Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Infographics - the end of a love affair?

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When I first started seeing infographics I loved them. From chortling at the chucklesome 'Venn That Tune' book in Rick Astley's toilet to lusting after the VW camper in the Red Riding Hood infographic video (which you really should watch, if you haven't already).

When Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted I was in love with infographics. As a pedant, the volcanoes Vs. Planes infographic was a delight as it was not only informative, beautiful and topical, but also horribly wrong. We pedants commented in our thousands and eventually, after three more iterations, a corrected version was released. our relationship couldn't have been better. But then things went awry, leading us to where we are today.

'What can have caused such a dramatic split?' I hear you eagerly enquire. Well, I shall tell you. Yes, I do have to, now shut up and listen.

In the beginning we had some lovely designers producing some innovative work. such people as Flowing Data, Information is Beautiful and QRarts were making information into something we wanted to look at and to learn from. Sadly, everyone wanted to look at them, they became excellent link bait and, as so often happens, every traditional PR agency who want to pretend that they can do ePR jumped on the bandwagon and ruined it.

Where I had been salivating over the quite wonderful Drug Deaths piece in the guardian, I was suddenly faced with adverts, even infographics in adverts for infographics. Now I actually believe that a few diagrams are a wonderful thing, but there is such a thing as overkill.

So, what happened between infographics and me? How did things go so badly wrong? Let me explain through a medium I know you will understand.

In summary: My red pen colours in better than my blue one.


Dug said...

'shop the contrast up a bit on those images will you? It is supposed to be a white-board, not a taupe-board.

Infographics should cite credible sources of information. Infographics without source citation are no more credible than "My mate in the pub says...".

Lord Manley said...

Whilst I agree with the sentiment, I am too idle.

Also, my boss is a bastard and won't stop giving me work to do.

Dug said...

Better hope he doesn't see this then.