The Infographic Age – How Communications Got Visual

The Infographic Age – How Communications Got Visual

Marcus Marritt

Marcus Marritt

Guest Contributor: Marcus Marritt

You can barely turn a page of a newspaper or a magazine these days without spotting an infographic. There are even infographics about infographics – that’s how ubiquitous they’ve become. For newcomers, infographics – or information graphics – are a popular way of representing sets of data through creative and easy-to-digest visuals. Infographics have taken on a life of their own, often taking up as many column inches as editorial copy. Facts and figures can speak volumes, but when presented as eye-catching and uncomplicated “infobites”, they have the power to engage. Here is a great example looking at the continuing growth of online shopping for Give as you Live.

Visual communication is not new: from cave paintings, to hieroglyphs, to Da Vinci’s ‘Treatise on Painting’, history is rich with examples of imagery and data, combined in such a way that presents information compactly, the desired impact on the viewer being instant understanding.

So what is behind the current obsession with infographics? If we look at the way modern society has evolved  – in particular, the industrial revolution and technologies for mass production – eventually, we arrive at the commoditisation of goods. Information, too, has become a commodity and assimilating it quickly and pain-free is a consumer requirement. Infographics satisfy this 21st century human mindset fantastically, driving large chunks of information at the receiver, enabling instant understanding and adhering perfectly to our highly visual nature.

Infographics may be quick on the receiving end of the process, but require much consideration and planning to put together. The key is to have a clear vision of what the message needs to be, a solid base of information to support it and most importantly, a good designer and interesting content. When successfully brought together, the end product projects a brilliantly clear and concise message, in a format that the media and its audiences are drawn to.

And what does this mean for PR? A lot, let me tell you. To PRs, one of the most attractive attributes of the infographic is its versatility. Clients are not only represented in a fresh and concise manner, but the message can be repurposed across a verity of media platforms. The latest development in infographics has begun looking at animating statistics and information. This is exciting as it really engages our visual minds, simplifying the message and releasing it at a pace which is more entertaining and consumable. A great example of this can be seen below.

So keep an eye out – infographics are cropping up everywhere, with many more to come!

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