How do you know you have a good infographic?

“Today’s graphics use multiple shapes and colours to cover up a paucity of data” ~ Edward Tufte (the founding father of infographics)

The important thing to remember when designing/using an infographic is that we don’t forget the principles it came from. We should not lose the value of an infographic in fancy illustrations, but stress-test the graphic through filters of logic.

Good data gives a good visual

The number one priority when designing/using an infographic is; that the visual is only going to be as effective, engaging and intelligent as the data it presents.

The infographic has allure

Amanda Cox (graphics editor for the New York Times) started the conversation around the need for ‘décor’ in inforgraphics. Signs, symbols and their use play a prominent part in the preferred perception of the visual. The ‘décor’ is the variable that tilts the audience to pay attention.

The ‘data-ink’ ratio is upheld

Upholding the ‘data-ink ratio’ means to ensure that the total amount of ink used to print the whole graphic should be measurable data.

Helpful checklist: Tufte’s rules + 3 more!

Tufte’s rules:

  1. Above all show the data
  2. Maximise the data-ink ratio
  3. Erase non-data ink
  4. Erase redundant ink
  5. Revise and edit

Additional rules:

6. Support initial experimentation to inspire innovation from the data
7. Clear hierarchy (minimise eye movement)
8. Create allure, not overriding rule #2

Follow these rules and you have yourself a successful infographic!

This is the second part of a series of small texts guiding you to the right kind of infographics. Read the next 2min read on what the value could be for your business using an infographic to convey your data.

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