I am a bit obsessed by the list of 73 that a friend and I found; my friend and I share a blog and he came across a list of seventy-three suggestions of different sorts of blogs you could write… and we ended up having a bit of a challenge. Yesterday I wrote about listicicles, and as I am working my way through the list in order (which is random and as the creator thought of it I think), the list which in itself is a listicle… but that is a different blog, a yesterday’s blog.
Today I am looking at infographics. I think this is just a catch-all word for lists, graphs, charts, pictures, diagrams, etc which offers information visually rather than through words, or just words. ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ is a well-known saying – and yes, to a certain extent it is, but not always. A picture can show you a beautiful scene, but words can enhance the scene with descriptions of aspects of it such as the scents and perfumes of a place, the particular and maybe unique sounds you can hear, the feel of the wind or the sun, and also an explanation of certain features – geographical or historical that you might see in the image. I guess as a writer and word person (wordsmith is too pretentious!!) I would say that, wouldn’t I?
Advertisements are a really good example of images giving over a message rather than a lot of words – some adverts have virtually no words, or just a simple catch-phrase. However, thinking beyond images, and thinking of diagrams and charts and other visual representation of information, the best ones are brilliant – the worst ones makes my heart sink… When information is to do with numbers, it is much easier to understand to see a bar graph or a line graph than have it all written out. One of my interests is names and how they change and go in and out of fashion; for example, I looked up how my own name, Lois has gone in and out of fashion. Lois is in the Bible, she was St Timothy’s grandma, so maybe it has been associated with old ladies; it has never been a really popular name, rising in numbers from the 1850’s, peaking in the 1920’s and 30’s, before dropping away to almost none as the century ran out. I looked at a coloured graph to show me this; it was easy to see at a glance, and if I wanted more specifics, then the basics were there – in the 1030’s, Lois was the 21st most popular name!
In science and maths, commerce and industry, infographics are vital; some information would be very difficult to put over in any other way! I guess I have neatly demonstrated that I know little about this side of knowledge by the fact that I’ve written a couple of paragraphs above about visual images, just touching briefly on graphs, and by the fact that I am about to quote a quote from Wikipedia:
‘In his 1983 “landmark book” The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward Tufte defines “graphical displays” in the following passage:
Graphical displays should
- show the data
- induce the viewer to think about the substance rather than about methodology, graphic design, the technology of graphic production, or something else
- avoid distorting what the data have to say
- present many numbers in a small space
- make large data sets coherent
- encourage the eye to compare different pieces of data
- reveal the data at several levels of detail, from a broad overview to the fine structure
- serve a reasonably clear purpose: description, exploration, tabulation, or decoration
- be closely integrated with the statistical and verbal descriptions of a data set.
Graphics reveal data. Indeed graphics can be more precise and revealing than conventional statistical computations.’
I think that sums it up really!
Here is a link to my novels:
… and to my piece on listicles: