Infographics have been around for a while now; perhaps a lot longer than you realise. Some of the first known infographics were created over 230 years ago in the 1750’s by Scottish inventor William Playfair, who used them to visually quantify data published by scientists of the time.
While infographics have certainly evolved since Playfair’s time, they are still used for the same fundamental purpose today: to condense large quantities of data into easy to interpret, visually pleasing illustrations. Or are they?
With the rise of content marketing, countless infographics have hit the web. Created by brands and individuals alike, these infographics span almost every subject imaginable, from serial killers, to soy sauce and everything in-between.
Naturally, marketers have jumped on the trend, seizing the opportunity to earn brand awareness via this popular, highly-shareable medium. But as with all trends, it was only a matter of time before someone got it wrong. Like a bad 80’s perm, the once-popular infographic seemed to slowly fall out of favour, now being labelled “mainstream” and “passé” by the design elite. And with numerous articles dedicated to curating the worst of the worst, it’s enough to make even the most discerning marketer think twice before putting their logo on an infographic and sending it into cyberspace for all to see.
While there is still a time and place for infographics in the world of content marketing, anyone looking to create one should aim to follow a few simple guidelines to avoid a branding nightmare down the line.
Alternatively, marketers could consider creating something different entirely. Many brands have added coding to the mix, taking the humble infographic from a static image to an interactive webgraphic by adding multiple new dimensions to the format. Here are a couple of the best we’ve seen:
Webgraphics transform a passive audience into active participants, creating new opportunities for personalisation and data capture. And judging by their success so far, it seems that webgraphics might turn out to be an even bigger success than their motionless predecessor, the infographic.
Do you agree that infographics are taking a new direction? Feel free to share some of the best (or worst!) you’ve come across in the comments section below.
Nikita Baynes is an Account Coordinator at BCM