This exercise asked me to find some examples of information graphics and examine the way they are designed and what decisions the designer made. I then needed to create a graphic that described my immediate surroundings.
The Oxford Dictionary describes an infographic simply as
“a visual image, such as a chart or diagram, used to represent information and data”
Infographics have existed since the 17th century but it wasn’t until the 20th century and the widespread developments of newspaper printing that they gained in popularity as a form of content marketing. Their transition into the digital format has seen them utilised as a tool for visualising data rich content in a visually engaging way to educate, inform and build brand awareness. The artistic representation of data can often serve to simplify a complicated subject and make it more accessible. In addition to charts and diagrams a number of different elements can be included in an infographic, examples being pictures, narrative, timelines and check-lists. Infographics have proved an extremely effective way of engaging people on social media platforms and the most successful have a strong visual impact that precisely displays information in a rational way, often breaking it down into its core components.
Information can be categorised in many different ways and depending on the type of data to be communicated, a designer will make different choices as to the style of an infographic. Information can be represented chronologically, alphabetically, geographically, categorically, and hierarchically using different artistic elements. There are a number of types of infographic, each being suited to communicating a different type of information. Below are some examples which I particularly liked.
This is an example of a timeline infographic and I think the designer has chosen to represent this information in this manner as it is very effective for telling a story in a chronological order. There are many data points and they describe the development of the Xmen characters and movies across almost 200 years.
Maslov’s hierarchy of needs is a perfect example of data which needs to be organised and most effectively represented according levels of importance. The designer here has used a pyramid shape to act as a visual guide for comparing different levels of information and it works very successfully at leading the eye and communicating the concepts of a complicated theory.
The designer of this infographic has used numbered stages to describe how to tap a watermelon. These ‘how to’ infographics are best suited to visually describing a procedure and sharing information that can be split into very definable steps.
The purpose of this infographic is to compare the London and New York subways. The designer has split the page in half and displayed the opposing information in alignment so that it is easily identifiable what two pieces of data are to be compared. Comparison infographics can be used to compare products, ideas, people and events.
Other common types of infographic include those which communicate trends across a region and global statistics, often using maps with icons and colours and those which employ the use of a combination of different elements, including text and photos to communicate and share a wider range of information.
I decided to design an infographic to describe the layout of my flat. I made a few notes about the type of information I could include:
- Size of rooms
- Number of rooms
- Location of doors and windows
- Colour schemes
- Where the furniture is located
- What the rooms look like
- Room type
I began by drawing a scaled aerial floor plan of my flat which is 2% of the actual size.
I then decided to create quite a simple infographic which gave the basic information about the layout and the size of the rooms. I used colour primarily to communicate the different types of room and provided a key which was easy for people to understand. I think this design is effective for sharing basic information and even without including the doors and windows in the key I think that the different colours show where these elements are without confusion.
I then decided to try a second version of the infographic. I wanted to share more information and because the layout of a flat can include both the 2D dimensions of the square footage and the configuration of the furniture within each room I decided to use a photographic style of infographic. This allowed me to combine both the statistical data and the visual information I wanted to represent. I used some free home design software called Room Sketcher online at http://planner.roomsketcher.com to re-draw the layout of the flat and included the basic layout of furniture in each room.
I then added photographs that I had taken to make the graphic more visually appealing and interesting.