Stamen Design is the cover story of this month's Icon Magazine. Well deserved. On infographics and the growing number of tools to make them:
Stamen finds inspiration everywhere, but Rodenbeck hopes that the public will stop conflating infographics with data visualization. "The rise of the infographic as a genre is a little depressing. Back when desktop publishing started, people were worried that there would be no more room for designers, that computers would do all the work for you. But this clearly didn't turn out to be the case." While someone without design training [or skill — E] could make use of desktop publishing to create a holiday card or office leaflet or company newsletter, the band at the top for good designers actually grew. In a similar way, he says, "infographics have become the mother's day cards — the company newsletters — of data visualization."
It's like that with anything that involves creation really. Someone makes some software so that the computer can do some of the work for you, but it'll never be able to do all the work. R can spit out graphics, but you still have to decide what bits of the output to use and interpret what's in front of you. People find this out and what it takes to make something worthwhile when they try to do it themselves.
Whenever a new site pops up to make infographic creation a snap, my Twitter feed bubbles with gripes and scoffs. Once all those applications come out of beta though, I think we (the data folk) are still gonna be okay.