How businesses approach infographics

Posted to Design  |  Tags: ,

The Washington Post asked three "young entrepreneurs" how their company uses infographics. They responded with similar sentiments. The first one said:

Infographics can be great as part of presentations, newsletters or other research content. It keeps people's interest by lending a storytelling and visual element to what can be sterile research.

The second said:

Infographics are outstanding for bringing life to content that would otherwise be dry, uninteresting or unshareable.

And the last one, who to be fair, seems to know more than the first two, said:

At the end of the day, the main use for infographics is to create content that can potentially go viral and drive traffic, links and exposure to a Web site and the brand.

If I were new to these infographic things, my main takeaway here would be that they're used to make boring material interesting. Shouldn't it be the other way around though? Information graphics are interesting because their foundations of data and um, information are worth looking at in the first place. Don't fall into the trap of trying to make something "visually compelling" without anything to compel with.

6 Comments

  • I’ve heard this used before – make boring, or overwhelming info more interesting and accessible. Think there are arguments for both sides. I agree, that boring content is boring content. But is it possible, that things which are boring when presented in text alone can be brought to life with visualisation?

  • I’d say those guys were marketing people. It is a classical answer deduced from business class! To me good infographics supports transfer of complex and lots of information in a short amount of time. This is necessary because our language isn’t capable to do that anymore. Therefore infographics is similar to the cave art of past generations!

  • Paulo Colacino April 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Infographics do for the story / information the same that charts do for data and numbers. They tell us the facts (the truth?) in a visual manner, facilitating the cognition and the comprehension.

    Currently I´m researching and working in the application of the infographic concept on business intelligence and analytics solutions. We have a incredible potential in these field.

    Cheers

    Paulo Colacino
    Brazil

  • “…they’re used to make boring material interesting. Shouldn’t it be the other way around though?”

    And make interesting material boring? ;-) That sentiment should go down well with the “everything should be a standard bar chart” brigade… :p

    (p.s. I think they mean unengaging or inaccessible material, rather than material that is actually fundamentally of no interest to anyone. Although there is that weird trend of linkbait infographics about random trendy topics that are completely unrelated to the strange scammy-looking sites that host them…)

  • Sorry, but I didnt get the whole point of rambling about this? What did they really fail to see ? To my sense, infographics really is all about bringing statistics and numbers to life without boring numbers.

  • Infographics make information digestable, whether it’s boring or not. It’s about getting the viewer to *understand* what’s being said, and the quicker the better. An well-done infographic for something that’s boring or irrelevant is just “pretty art.” An infographic that looks great, connects with the viewer is what becomes viral. Some companies just don’t understand crappy content can’t be dressed up.