What makes a good infographic? Well, obviously it has to communicate. Communication is central to graphic design, which is why I subscribe to Ohio State's nomenclature and prefer to think of it as "visual communication design." I read an article last week condemning infographics as a whole for not providing more accurate or thorough data, and that's not the point. Infographics are meant to be seen quickly, with the most important chunk of information understood within moments. They should also have a second, maybe even a third tier of information that provides more clarity the deeper you dig. But they're not meant to replace spreadsheets, or peer-reviewed articles. They're meant to increase awareness and affect understanding. They also must look nice, but above that, their style should be relevant to the data being shown.
Case in point, this is an infographic I just put together for the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, a local community orchestra that has recently finished a decade of massive artistic and financial growth, and is showing no signs of stopping. It seems there may be some confusion from the BSO's audience regarding ticket prices, donations, and the cost of the orchestra. This piece outlines a breakdown of the BSO's income and applies it to the cost of the average concert in order to alleviate this and bring some transparency to the audience.
My mentor in information design, R. Brian Stone, once explained that the only truly appropriate pie chart is one that illustrates amounts of pie left to eat. With that in mind, I created a diagram using the tropes of a pie chart, but adapted it to fit the organizational structure of an orchestra, as that setup would be inherently familiar to most of the BSO's audience.
See more infographics here.
PS: I promise, one of these days I'll post about something other than music ensembles!
This is where we post news, announcements, product launches, and musings on the design process. All posts written by Erik Evensen unless otherwise noted.
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