When you think of infographics, you might associate them to dull pie charts and illegible numbers. Indeed, the recent rise of infographics in digital and print media reveals that they are much more than this.
In our time of big data and overwhelming information, infographics are helping us to visualize connections and dynamics, and focus on core questions. It is a rapid and effective visual information with incredible superpower. It can summarize significant amounts of data and in-depth research, conveying them into compelling messages easy to digest and go viral.
Gareth Cook and the power of Infographics
Gareth Cook – a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of the best selling book series The best American infographics – explains how infographics work in an interview with the Harvard Business Review.
First of all, infographics can have a strong emotional impact, showing an idea or a relationship quickly and unexpectedly. The more the viewer is surprised and compelled to react, the more he will be involved.
Focus is also a primary key in involving people. Even if you have a large set of data, try to figure out the main point and focus on it. A good design “will remove all the extraneous details, so you see just what you need to understand the message behind it” says Cook. It doesn’t mean that you have to erase information. It will still be there, but the viewer will browse it after catching the main message. Filling the blanks and making his assumptions is also part of the game.
And last, but not least, a taste of whimsy and humor can spice up your communication.
When should you use infographics?
There are a few cases when an infographic can come in handy :
- when you have data from surveys, and you want to make them more exciting and bright;
- when you need to simplify a complex subject,
- when you have competitors or opposite points of view, infographics are incredibly great at showing at a glance how things are similar or different,ù
- when you want to raise awareness of a brand or a cause.
Reasons why an animated infographic is the best choice
Videos usually get better engagement than images or plain texts. So, by transforming your infographic into a video, you are increasing your chance to gain viewers and go viral.
In a video, you can think of information as a story.
You can address each piece of information one part at a time, and connect them in a meaningful way, with characters, emotions, and an overall message.
Effective examples of infographics videos
At this point, you may need some cases.
Here is a video by Gabriel Reilich and Jake Infusino (you will find more videos on his web site www.jakobinfusino.com). Reducing data to a smaller scale (100 hundred people instead of 7 billion) makes global issues more understandable.
Here is another compelling video on air pollution. Visualizing carbon as a blue ball makes the impact of it on our lives evident.