Monday, November 21, 2011

How to Create your Own [INFOGRAPHIC]

Although communication through the use of imagery has been around since the advent of hieroglyphics, infographics have experienced an unprecedented resurgence in the past couple of years. 

Information graphics, or Infographics, are visual devices that are used to communicate and simplify complex information. Infographics surround us in our daily lives; most frequently seen as traffic signs, subway maps, and in the news and media as shorthand visuals to communicate the weather and complicated stats and figures. 


As Randy Krum of coolinfographics.com reminded our class in a recent guest lecture, the human brain is a pattern recognition machine.  As marketers navigate an increasingly complex media landscape and battle for decreasing consumer attention bandwidth, visually impactful tactics such as infographics will continue to grow in importance. 

Successful infographics must: be visually appealing, offer relevant content and disseminate knowledge. Steps described here guide you on creating your own infographic; other great resources include:

  • Visual.ly is an infographic search engine and community that offers a plug and play tool for users to create and share their own infographics.
  • Many Eyes is a data visualization tool from IBM that allows users to upload data and produce graphics representations for others to view and comment upon.
  • Google Public Data is another great resource that allows users to create visualizations of existing public data.
  • Vizualize.me allows users to convert their resumes into visual CV.  Some might argue that this is just a passing trend, while others argue that this is critical for differentiation and a representation of the future

Though today's infographics are often static images, emerging technologies are creating a world of dynamic and more powerful visual communication. According to Fast Company, the following three trends in digital technology will define the future of infographics as we know it:
1. HTML5
2. Real-Time Data Visualization
3. User-Interface Design
Just as Hans Rosling told the history of the world in three minutes, marketers will tell their brand story in ways that we're only beginning to understand. 

Natalie Johnson@nj_tweets M.S. Candidate 2011, Integrated Marketing Communications, Northwestern University

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