I love infographics. I wish I could present all my research via infographics.
Sadly, I'm not that talented (though I am pretty proud of my Data Stories and work with a fantastic graphic designer to make my ugly sketches into beautiful reality).
But I do try to look at how others present data, and sometimes, when I'm lucky, something clicks and I figure out a better way of presenting my research to you.
With this post, I'll start sharing some of my favorite (and not-so-favorite) inspiration sources for infographics. Short reviews of books (below are three to start) and, from time to time, specific infographics I run across that I think are fabulous for some reason or other.
I have three goals here:
1 - to help you gain a better appreciation of infographics, because if the story it is trying to tell is beautifully clear, you can be sure that a lot of hard work went into it;
2 - to help train your eye and mind to consider the infographic medium as one that museums could make far better use of in exhibitions; and
3 - to have fun with this, because I find joy in a beautiful in finding new meaning in data, and infographics are a fun way of gaining those insights. I know, I'm weird.
Now, three quick reviews.
1 - The Best American Infographics. My favorite source. This yearbook, edited by Gareth Cook, brings together infographics from across many media, all in one handy book. Yearly. The styles vary widely, and the quantity of data presented also vary widely. For these reasons, when I am struggling to visualize something, I pick these books up first. Citation: Cook, Gareth (ed.). The Best American Infographics. New York: Mariner Books, 2013 - 2016.
2 - Knowledge is Beautiful. All of the infographics in this book are by the author, David McCandless. He does a great job of creating data-rich graphics in ways that are fairly easy to process. I don't tend to pack so many data points in my infographics as he does, but when I need to, this is the book I flip through to think about the best way of presenting it clearly. Citation: McCandless, David. Knowledge is Beautiful. New York: Harper Design, 2014.
3 - Dear Data. I had high hopes for this book. Two graphic designers pick a topic a week for a year, collect data, then visually present it to each other via postcard. As a concept, great. As an inspiration book, not so much. They tried to do too much in their infographics, and trying to decipher them was simply too much work. No inspiration here. Still, a cool project. Skip. Citation: Lupi, Giorgia, and Posavec, Stefanie. Dear Data. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2016.
If you come across an infographic you think works particularly well, send it my way at susie (at) wilkeningconsulting (dot) com!
I respectfully acknowledge that I live and work on the lands of the Duwamish people, whose ancestors have lived here for generations. I thank them for their ongoing care of this land, and I endeavor to help museums bring forward a more complete and inclusive history and culture in their work.