Karel van der Waarde studied graphic design in the Netherlands (BA, The Design Academy, Eindhoven) and the UK (MA, De Montfort University, Leicester; PhD, University of Reading).
In 1995, he started a design – research consultancy in Belgium specializing in the testing of pharmaceutical information design. His company develops patient information leaflets, instructions, forms, protocols, and the information architecture for websites.
Karel van der Waarde frequently publishes and lectures about visual information. Avans University of Applied Sciences (Breda, The Netherlands) appointed him as scholar in Visual Rhetoric between 2006 and 2014. From September 2014, he teaches (part time) at the Basel School of Design (Switzerland).
Van der Waarde is a Life-Fellow of the Communications Research Institute (Melbourne, Australia), a board member of International Institute for Information Design (IIID, Vienna, Austria) and editorial board member of Information Design Journal, Journal of Communication Design, the Poster, Visible Language, and She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation.