Please note: not all images are mine  – please click image for source

You can see more of my infographic and data visualization work here



In 10 WAYS TO USE INFOGRAPHICS: PART 1, I talked about using infographics for linkbait, journalism, article illustrations, annual reports and postcards/posters. This time I’ll be looking at video inserts, explanation, audience analysis, adverts and presentations

Video – bring the numbers to life

Screenshot of NY Times swimming animated infographic It was inevitable that the next stage of business demand would be animated infographics.

This brings in a whole new dimension to the statistics, and requires a different set of skills: animation, use of audio etc. This example, by the New York Times, shows the statistics behind Olympic mens swimming.

Click the image right to watch the animation.

This animation starts with a simple bar chart. Each bar is then turned into a swimming lane, turned on it’s side, add some fantastic design, movement and an audio track and this is a quality tool for showing the facts. There is also the option of animating the visualizations themselves – here is a great example.

Explanation – simplify a complex/unfamiliar situation We’ve all seen company organization charts – normally a tree shape, with a lone Chief Executive at the top, middle management, and the rest of us at the bottom. These are designed to simplify a complex organization and make sure   employees know where they fit in the “big picture” By why stop there? You could use information design / infographics to explain a whole host of useful knowledge to current and new employees.

  • Office staff overview – gender, structure, age, nationality shown with “person icons”
  • Office seating map and contact details
  • Office facility map – location of WC’s, kitchen, printers, recycling, water fountain
  • Local transport information
  • Company overview – map of other offices, financial information
  • Information flow / work flow – use a flow diagram or map
I’d love to have a go at designing a series of useful induction infographics … let me know if this appeals to your company.

Audience Analysis: know your visitors

Music festivals, venues, clubs and pubs all generate a huge amount of data.

Whether its ticket sales, audience location (from ticket order postcode), social media stats (RT’s, mentions and likes) and amount spent.

The map to the left (click map for original) was created Zarino Zappia from Scraperwiki at the recent Devlab event in Birmingham. Using data from the south asian arts organisation Sampad, the map shows the location of the audience (from ticket order postcode) and location of the events.

This shows exactly where Sampad has an impact and which areas could potentially benefit from more promotion.

Taking this a stage further – we could add socio-economic and ethnicity data from the census. This would show whether those areas were populated with Sampad’s target audience (as an South Asian arts organisation).

For other organisations a combination social data, ticket sales and events would be a great way to show where your brand is making an impact, and if you are failing to target any relevant audiences.

Adverts – attract your audience

Banner ads are still a big part of web content and print – but seasoned internet users are adopting more ways to filter them out either technologically (with ad blockers for online) or by simply ignoring them.

Look at most banner ads and they adopt a traditional design – text, photographics or logos.

What’s stopping your company using a bright, clear infographic instead of a traditional banner ad? Take a strong statistic from your portfolio, make the image colourful and attractive, and it will stand out on a page of traditional content.

Presentations – impress your clients/your class

Business presentations traditionally feature charts – line charts, pie charts and bar charts  – showing the crucial statistics for your company.

These tend to be lifted from spreadsheet software and pasted into the presentation software – uninspiring to say the least. Try rethinking HOW you show your data. Whether you are presenting to your Board of Directors, your entire staff or a room full of children – everyone responds to clear, visually stimulating graphics.

Revisit the list above (under the header “Explanation – simplify a complex/unfamiliar situation”). All that corporate information could be re-purposed for a presentation.

  • Want to quickly show where your company does business? How about a shaded map
  • Want to show trade routes or other geographical movement? How about a map with lines and arrows?
  • Showing personal statistics – people icons are an easy way to represent people count
  • Teachers could use infographics to explain history timelines, maps to show world events and charts to show population increases. With the reliance on graphic imagery as opposed to text,

Even if you don’t have a graphic designers flare for icons and imagery, or the know-how to fire up Photoshop or Illustrator, some free software like Tableau Public could help you spice up your charts and come up with something pretty special. —————— Caroline Beavon is an infographic designer and data journalist. Contact by email with work or collaboration opportunities