I‘ve been pondering the gulf that lies between CRI’s way of thinking about communication and information design and the kind of thinking to be found in documents like the one I recently reviewed.

It’s tempting to say that organisations like the TGA ‘just don’t get it’ and leave it at that, but that would be too easy. Moreover, they are in the majority. Their way of thinking about communication is the commonly held view. We in the minority, having gone through a big shift in our way of thinking about communication, have some responsibility to explain the big shift and its implications for practice as well as theory in our field.

So over the coming weeks I’m going to use this blog to share with you some of CRI’s thinking on communication and information design.

I could do it historically: tell the story of how we went through the big shift. To some extent I’ve already done this—it’s available on this website. But that paper does not draw out the here-and-now practical implications of the big shift, why such documents as the TGA review strike us not only as wrong in detail, but as fundamentally missing the point. I’m therefore going to plunge in with a central point and work my way outwards.When I take a professional interest in something like medicine packaging (and it could be any type of communication between an organisation and people) the question I ask is, ‘How is it going to be used in context?’ It could be a pack of pills picked off the shelf in a supermarket, given a quick glance and put back on the shelf or into the trolly; it might be taken out of a bathroom cabinet in the middle of the night, checked to see how many tablets to take, then opened to remove pills from a blister pack; and so on.

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