Information has an undeniable skill to constantly grow and become more complex to sort out. Everyone can judge for his own but people tend to perceive and understand big amounts of data better if it is represented visually. Apart from doing a great thing for humanity, infographic is yet another field where designers can sharpen their talents.
Information design and the process of its creation that in the designer language is interpreted as data visualization, information design, information architecture, was touched upon at all Yalantis designers gathering.
Coffee types infographic. It is comfortably hanging on the kitchen wall in our office. Dasha’s work.
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What is an infographic? Simply and clearly
Graphic representations of data to improve cognition, appetite, knowledge of the world’s culture, social media reachability, your product’s virality and what not can all be united in a capacious word — infographic.
Let’s be short. The main goal of infographic is to put all in order. Infographic is:
The types of infographic according to the form of presenting information:
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A couple of creative people from Johannesburg, South Africa — Jeff Tyser and Kerryn-Lee Maggs came up with a great idea to do infographic posters for each country they travelled through. Photos combined with information design perfectly sum up impressions of the African countries and look awesome. Here is one of the posters picturing Botswana, the rest of them you can see on VisualLoop.
Agricultural infographics from Anton Egorov, a designer from Saint Petersburg done for a website of an agricultural holding company.
Sales data view by Piotr Kwiatkowski, a designer from London.
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This sort of infographic can be hard to implement technically but looks very impressive. Interactive exploration of Boston’s subway system, the project created by Michael Barry and Brian Card for a graduate course in Data Visualization at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, called Visualizing MBTA Data.
Kaspersky lab has published a super cool interactive infographic that shows different viruses activity around the planet in real-time — CyberThreat Real-Time Map.
Russian magazine «Infographics» produced their first work in the interactive shape. It is called The Main World Exporters. The visual data on the map can be summarized with the following words: «11 countries account for more than 60% of the world export, China exports its goods to 208 countries among the possible 244».
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You might think that this sort of infographics is the easiest in implementation. However, one needs to have a designer’s talent to combine elements in a way as to make them speak and the order each of the elements is put in should be thoroughly elaborated.
Daniel Eckler is a designer and the founder of MIJLO, a home decor collective specializing in small space solutions. Alongside the Kickstarter campaign for a backpack design developed by MIJLO, Daniel created a series entitled Essentials. He reached out to the bags of designers, art directors, editors, bloggers, photographers, and artists and took out their content.
The series of personal belongings shaped into arranged and ordered compositions create a special visual narrative about each bag’s owner. Here is a bag of Susana Simonpietri, a creative director.
New Zealand photographer Henry Hargreaves and American food stylist Caitlin Levin have turned maps into food...or...visa versa. Anyhow, they created a very curious project entitled Food Maps. The idea is to literally put culinary stereotypes of countries on the map and make the maps look edible.
Fernando Baptista, a Senior Graphic Editor at the National Infographics created a graphic of a Tomb 5 in Samdzong. This work pictures a new discovery buried about 1,800 years ago. It was found in the caves of the former kingdom of Mustang in Nepal. Fernando’s photographed model painstakingly built with papier maché, clay, plasticine, wood, and many weeks of research. It was featured in the National Geographic magazine.
Ukrainian motion designer Eugene Pylinsky made a great infographic video about the world of technology.
Where to take the information from?
Everywhere you can actually, but in terms of ready made data sources there are the following options:
1. Freebase calls itself a community-curated database of well-known people, places and things. The truth is, Freebase is a way harder to understand sort of Wikipedia or a library. Here you can find some specific information based on scientific research or statistics data. Each of the topics in Freebase is linked to other related topics and annotated with important properties like movie genres and people’s dates of birth. There are over a billion such facts or relations that make up the graph and they’re all available for free through the APIs or to download from data dumps. Data Dumps are a downloadable version of the data in Freebase.
2. Infochimps is a paid version of Freebase. Though there are also data given away for free. Infochimps Cloud is a suite of cloud services that makes it faster and far less complex to develop and deploy Big Data applications.
3. Wikipedia. Come on! I had to mention it.
Some more infographics
If you ever wondered how the camera is made, check some creative infographics from Jing Zhang.
Forest management by Michæl Paukner.
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In conclusion, you have to have some words for inspiration. I recommend a book entitled «The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures» by Dan Roam. Roam teaches readers how to clarify any problem or sell any idea using a simple set of tools, which is what infographic is called for.
Check out this course about how to make and promote infographics.
«There is no more powerful way to prove that we know something well than to draw a simple picture of it. And there is no more powerful way to see hidden solutions than to pick up a pen and draw out the pieces of our problem.»
Infographic presentation prepared by Dasha Ermolova, Designer at Yalantis