Layers of information

furniture and art in room

The Tabard Inn is one of the oldest continuing running hotels in Washington, DC.  This hotel and restaurant are made up of three townhouses that have been joined over time by connecting passageways.  It has an old European feel and not one of the rooms is the same.

One of my favorite spots in the hotel is the lounge.  Here you can find people enjoying a drink before dinner on one of the vintage sofas or chairs.  During the cooler months, the fireplaces are lit which gives the wood ceilings and walls a warm glow.  The seats are arranged in such a way that groups of two or more can find a place to have an intimate conversation.

What I find striking about the hotel are the layers—the history, materials, colors, furniture, artwork, people, food, and spaces of various sizes.  Regardless of where you look, there is an enormous amount of visual information to take in and process.  The shapes and sizes of the elements that fill your field of vision create texture.  Nothing is minimal or smooth.  Without these layers, the hotel would be a very different place.

Creating something that people will remember involves giving it meaning through layering.  This means adding various layers of information that give the reader or viewer multiple perspectives through which they can view the subject.  This is relevant whether you are writing a story, designing a building, or explaining a product to a customer.

Being aware of the important information that defines your message can help you focus on what you want to convey to people.