When someone asks me ‘what is an infographic’, it’s increasingly difficult to give a straight answer. The word ‘infographic’ has become something of a buzzword. It’s essentially come to mean any interesting piece of graphical, informative, educational or entertaining piece of web content. They can be extremely valuable to brands and businesses looking to grow their presence online – infographics are very easy to share with a large audience across multiple platforms. High authority websites including news sites and blogs frequently feature infographics providing valuable links and exposure to businesses and brands.
Unfortunately for us all, this has led to them being perceived as a one-stop golden ticket to web exposure and page 1 rankings. The truth is that infographics (buzzword definition) are not adverts. It’s easy to spot a blatantly promotional graphic extolling, by way of pie-chart (of course), the benefits of booking your holiday with mypersonaltravelagent.com. Online we’ve become so used to filtering pages and pages of ads that I’d speculate we are more attuned to spotting them and ignoring them. If only this sort of content was as easy to spot in print – The Daily Mail would be a much shorter read.
I am fortunate enough to work with several amazing clients that understand this. In the last year, I’ve created 50 meals in plasticine, a poster of Classic British Cars and most recently a fascinating graphic on space rovers amongst many others.
What is an infographic? The adoption of the word ‘infographic’ is arbitrary. In the Edward Tuftean (read if you haven’t) sense of the word, there’s not an awful lot of visual displays of quantitive information. Perhaps the term ‘visual articles’ is more appropriate. This however doesn’t detract from their worth – it’s a new and evolving platform for design. Hopefully we will see the quality improve as brands become aware that they’re not adverts. The online crowd responds to creativity, usefulness and entertainment value. This is a really enjoyable field to work in as a designer – you’re creating content that is genuinely interesting and useful. There’s a lot of freedom, creativity and a huge amount of exposure if you get the balance just right.