Infographics have evolved in recent years to become a means of mass communication; they are designed to reach a wider audience by simplifying complex subjects and arranging it in an easy to digest format, unlike other types of visualizations. Because of its simplicity and a compelling storytelling, it has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and we can see infographics being shared all over the internet and social media.
What is an Infographic?
An infographic is a visual representation of information and data. It takes a large amount of information in text or numerical form and then condenses it by combining elements of text, images, charts, and diagrams. It is an effective tool to present data and explain complex issues in a way that can quickly lead to insight and better understanding.
History of Infographics
Although infographics have only recently gained widespread popularity online, they have actually existed since the 17th century.
The Commercial and Political Atlas, published in 1786 by William Playfair, was the first example of modern infographics.
In 1983, a data visualization expert named Edward Tufte wrote a series of books about infographics. He also offered lectures and hands-on workshops on the subject.
At the dawn of the 21st century, infographics transitioned into a digital format. With so many historic examples, Tufte’s teachings, and the emergence of the Internet, infographics seamlessly transitioned online.
It was around 2010 that they became what we know today – digital graphics designed to present complex information, usually posted on blogs or within articles on websites, sometimes spreading virally.
Types of Infographics
Infographics come in various forms. They are categorized based on purpose, types of objects used and the flow of information. Not all infographics will strictly fall into a specific category. Most infographics will have elements of multiple types. The type of infographic that will be most appropriate in a given situation will depend on the objective of the data visualization.
A statistical infographic puts the focus on your data. The layout and visuals will help you tell the story behind your data.
A informational infographic template is ideal for if you want to clearly communicate a new or specialized concept, or to give an overview of a topic.
A timeline infographic is an effective way to visualize the history of something, or to highlight important dates, or to give an overview of events.
A process infographic is ideal for providing a summary or overview of the steps in a process.
A comparison infographic is for when you want to compare options in an unbiased way, or you want to make one option seem better.
When to use an Infographic
- Illustrating data: You can take data from surveys and make it more interesting than your average chart.
- Simplifying a complex subject: If you’ve got a rather complex concept, and need a way to break it down quickly and easily, infographics are the way to go.
- Making comparisons: Infographics are great at showing when two things are incredibly similar or different.
- Awareness: Whether it’s related to business, politics or any other area, you can quickly raise awareness of a brand or cause with an infographic.
Infographics will continue to be used frequently by businesses, educators and the media, but there’s a good chance they’ll evolve like our technology does. Possibly in the future we may start seeing more interactive, as well as 3D immersive ones incorporated into virtual reality experiences.