Natural Model: Bird flight
The wing shape of birds varies depending on the need of the bird . A hummingbird, for example, needs to be able to hover while it is stealing the nectar from flowers, so the wings have a high aspect ratio (photo credit).
In contrast, an eagle who soars high up in the air looking for prey has wings with deep slots cut into it for optimal weight and aerodynamics (photo credit).
Any visual information should be presented in the correct size at the right time,
otherwise it will add to visual waste and become obsolete.
Think of the content or function first, then design the piece to support that function the best. Try to approach a project by saying “I am going to design a piece that will attract teenagers to come to a sporting event” instead of “I am going to design a postcard”.
Think of how a piece will be used and then try to derive the best form according to the need of it. If the goal for information is to be mobile, for example, give the piece a shape that allows for it to be carried around in either a laptop bag or a shirt pocket. If it is supposed to be a reference book, consider standard bookshelf sizes so it can fit onto it easily.
This example was a tag on some jeans I purchased I while back. The tag was no bigger than any other tag. However, due to its clever folding design, a large amount of information was revealed after you opened it. The design is clever, intriguing, and practical. In this case, the information was not highly important, it was a branding effort of the jeans company. If this idea was applied to a “what to do in an emergency” for a hiker who can tie it onto a backpack, perhaps the use of the resources could be better justified.