Do Infographics Clarify or Mystify?

Have you noticed that infographics have become the rage?

According to that trusty source, Wikipedia, information graphics, or infographics, are graphic visual representations of information…that present complex information quickly and clearly.”

A lot of infographics are useful, like this Washington, D.C., subway map that helps you to figure out the correct train to reach your destination.

"Source: Wikipedia"

Source: Wikipedia

But I’ve become bleary-eyed trying to figure out most infographics. Arrows and winding paths through mounds of graphic designs leave me dizzy and confused. I get lost in the maze of information most of the time.

Entire websites are devoted to them. I’d love someone to help me figure this one out.  It’s only one small piece of a diagram about the use of social media by airline passengers:

"Source: Cool Infographics"

Source: Cool Infographics

Or this one that diagrams money wasters:

"Source: Killer Infographics"

Source: Killer Infographics

What happened to narrative and bullet points? Death by PowerPoint is looking good.

Do you think these infographics clarify or mystify the information presented and do you have a favorite infographic? Thanks for your help

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Comments

  1. I find infographics pretty fun, but if it seems too sensationalist, I won’t believe the information. I’m currently working on making one of these right now, and it’s extremely difficult to put together!

    • Thanks, Erich, for your comment. Infographics can work but only if they add clarity. And most of the ones I see seem more like the artist is trying to satisfy himself and not the reader.

  2. I agree that some of the infographic designers are going for “cool” over “useful”. If you’re using an infographic on a website, but it has to be poster-size to even see all the parts, then it’s no longer informational. It’s just design.

    I personally like infographics. I’m a visual learner and like to take in the big picture all at once. But less is often more when it comes to creating them

    • Nina, agreed. I think they are almost becoming a fad now. Who can over-design the most. They can be very useful — as in subway maps — but at other times the designers just go wild.

  3. Hi there, When I saw your post pop into my email I could wait to see what you thought of infographics. Enjoyed the silly tone of your post and Steve’s site!

    • Sharon — Well, you have to have a little fun sometimes, even with a subject that is serious. Honestly, infographics are supposed to simplify!

  4. In my opinion infographics are a great way to understand something in a very informative way. It can break down the information point by point to be presented in a well understanding manner. So If I answer your question in the post title, I would say “Infographics simplifies a matter to a certain level where it will be interesting with visual graphics and facts”

    • Thanks for visiting, Shalin. You make a good point that infographics break up a lot of information into manageable chunks. I think the trend now, though, is to simplify the design of infographics and not stuff in too much information.

    • Shalin — thanks for visiting. I agree that infographics can make masses of statistics more interesting and understandable.