February 16, 2017

REALITY REALLY? INFOGRAPHIC VERSUS PHOTO


The first infographic was published April 7, 1806 in the London Times. It displayed a floor plan. A plan of an apartment where a murder happened. And the Times published the drawing because photos had not been available as they would have been too expensive.

Today infographics are not a makeshift for photos anymore. Oh no. Since the last ten years the creativity around pie and bar charts exploded. Big and new sources for data nurture more and more visual displays of facts and figures.
Graphic artists fought hard for awareness, recognition and appreciation for their profession. They fought hard for more and more media space. Infographic artists are seen pari passu to photographer.

But there is a clear difference between graphics and photo. Not surprisingly. But what´s this difference about? Both – graphics and photos - strive for attention. Both give you more than information. Both delight us as recipient with visual storytelling.

„A photo keeps record of reality. An infographic can reinterpret reality. So we need both.” says Stefan Fichtel, founder of Berlin agency „ixtract“ in an article in Sueddeutsche Zeitung about the rise of infographics in media.

Hieram Henriquez has done a brilliant analysis on the “Importance of Infographics in Journalim”. His work from 2014 is worth a read: The Importance of Explanatory Infographics in Journalism

Therefore the art and profession to create relevant infographics asks for a complex set of skills as Steve Dueness, graphic director of the New York Times explains: “My point is that information graphics are not just art. They're a combination of art and journalism and a little bit of science. A background in art won't hurt. It helps if you can draw, but it's also important that you are a fast researcher, and you know the ins and outs of a variety of software packages or programming languages." (Photo: https://unsplash.com/)