People are tired of bad infographics, so make good ones

Smashing Magazine | Gizmodo | How Interactive Design
The Internet fell in love with giant infographics for a while, but now a backlash is building. Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo pleads with us all to "Stop Already With [Freaking] Infographics":

Over the last year, the explosion of these abominations called "infographics" has gotten overwhelming. The number of design-deficient morons making these is so ridiculous that you can fill an island with them. I'd do that. And then nuke it.

The fact is that these monstrosities are not infographics. These atrocities are crimes against good taste and everything that infographics really should be.

Grace Dobush raises some specific objections, including that infographics aren't search-engine optimized, are often unreadable on smartphones and are inaccessible to the visually impaired. Today, Amy Balliett of Smashing Magazine offers a detailed walkthrough of "The Do’s And Don’ts Of Infographic Design."

A few "show, don't tell" tips:

  • Go beyond bar graphs and pie charts. Make something unique.
  • Typography should not be a crutch. Don't just use big type or fancy fonts to show off numbers. Visualize the data.
  • Do use smart typography for eye-catching titles and headings.

When it comes time to actually build a graphic:

  • Give yourself at least an hour to wireframe, sketch and plan the structure.
  • Try to avoid the vertical-scrolling, single-column layout by structuring your sections differently.
  • Tell a story (beginning, middle and end).
  • Plan the "hook" the dominant visual element that will catch the eye and be most memorable.

Related: NYT developer: Word clouds are bad data journalism

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    Jeff Sonderman

    Jeff Sonderman is the deputy director of the American Press Institute, helping to lead its use of research, tools, events, and strategic insights to advance and sustain journalism.


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