Infographics are all the rage these days. Every new media company seems to have one (or more) to visually explain their offerings, and every social consultant seems to have one to share their analyses. The damn things are all over Pinterest and there are even entire websites devoted to infographics.
Except I find most of them are pretty useless. You can’t print them out unless you have a large format printer, and the print is so tiny you can’t read them on the screen most of the time either. Which is tragic on the rare occasions that they actually do have useful information.
In fact, I would like to know who got the brilliant idea to jam so many charts and table onto a single poster? I’ve seen more than a few infographics that DO have useful info, but just don’t get why it has to be served up on an illegible poster.
Once in a while, I find a useful, useable one, like this illustration of the corporate ownership of major consumer brands or this one about social media strategy. Not surprisingly, the ones I like tend to be simple, and focused on conveying a single piece of information in a graphic manner.
But more often than not, they just seem like attempts to jump on the infographic bandwagon — Look Ma! I can make an infographic!
For example, I love the Copyblogger. In fact, I recommend the site in Professional Blogging for Dummies. But the infographic he created recently to illustrate 22 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue wasn’t any more useful, IMNSHO, than the original post. Sure it was pretty pictures, but there wasn’t any improvement on the information.
And that is what I want from an infographic. A useful infographic materially improves upon the source data by combining multiple sources of information to create new meaning. More than just a poster with lots of “stuff,” it should transform the data into something new.
A picture is definitely worth a thousand words, but a picture made of a thousand words is not.
- I am So Over Infographics (technologyleaders.com)
- 5 Questions to Ask before Jumping on the Infographics Bandwagon (contentmarketinginstitute.com)