Do You Need Infographics?
In the past decade, infographics have become ubiquitous in the worlds of journalism and marketing. They have been used for everything from explaining complex statistics a making a case for a social cause, to demonstrating the strengths of a product or its advantage over a competitor. As a marketing agency in Philadelphia, we’ve had many clients ask us whether they need an infographic for a particular campaign, and we feel it would be helpful to go over why infographics work and when they’re helpful—or harmful.
Infographics are a very post-modern innovation. While there’s a long history of visual aids being used to help clarify information, for most of history they consisted of simple illustrations or basic data visualizations. By the 20th century, more complex graphics came into vogue, but it was truly the digital age that brought the infographic into its prime. Marketing agencies in Philadelphia and around the world noticed a profound shift in how data was presented as digital images and computer-assisted graphic designs became possible.
This change was more than just a trend. People have always had a hard time understanding complex concepts that are presented only verbally. Going through lists of numbers simply isn’t how our brains absorb patterns and relationships. Now that graphic artists can quickly create colorful, creative representations of data, we have a new tool for communicating messages: the infographic.
Used properly, infographics offer a number of benefits:
- They present statistics in a way that people can easily relate to
- They draw the eye to the page, helping engage the reader and keep their attention
- They summarize a large amount of information in a very small space
- They decrease the time it takes to communicate a concept
However, not every story, presentation or campaign needs an infographic. In fact, sometimes an infographic can even be a liability. Infographics are best when one of three factors is involved:
- You need to communicate a number of different statistics, not just one or two
- You’re presenting information that has complex variables, more than a simple pie chart can represent
- A graphic will not just make information visual, but help make something clear that wouldn’t be obvious in written form
When an infographic is used for small, simple pieces of information (like “55% of marketing agencies love infographics”) it can fall flat, because the visual medium isn’t adding anything to the message. But where you have complex concepts to communicate, an infographic will almost always help.
How does your company use infographics?