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In this paper we suggest a different approach that considers visualizations in the wider domain of communication and defines a model capable of taking into account the context in which visualizations act as communication tools. In this perspective we consider visualizations as transformation processes within the Data-Information-Knowledge (DIK) continuum. In the paper we discuss the continuum, and apply the transformation process model to the main disciplines of visualization. Visualizations represent powerful cognitive tools that surround our everyday life. By doing this we are able to think about visualization from a multidisciplinary perspective, exploring the role of visualizations in design practice, as artifacts that are used in facing problems of various degrees of complexity and nature. The contribution of the model is mainly addressed to orientate and nurture the reflective practice and to formalize the strategic more than the technical role of visualizations in the design discipline.