghetto Nuovo neighborhood has had a very storied past and still has many of the same structures that it did in 1818. I loved the combination of design and history we got to explore throughout this project.

Our Task

Create an engaging, interactive infographic that compares data from two maps, one from 1818 and one from 2018. Create the infographic as though it will be used on a touch screen in a museum. The infographic should clearly show the viewer the difference between the types of businesses in the neighborhood in 1818, and the type of businesses that are currently there. In many ways, the neighborhood hasn't changed very much, and this was also important to show. This was our final product:

Opening Page
Second Page - Historical Data
Third Page - Current Data
Fourth Page - First Floor Historical Data

Project Background

To understand why this comparative infographic is of interest to the people of Venice, it's useful to know a little bit about the neighborhood's history. The Venetian Ghetto was the area of Venice in which Jews were compelled to live by the government of the Venetian Republic throughout various parts of history. The Venetian Ghetto was instituted on 29 March 1516.

Today, the neighborhood is the center of Jewish life in the city. The Jewish community of Venice is culturally active. Every year, there is an international conference on Hebrew Studies. Other conferences, exhibitions and seminars are held throughout the course of the year. The neighborhood today has a great sense of community.

Tools

We used a variety of tools to pull the project together. Our team was cross-disciplinary including a sketch artist and a digital painter. Our tools are listed below.

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe XD
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • 3-D Model of neighborhood (found in local museum)
  • Good old fashioned pencil and paper

Sketches

OPENING SCREEN

Our first sketches were just preliminary ideas of how we wanted the opening screen to be formatted.

INFORMATION SCREENS

These VERY rough sketches gave us an idea of how we wanted the map information to be displayed once we got our illustration.

KEY/ICONS

Our infographic needed to have a number of icons. We sketched out some initial ideas here.

Mapping it Out

Below, hover over the images to take a look at how we showed where the neighborhood is located within the city.

Google Map of Venice

To show where the neighborhood was in relation to the rest of the city, we first needed to get a map image to trace.

Vector Map

I traced the Google Maps version of this using the pen tool in Illustrator.

Completed Map

Finished map graphic that was put into the infographic. In context, this was beside other information that contained other information about the history of the neighborhood.

3-D Map of Neighborhood

Our artist, Bastian, sketched this top-down view of the neighborhood, referencing a 3-D model of the area we saw in a local museum.

3D map

Finished Product

Click below to see our live prototype on the Adobe website.

Project Outcomes

This project was challenging for a few reasons. One, we had to complete it within 2 and half days. This created a really intense timeline and decisions had to be made quickly. It was a great, fast-paced way to learn the importance of creativity on a deadline. Another thing that made the project challenging, yet ultimately really rewarding, was how we had to communicate our ideas with each other through language and culture barriers. Although Carina and Bastian spoke English, there were some more abstract design ideas that were hard for all of us to effectively get across easily.