A Good Infographic Is Worth A Thousand Words

INFOGRAPHICS are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly.

They predate the web by about 32,000 years. Cave paintings from 30,000 BC could easily be called the first infographics, depicting animals and other resources in the surrounding area. As visual representations of data, they’re definitely infographics.

In the 1200’s, the Italian mathematician Fibonacci demonstrates the properties of the golden ratio. In mathematics, the numbers in the following integer sequence are called the Fibonacci sequence, and characterized by the fact that every number after the first two is the sum of the two preceding ones: 1,1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55… You can see how the diagrammatic infographic came bring clarity at a quick glance.

Fast forward to 19th and 20th century policies around proper care. Florence Nightingale was a trailblazing figure in nursing who greatly affected policy change with her many deeds, but notably one of the critical shifts came as a result of her crafting an infographic demonstrating that most of the soldiers in the Crimean War hadn’t died in combat. They had died of “preventable diseases”—precisely the sort caused by terrible hygiene. “Clean up the hygiene and you’d save lives”.

The infographic called the “Rose diagram” showed deaths for one month of the war, growing larger if the deaths increased, and color-coded to show the causes of death. The queen and Parliament could see at a glance the importance of hygiene; they quickly set up a sanitary commission to improve conditions, and death rates fell.

In the mid 1970s, along comes Edward Rolf Tufte an American statistician and professor emeritus at Yale University noted for his writings on information design and as a pioneer in the field of data visualization (infographics). His 1982 book titledVisual Display” became a commercial success and secured his place as the information expert. Tuftes expertise is in the presentation of informational graphics such as charts and diagrams, and some very interesting translations of data.INFOGRAPHICS are created here at Thinking Caps Design. They are in our DNA and we use them as tools to demonstrate process, and to communicate ideas and engagement with the end user. We love the translation of information, data, and diagrams through graphics. Some infographics are conveyed in a sketch that supports our internal research and studies, while some of are more polished and become the end product that helping venues communicate effective wayfinding throughout public spaces.

As a society we encounter infographics daily – at a favorite music venue, riding public transportation, attending an event at a conference center, walking across a college campus, or picking up an information brochure in a hospital. Whatever the environment is our studio creates and delivers infographics straight from our studio to the client, which in turn uses it as a tool to communicate to their internal team or for the improvement of the end user’s experience.

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