Memo on Design Choices

Learn how to justify your design choices for the infographic assignment. Reflect on what you’ve learned about visual communication and infographics as a medium for visual language.

The Memo on Design Choices is an exercise for The Infographic Project, a major project in Professional Writing, an undergraduate writing course.

Key Words: Data Visualization; Design

[ Course Syllabus | Schedule |The Infographic Project ]

Assignment Guidelines

The goal of The Memo on Design Choices is to demonstrate that you have learned some principles of visual design and visual rhetoric. This is a core literacy for knowledge workers. (Links to an external site.)

One way for your instructor to ascertain your mastery of visual rhetoric is to look at your work. We all learn from imitation. And thanks to being bombarded with over 5,000 advertisements a day, most of us have an innate sense of good design. This is a little like how we can speak and write well in English without necessary being familiar with technical terms for grammatical, punctuation, and mechanical rules and conventions.

Another way for your instructor to learn about your design competencies is for you to write a memo that justifies your design choices.

Rhetorical Situation

Purpose: Compose a memo to your instructor that justifies the design choices you made on your infographic.

Audience: Your audience is your instructor and classmates.

  1. Your instructor will evaluate whether your infographic is responsive to the assignment guidelines.
  2. Your instructor will look for evidence that you are cognizant of
  3. For students who worked collaboratively on The Infographic Project, your instructor will look for evidence you have developed strategies for and working productively with others (see Collaboration).

Your analysis should demonstrate you have gained understanding of some

  1. Design
  2. the genre of infographics.
Important Note: Your explanation of your design choices needs to do more than simply point out what you did. Instead, your explanation needs to address why you did what you did. Be sure to clarify how research and theory informed your design choices.


Use a memo format and a professional writing style.


  • individually authored infographic & memo: 3 to 5 pages
  • collaboratively authored infographic & memo: 3 to 5 pages + 2 additional pages per student

Scope & Possible Topics

Below are some examples of topics you could address in your memo on design justifications. These are meant as examples. You are free to investigate alternative topics.

  1. How did copyright or intellectual property policies impinge on your design choices?
  2. How did Design Principles (P.A.R.C.)* inform your design choices?
  3. How did color theory or Gestalt design inform your design choices?
  4. Did principles of page design inform your infographic? Elaborate.
  5. Did Simplicity*, Visual Design guide your composing decisions?
  6. What tool(s) did you use to create your graphics and infographic? How did the affordances and constraints of the tools empower or constrain your design choices?

Please note that you are not expected to address all of these topics. Rather, focus on one or two topics of interest to you.


The Memo on Design Choices should be submitted simultaneously with your submission of your infographic. Upload your infographic and memo to Canvas, the course management software.

If you are a member of a team, the first and last names of each team member as well as their email must be listed on a coverpage or at the top of the memo.


Data Visualization

Graphic Design



  1. Growth Mindset
  2. Intellectual Openness
  3. Metacognition & Self-Regulation
  4. Professionalism & Work Ethic
  5. Resilience