Infographics have experienced an explosive growth online in the last three years with the keyword seeing a 20x increase in search volume according to Google trends. With über cool studios such as Pop Chart Labs offering beautiful posters infographics are entering our homes and our everyday lives as a form of graphic art.
I love classic data visualization which is a celebrated and well respected form of graphic design. Unfortunately due to the prolific rise of infographic spam online many people in the SEO world have turned away from the medium due to the dire quality of the cheap link building campaigns that infographics have inspired. So when i was asked to review the new book from Cool Infographics I was very pleased to get a first look.
Infographic directories such as Cool Infographics were trail blazers in delivering a showcase of high-quality examples of design and very quickly off the back of this directory growth went wild as the trend became popular as marketers were willing to pay for placements (please note that CI doesn’t accept cash for placements). Cool Infographics is undoubtedly one of the leading independent authority showcases world-wide and it is with great anticipation Randy Krum has just launched a book: Cool Infographics: Effective Communication with Data Visualization and Design. I am very pleased to announce I have one copy of the book to give away. See details at the end of this article.
Now, I have always considered data visualization and infographics as one and the same but not so according Krum – his defintion being:
Krum clearly shows a real passion for the graphic medium and has extensive experience designing infographics. Surprisingly he doesn’t come from a design background but holds a degree in mechanical engineering. His love of crunching data and wanting to visualize the patterns that he could see led him to begin designing infographics as the internal graphics departments where he worked didnt have the time. For someone who doesn’t.
The book predominantly covers:
- The science of infographics: the growing information overload and the rise of big data and why infographics work through visual input such as: Pattern recognition, The language of context,The picture superiority effect.
- Infographics and SEO: trying to explain SEO within a few pages is an overly ambitious task but this chapter tackles how infographics can be used as ‘link bait’ to secure links and has an overview on how to promote and place your graphic.
- Infographic resumes (or CVs as we say in the UK): a current trend to stand out and catch the attention of a prospective employer by showing some creative pizazz. Some great examples.
- Internal confidential infographics: how internal communication can be improved by visualizing company data such as: sales and profit data, business process, research data and used in presentations or corporate documentation. An interesting chapter on a subject you might not consider.
- Designing infographics: possibly the best chapter in the book and a good resource for anyone who wants to either design infographics or brief another designer. Contains invaluable advice about how to find a topic, create a story, create accurate graph data, use company logos, copyright issues and credit sources. Designing an effective infographic is a lot more complex than most people realise – best illustrated by the lack of quality seen online. Two pullouts I want to share from this section:
“Design matters. But design is not about decoration or about ornamentaiton. Design is about making communication as easy and clear for the viewer as possible” Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen
- Infographics resources: a useful list of tools to help create graphics and sources to find data.
I highly recommend this book if you have an interest in infographics or work with them in your agency as it can help to understand how to create something of value and to better brief your creative. If you are a creative there are lots of great tips and plenty of visual examples – the perfect balance.
I did also previously love ‘Information is Beautiful‘ by David McCandless but that is just a visual reference book.
Cool Infographics: Effective Communication with Data Visualization and Design, offers practical advice and to me has much more value.
Update: Thank you for all the entries. Ned Poulter was our winner selected – you can see a picture of him with his new book below.