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Infographics visual communication

Why Infographics?

  • They help people remember and recall information more readily: People tend to remember roughly 10% of what they hear after a few days but when paired with an informative image, that percentage goes up to over 60%.
  • They help people process information more quickly: the human brain processes visual images 60,000x faster than textual information.
  • Infographics are about 30x MORE LIKELY TO BE READ than traditional articles.
  • Infographics help tell a story or share large-scale data in a very small space.

Infographics are particularly useful in:

  • Comparing and contrasting data, showing distribution or patterns: like how much men make compared to women
  • Connecting concepts or showing relationships that may be otherwise unconnected or misunderstood: like how many carpenters versus how many correctional officers are currently employed in the US to illustrate a point about the prison industrial complex
  • Telling stories that span time or illustrating the movement or flow: like deforestation in the Amazon since the 1960s
  • Explaining a process or how sometime works or a methodology: like how recycling works

Visual Basics

The first two layers of visual communication start with the image itself - 1) its denotation (literal meaning) and 2) its connotation (its suggested meaning or extra values it conveys)

A photograph of a house such as the one above could simply represent a literal picture of a house - a suburban neighborhood or it could represent a home (my home or the idea of family)

The more abstract the image or graphic, the more connotative it is.

This "house" is more abstract, but still realistic
This fully abstracted house graphic is more connotative of "home" or simply "house" but it might also indicate "family" especially if you add people (two adults and a child)

Fonts

Every infographic will need to consider the importance of Typography or Fonts that convey additional information - whether you want "clean" looking text that is sans-serif or serif which typically has a little (or a lot) more flourishes.

An infographic on how to select a typeface by Julian Hansen

Finally, you'll need to consider use of colors - which all convey various meanings and can be used to emphasize or subordinate image and text.

Finally, you'll want to determine how you're conveying your information what organizational strategy you'll use, whether through a chart (wheel or pie chart) or a graph or grids - which is perhaps the infographic we are most familiar with:

Pie Charts are used when all your data adds up to 100%

Graphs - which can come in scatter plots, line graphs, column, stacked, and bar graphs - are used to illustrate a trend, often over time. Charts - can come in area charts, bubble, pie charts - are also used to show a trend, sometimes over time. Within these digraphs, you may include a glyph (or a tiny icon that is representative of something) to turn a simple graphic into an more eye-catching infographic.

Or if you'll be better served by using maps, blueprints like this "Dude Map" created by Quartz

Or if you'll want to convey relationships with a flow-charts or pedigree charts illustrate how elements are connected through nodes, links, or lines to show relationships, connections, particularly if you want to depict the evolution of an object or a decision tree, like this Bloomberg infographic "How We Pay":

Flowcharts are less quantitative and the visualization is more illustrating of if-then statements or family relationships than of quantified data.

You might also consider using a diagram if you are trying to illustrate a point quickly:

From Bearings Guide dot Com: http://www.bearingsguide.com/2014/02/26/new-beef-pork-chart-prints/

or a timeline that highlights important milestones:

1990s Timeline from ThoughtCo: https://www.thoughtco.com/1990s-timeline-1779956

or you may wish to use a combination infographic that uses several of these different tactics to convey information:

If you're looking for inspiration, consider browsing through Bloomberg's Infographics and data visualization!

WIRE-FRAMING YOUR INFOGRAPHIC

Before you make your infographic think carefully about its size and shape whether that shape be SQAURE or RECTANGLE or whether that RECTANGLE be HORIZONTAL or VERTICAL. Depending on how you're telling a story or show a progression, a horizontal or vertical infographic might serve you best.

As you begin to arrange text and images or graphics, you'll need to consider how you'll use emphasis and subordination (to contrast or highlight things) - proportion, division of space, use of negative and white space.

Most importantly, let your DATA shape the size, and nature of the infographic.

A note on dimensions: you'll want to think about where your infographic will live - if it will be printed in a book, live on a website, be hosted on a space like instagram that has specific limits, that may change your dimensions. We'll be using our course website to host these infographics, so we'll have relatively few restraints.

Credits:

Created with images by Tumisu - "chart analytics woman" • Pexels - "architecture family house front yard garage home" • Joss Woodhead - "Nordic Suburbs"

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