Infographics: Would I recommend them?

September 18, 2012 — Leave a comment

I was looking for data on how many infographics get produced every year. I couldn’t find any. The numbers that I did see looked like they were pulled out from thin air. So that becomes useless. But, considering that we see a lot of infographics today, let’s just say – there are a lot of them being produced every year, maybe even every day. Infographics are getting widely popular as a medium to deliver (sometimes) serious data that will capture the attention of the 8 year old in all of us. Bright colors, bigger text and lots of data attract our curiosity to those long and elegantly (mostly) designed graphic files.

For those of you who are still scratching your heads wondering what info on graphics am I talking about – I am referring to information graphics (long for, infographics). They are visual representations of information (data/knowledge). They have been around for a long time but the recent popularity of those brightly-lit charts has been propelled by tech-invasion meets graphic-design. There is data all around us and there are people with attention spans of a skink. Add to that, being bombarded by a million messages at once doesn’t make it any easier. We don’t get enough time to keep our attention on something to assimilate what we see.

So coming back to the infographics, I personally love them. It adds up to my “take the message out” concept. It’s creative. And it’s meant to be fresh every time. It helps convert a chunk of text into something that we can comprehend easily. It makes representation easy with explanation included.

Infographics are used for various purposes. Some of the most popular and viral infographics are the ones that involved technology, politics and lot of social. People use them to communicate a story. And that story can be anything. It could be a social cause or it could be about you. I tried creating a infograph resume, when I was in Dubai recently, for the fun of it. See below.

Ashish-Kuriakose-Infograph-Resume-NPRLF

But I don’t think anyone outside my friend circle was impressed. So I figure my friends were only being nice. Thanks guys! ;-)

There is one thing I have against infographics – they can be so time-consuming to produce. But once they are done, they become a good information source for some time. Though their expiry dates do seem longer than those of texty pages.

Some of the few rules when working on infographics:

  1. Do not start with the graphics.
  2. Stick to the data. Sift. Sift. Sift through the data.
  3. Find the story (in that data). Think why would people want to go through that infographic.

More rules:
4. Don’t clutter. Stay lite.
5. Stick to a color scheme. But stray, if necessary.
6. Think graphic, not text. Think larger.

I recently created an infographic for a company I was trying out for. I got the idea from their ‘about’ page which was too texty for me. And they had some great data points to highlight. See below.

redington-gulf-infographic

This infographic was created for Redington Gulf – for demo purposes only. Not for commercial use.

I had great fun building the infographic. I think it took me around 2 days to build and it taught me a lot about the whole process – data collection, proofing, design and presentation. At the end of the day, it helped me have some great conversations inside that organization.

Would I recommend building an infographic? In one word, yes. But the challenge is being different, unique in a world that sees at least one new infographic every day. But wait, you don’t have to worry about that. The correct question is – how many infographics is your audience seeing? Chances are they see one every week or month. Building your story in graphical format helps them connect the dots from screen to mind.

If you want to share your infographic idea, please comment here. Or send me an email or tweet me – @ashed.


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