Close window to return home or click here

  Expert Forum for Knowledge Presentation
  Preparing for the Future of Knowledge Presentation


Krzysztof Lenk,
Paul Kahn

  Diagrams for Communication Between Designer and Client
© 2004, Lenk & Kahn


The interaction between a design studio and its client is reminiscent of the relationship between an old, experienced doctor and his sick, nervous patient. In order to make a correct diagnosis, the doctor has to learn about the different symptoms of patient’s sickness. He asks many questions, ordering x-rays and other tests to create a logical matrix of a case. He will summarize his findings and suggest the best cure. Most patients trust their doctors, will use the medicine prescribed, and pay their bills.

When a company has communication problems, they call a design studio for help. A designer will ask questions, analyze company problems, and offer a specific solution— like a doctor. (Figure 1) But often these companies will neither trust the studio, nor pay their bills on time. In the end, they may choose an alternate design solution. Why?

The purpose of our diagrams is to build trust, convince the client that we understand their problem, that we can provide a solution with some objective justification. Each diagram must be a custom solution, a direct communication between the design studio and that particular client (Figure 2).

Figure 1: Strategic applications. (by Eva-Lotta Lamm, Kahn+Associates)


Figure 2: Glyph for Schlumberger Web Space Survey.
(by Paolo Sancis, Kahn+Associates/Paolo Sancis Information Design)

Krzysztof Lenk
  Krzysztof Lenk is an information designer and educator. Since 1982 he has been a professor at RISD, teaching classes of information design and typography. From Lenk's cooperation with Paul Kahn of Brown University, the idea emerged for the studio Dynamic Diagrams. Founded in 1991, the studio became one of the leading international institutions in the field of information design. The studio was famous for developing innovative methods for the visualization of large and complicated information structures. The book, Mapping Web sites, by Paul Kahn and Krzysztof Lenk, was published in London in 2001, and has been translated to five languages. Since 2001 Krzysztof Lenk is a member of the studio advisory board.


Paul Kahn   Paul Kahn is managing director of Kahn+Associates, an information architecture consulting group based in Paris. Kahn began working with text processing systems as a production editor and analyst at Harvard University in 1977, and served as an application specialist for Atex, Inc. From 1985-1994 he was a member of the hypertext research staff at Brown University's Institute for Research in Information and Scholarship (IRIS). He taught interactive design at Rhode Island School of Design from 1994-2001, and since moving to France has taught for the mastère multimedia-hypermédia at Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts and the DESS multimedia at Université Paris 1.
Contact   Links

Close window to return home or click here