Mon 7 Jun 2010
Loyal Techlife reader Dan contacted me again. (Other readers feel free to follow his lead.) Dan’s company wanted to convey “some information” and he was brainstorming with me and said, “What about a graph?” Now rule 1 of brainstorming is there are no bad ideas. And as I like to add, only bad people who rip on ideas that scare them.
So I listened. You could hear in his voice that this was an idea he was really loving. He started really getting focused on this one idea. About this time I said “info ick.” “Huh?” he replied. I said take your idea one step further, Info-graph-ic. Silence. Then even more silence. “What do you mean?”
“An infographic is a way of displaying more than data in a simple pie chart or a bar graph,” I explained. Now fellow readers, you have the advantage here of being able to see our beautiful illustrations. Dan needed a bit further explanation, and the definition I used was, “An infographic is exactly as it sounds. A set or multiple sets of information that is a graphic designed to inform, entertain and simplify massive amounts of somehow related data.” “I love it!” he burst out.
To illustrate a personal infographic, we directed him and all our Techlife readers to visit Brazil’s ionz personality map creation tool. (Click the flag in the upper right.) With a few simple questions answered by you, nearly 50 points of data are relayed back and graphically represented against the other 66,000 plus people who have participated in these questions. They even let you save your infographic as wallpaper for your computer.
Can anyone create an infographic?
Probably not. To effectively share unique information, you need both the information and someone with skills to help you craft your design. With many of our past columns we often offer a how-to, so this seems like a little departure from our normal advice. It is.
How to create your own infographic
Step 1 – Collect your Data - How many engineers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Step 2 - Review your data’s key findings – Clients love Fed Ex over Bernie’s horse and buggy delivery service.
Step 3 – Pick out how multiple findings might overlap/be juxtaposed. – People who love French Fries also enjoy French Films.
Step 4 – Visually represent your data. – If this icon represents our purple hair customers then this map of Cleveland will be used to show growth of superball sales.
Wow I was wrong, just 4 steps that was easy. Next time…prepare for quick lesson in particle nuclear physics. My sincerest apologies for that last comment to all our friends in the physics department. We all know chemistry has the grand daddy of all cool infographics – The Periodic Table of Elements. Physicists are always lamenting that, but hey maybe now they too can make their own.
If you make a cool infographic, be sure to share it with us. Who will be the first to design an infographic with all the bad jokes this column has compared to useful information?