Infographics used and abused

Thursday, July 19th, 2012 by Simon Morton

There has been a lot of chatter around Eyeful Towers of late on the subject of Infographics.  We’re great fans of them here at Eyeful but there have been some industry rumblings of late about whether they can still cut the mustard.

Personally I am always a little suspicious regarding the meaning of any word that is clearly made up from others that are already doing an honest day’s work but in the interests of education I’m going in….

According to Wikipedia, infographics are

Graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge…. (used to) present complex information quickly and clearly.

According to my Collins dictionary (hard copy) of 2009 it’s not even a word. But this is not a story about recent innovation; infographics have been around for a long time, it’s just that they were given a new name. Maps are info graphics, as are road signs, green men (on pedestrian crossings – not in space) and Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man also fit the brief.

Unfortunately like anything simple and effective they seem to be falling victim to misunderstanding and overuse. Much of the current griping about infographics has been accompanied by examples; yet strangely many of these examples have not even been infographics. Plonking text on a pictorial background does not an infographic make.

Infographics are so much more than pictures…

We know that when it comes to presentations well-designed infographics make your presentation not only visually appealing but also contribute toward audience engagement, understanding and retention. That’s why Eyeful and our customers love them. Infographics are also the most multi lingual of communication devices (we have even sent one into space on Pioneer 10, just in case those other green men really exist).

Still not convinced? Consider this…  For every person standing uncomfortably outside a pub toilet trying to work out if they’re a ‘Cob’ or a ‘Pen’, there are millions who are immediately comforted by the neckless lady in the A line skirt and her bandy legged male accomplice.

Or Mr and Mrs Infographic as I like to call them.


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