Tomoko ichikawa

Senior Lecturer, IIT Institute of Design

Tomoko teaches Visual Communication at IIT Institute of Design. She's interested in finding effective ways to visually represent complex information. Before studying design, she wanted to be a simultaneous interpreter (the kind that sits in the booth at the UN) for English/Japanese. She now realizes that difficulty stemmed from the different structure of the two languages, not necessarily her lack of competence. Switching to consecutive interpretation (the kind where the speaker speaks first, then followed by the interpreter's translation), she developed her own visual language to take notes quickly and help with recall. She later learned that those were actually diagrams, which is a subject she currently teaches at ID. In addition to diagramming, her recent interest includes the various visual languages that are emerging in data visualization.

BarnRaise provides an opportunity for Tomoko to see a powerful student creation come to life two years in a row. It is taking root in other design schools which is a testament to its timeliness and extendability. She will be advising the organizing group on marketing and communication issues.

Prior to teaching at ID, Tomoko worked as an information designer at Doblin and Siegel & Gale. Her experience in the design and consulting fields feeds nicely into what she teaches in academia. 

When not teaching, Tomoko is fascinated by DIY and cooking shows (the information structure being highly process-based). When able, she also enjoys shibori fabric dyeing.