By Sue Disler
The hashtag #infographic was tweeted 56 765 times in March 2012 and at its peak 3 365 times in a span of 24 hours.
According to Wikipedia, “information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.They can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends.The process of creating infographics can be referred to as data visualization, information design, or information architecture”.
Whilst the concept is not new (dating back to the 17th century), the internet has fueled the rise of infographics in recent years as they can convey a thought process and concepts (of literally any kind of content) that anyone can understand.
It’s no wonder that companies and marketers have resorted to using this way of visualising content to convey thought, conversation and debate as it’s easy to share and most importantly, it can transcend the language barriers.
Most notable use of this method is the Economist’s Daily Chart which creates charts or maps with interactive features linking to sources of data around the web on daily basis. They have a whole team dedicated to this. Also look at Distance to Mars, which actually covers no new information at all, but the experience of it all makes it rare. And then there’s the expanse of 7 Billion World which charts all the people in the world and takes the medium to a new level by being over 10 000 pixels in height.
Creating an infographic this is no mean feat. The same amount of research and time is needed as you would for any 1000 word article out there. Once all collated and fact checked, designers specialising in this technique, need to interpret the information so your data come to life.
If you don’t have the luxury of a designer there are some software tools out there to help:
Source: Sue Disler has more than 20 years of experience in the advertising and marketing as a designer (and sometimes coder), art director and strategist, the last 16 largely dedicated to digital. Currently, she is general manager of digital at John Brown South Africa. Follow @suediz on Twitter.