The IIID Vision Plus conference provides an international platform for discussion and the exchange of experience and ideas on information design issues. Since 1995, this conference visited different cities all over the world and in 2018 it stopped in Mexico City.

In 2018 the conference was hosted by the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana (UAM) at the Cuajimalpa and Xochomolco Campus in Mexico City from October 29th to 31st 2018. That was the reason for 25 professional designers and students from 10 different countries to come together and share their visions, ideas, concepts and their knowledge of information design. The conference promoted the title “Information Design as a tool for a better city”. The contributors took a closer look at the question of how information design can change or influence a city. The presentations touched a big variety of topics, for instance an analyse of street signage, the design of signage for emergency situations, social and sustainable design and the development of a CI for the “Nochebús”, which is a night bus line in Mexico City.

My talk was about my thesis in the Master Programme Exhibition Design. The idea was to create a concept for the Austrian city St. Pölten to apply for the title of European Capital of Culture 2024. It is based on the structures, the rough edges of its history and the future of the city. What makes this city special and what does it want to be? The concept is an effort of trying to answer the question if you can bring a city to life by making the city itself a living and acting organism.

Karl Stocker, head of the Institute of Design and Communication and Sigrid Bürstmayr, research assistant at the FH JOANNEUM did a talk with the titel “You have no chance – so take it.” While the glittering aesthetics of consumer goods propel us to create modern “ego images,” there is another side to contemporary design besides the urge to consume, one that focuses on social, ecological and environmental issues in the design practice. The lecture illustrates some recent projects that have achieved stabilizing, equilibrating and changing effects in the context of a new design order.

In particular, the presentations of the students of the UAM were impressive, because they pointed out the problems of Mexico City and gave the audience an authentic impression of the local situation. Every day they are confronted with insufficient water supply, problems of public transport or waste management and a high crime rate.

This conference showed that information design is not just about matching colours, creating nice graphics and forms. It has the possibility to influence a city in a sustainable way and change how citizens behave and interact with each other.

Besides the conference there was also the chance to get to know the beautiful city of Mexico City. The impressions are hard to describe: every corner looks different. You can see fancy business departments and a taco stand, concrete walls and colours which are bright, vibrant and bold all at the same time. All those different facets can hardly be described by words.

Text & Photography: Lisa Huber