Infographics: The Main Meal

a meme featuring the what's for dinner cowboy

Infographics… they’re what’s for dinner… and lunch, and breakfast. Confused? Read below.

Human beings can easily visualize five things. We can roughly visualize 100 things. Yet, if we are asked to visualize 1 million things, can we really wrap our heads around that? Not easily. Our brains continually look for ways to break information down so that we can more easily grasp it.



Look at these examples:

two example simple infographics

Which one is easier for your brain to connect the information?

For most people, the second choice is easier  because the brain doesn’t have to work through all of the zeros to understand that the number is one million.

Because our daily lives are inundated with information, our brains don’t have time to process it all anymore. Our brains continually take shortcuts, often only scanning information without returning to explore it more thoroughly. Our brains’ use of shortcuts as a coping mechanism has created a “snack culture” where audiences desire smaller snippets of information. Enter the rise of the use of Infographics. From simple bar charts, to pie charts, to more complex scatterplots, thematic maps, and more, visualization of information has moved from being information snack food to the main meal. The use of Infographics is currently the best way to convey information that connects you to your audience.

But throwing some icons and colors together do not make for engaging infographics. Experts say that like all good communications, a good infographic starts with a good plan. Here are some great resource articles from two of the infographic platforms we use, Venngage and Canva. These articles discuss planning, summarizing, and creating engaging infographics:

We also enjoyed thisTedTalk presented by David McCandless, who who turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut — and it may just change the way we see the world.

You can also view this video directly on the TedTalk website: TedTalk