Book Review-Infographics: The Power of Visual Storytelling

One of the problems I have with my blog – and I’m keenly aware – is that its text based. While I insert the occasional graphic, because of the logistics of the medium it’s difficult to get the level of images in the stories. I also find that I’m often trying to convey complex items where words aren’t always the best choice. That’s why I try to introduce bullets, tables, etc., to help with the comprehension. The ultimate solution is to use Infographics – something that requires design skills that I don’t have. So when I started reading Infographics: The Power of Visual Storytelling, I knew I wouldn’t likely be able to produce the end result. I’d have to be content with just knowing what made a good infographic and a few tips I could use.

The “big rock” division that the book lays out is whether the intent of the Infographic is for explorative reasons – or narrative reasons. Explorative are more minimalist in their representation and tends to convey concepts and relationships where narrative tends to deliver much more information. It informs and entertains.

The book is full of examples of infographics – and a great deal of information about how they were formed. However, I think the book for me had three keys. First, is an idea that there are three key reasons to do an infographic – one for appeal, the second is for comprehension, and the third is retention (of the information). They break out three key markets (academic/scientific, marketing, and editorial) along these three dimensions as shown below.

I also found the idea of the quality of an infographic as being defined by it’s beauty, soundness, and utility quite useful, however, the best part was probably the process for creating an infographic:

  1. Idea
  2. Research
  3. Content
  4. Story
  5. Design

These five steps are the approach that the authors use to get good results from their infographics projects – and they’re probably a great idea for you to use as a starting point as well.

If you’re trying to communicate visually, pickup Infographics.