What is an Infographic?

What is an Infographic?

One of the best examples I have found comes from 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.

Infographics have been around for many years and recently the proliferation of a number of easy-to-use, free tools have made the creation of infographics available to a large segment of the population. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have also allowed for individual infographics to be spread among many people around the world.

In newspapers, infographics are commonly used to show the weather, as well as maps, site plans, and graphs for statistical data. Some books are almost entirely made up of information graphics, such as David Macaulay’s The Way Things Work. The Snapshots in USA Today are also an example of simple infographics used to convey news and current events.[5]

Modern maps, especially route maps for transit systems, use infographic techniques to integrate a variety of information, such as the conceptual layout of the transit network, transfer points, and local landmarks. Public transportation maps, such as those for the Washington Metro and the London Underground, are well-known infographics. Public places such as transit terminals usually have some sort of integrated “signage system” with standardized icons and stylized maps.

In his 1983 ‘landmark book’ The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward Tufte defines ‘graphical displays’ in the following passage:

“Graphical displays should:

show the data

induce the viewer to think about the substance rather than about methodology, graphic design, the technology of graphic production or something else

avoid distorting what the data have to say

present many numbers in a small space

make large data sets coherent

encourage the eye to compare different pieces of data

reveal the data at several levels of detail, from a broad overview to the fine structure.

serve a reasonably clear purpose: description, exploration, tabulation or decoration.

be closely integrated with the statistical and verbal descriptions of a data set.

Graphics reveal data. Indeed graphics can be more precise and revealing than conventional statistical computations.”[6]

While contemporary infographics often deal with ‘qualitative’ or soft subjects, generally speaking Tufte’s 1983 definition still speaks, in a broad sense, to what infographics are, and what they do—which is to condense large amounts of information into a form where it will be more easily absorbed by the reader.


For the full story see:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infographic

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