I do a fair bit of design work for a living, ranging from web design to identity/logo design to photo manipulation. One growing and fun category in the design world is infographics. Having evolved from simple graphs and charts, designers are rapidly realizing that we live in a visual society, and breaking information down (especially complex, intricate information) is especially important. GOOD Magazine has put a lot of emphasis on infographics, dedicating resources into creating graphics that make complicated, often dry statistics fun and visually compelling.
I was hired by a client to make an infographic for a newly launched online newspaper. Covering both Portland and Seattle, this publisher deemed it highly appropriate to focus on the classic ‘Versus’ breakdown. I researched and chose the info, settling on simple (some may say trivial) stats that either set the cities apart, or show their similarities. Indeed, there was a lot of scuttling of data, just for space-sake. Regardless, I found it fun and amusing to show the stereotypes of these two Pacific Northwest cities, and what makes them great.
I think dealing with information graphically is hugely appealing for a number of reasons. First, it deals with concepts that can be simplified with size, color, weight and direction. It keeps statistics in the foreground, driving home key points. This is important because numbers matter, and if they are glossed over in a lengthy article, their oomph may disappear. And finally, people like pretty things! This one I’m saying somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it’s very true that our societies are visually based. In an age of ever-changing media, providing information that people want to see and absorb is all the more critical. And if it helps people think creatively about ways to solve problems, all the better.