“‘Information Graphics’ are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.”
To get a further understanding of what should be on graphical displays, Edward Tufte defines it in his book ‘The visual display of quantitative information’:
“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.”
How can infographics be used?
Presenting survey data: These are more useful in order to gather a lot of information on one page. Because lots of data can be overwhelming to look at initially, using colour and simplified designing makes it a lot more attractive.
Explaining how something works: As well to help simplify complex ideas, it also helps to make people understand how something works to the core. Jing Zhang uses infographics here to show how an iPhone works, using creativity in the poster itself to add an extra touch without altering the facts.
Comparisons: Comparisons can be easily drawn using infographics. The information can sit beside each other neatly without clashing, as well as use lots of imagery also to convey the information next to each other.
Facts: Facts can be interesting when they are not listed in bullet point form from Word. Facts can be changed around into something interesting, and almost into a piece of art if you can use the facts as part of the imagery also on the page. More important facts can be emphasized against the less important ones.
Another example of this similarly, is having words that cannot alone be standing there. Maptia used the example of taking words from foreign languages and illustrated them, along with the translated meaning. The images make it more appealing to look at than just words.
Raising awareness: Lots of information may not want to be read in a dull Arial font, especially if it is unpleasant. People would not want to look at it. A way to get people to read it, is to keep the facts short and snappy, not making the audience dwell on one fact – again, pictures make it much more pleasant to read.
Leverage a holiday season: Infographics is a great way of promoting what is coming up in the season, and events that are especially important during this period. Use of imagery would be especially important, making everything look more fun and festive during that season.