USAToday used to be my guilty pleasure. Because really… degreed, educated people read the WSJ or NYTimes, or Newsweek — undoubtedly all excellent examples of fine journalism, but they focus more on words, not so much on visuals.
You might say that USAT taps into the lowest-common-denominator, but I don’t think that gives them enough credit. We are visual creatures. It’s our most dominant sense by an exponential degree, and they exploit that to the fullest. Now, this isn’t meant to be an advert for USAT I just think they deserve props for being one of the first to include infographics as a major design element.
Infographics have come a long way in just the past couple of years, although apparently not far enough to get a definition in Webster’s. In any case, they are finally being appreciated for the storehouse of information they convey. In fact communicating a lot of information, or very complicated information, is almost always better served by an infographic than a feature story on somebody’s front page. As an example check out this awesome — because no other word describes it — infographic called ‘Death & Taxes: 2011.’
Can you imagine reading the government report on this?
Way back many years ago, when I worked for a publication, the infographics were my favorite thing to do. Editorial-smeditorial, just give me some facts and a book of clipart, and BAM… call me a designer. Now, on the odd occasion when I get the opportunity to flex my modest design chops, I always look to infographics for inspiration. Here’s another example that I think is pretty awesome.
Note this is a very small portion of the entire infographic, and after studying this I’m still not sure I understand all the nuances of the Apple vs. Adobe feud, but at least I can get my head around it, and I have some facts I can grab on to.