Tomoko Ichikawa is a Clinical Professor at the Institute of Design (ID). She believes that good design requires analysis and should be content- and context-driven, and she applies that philosophy as an educator and practitioner of clear and effective visual communication design of complex information. Tomoko is interested in the syntax and semantic aspects of visual language, using appropriate sign systems to match information structure to visual structure. She has focused on diagrams and, most recently, the emerging field of computer-generated data visualizations in her explorations. Her research interests include understanding new forms of visualization, particularly as they contrast to existing forms, and the various structures of storytelling. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from International Christian University in Tokyo and a master of science in visual communication from ID.
Tomoko has taught at ID since 1993. Since 2018 she has been partner at the UI Health Institute for Healthcare Delivery Design, designing communication materials for patients, caregivers, and clinicians. Tomoko has also served as principal and information designer at Maykawa Studios since 2005, helping organizations refine and visualize key messages for stakeholders.
Before joining ID, Tomoko was an information designer at Siegel+Gale in New York. There she collaborated with technical writers to assist Fortune 500 companies with innovative communication approaches and outputs that leveraged new technology to improve brand and customer relationships. From 1992 to 2005, she served as senior information designer at Doblin, Inc., in Chicago. Within the innovation planning firm she worked collaboratively, assisting internal teams in communicating large business concepts to various levels in client organizations, developing and producing workshop experiences, and helping researchers to develop new analytical tools.