Infographics are often used to take complex data and information and represent them visually in ways that are easier to digest and comprehend. It should be noted that while every infographic makes some rhetorical choices–which facts? in which order? in what style? how much text?–not every visual representation of data would count as an argument for the purposes of this assignment.
Some arguments are explicit:
- Bill Gates is Better than Batman. After Gates was compared to Batman for his philanthropic works, one artist created an infographic breaking down how many lives Gates has saved.
- The Adjunct Crisis looks at why there are so many adjuncts and how it affects higher education.
- The Decline of Detroit. We all know Detroit is in trouble. Here is a clear explanation of why.
While some others are more implicit, trusting the arrangement of facts and images to make the argument for them:
- If U.S. Land Were Divided Like U.S. Wealth. A simple one-shot take on wealth inequality. For this class, I’d want to see some additional information/representations. A similar project is this video about wealth distribution (and its rebuttal, below):
- This was already shown in class, but here’s the global carbon footprint by country represented as an actual footprint. Note that China and the U.S., the two biggest users, make up the ball of the foot and the heel, respectively. Sound engineering!
Do you find one of these approaches more effective than the other? What arguments, if any, might be present in infographics like Superman’s Costume Changes or Distance to Mars or this Guide to Cheese, which appear to simply represent facts? How do they function different from the other inforgraphics above, if at all?
But there are other forms of infographics beyond those that handle lots of complex data. Sometimes infographics are more about showing the relations between things–much like maps (and indeed, many infographics contain maps). For instance, How Would You Like Your Graphic Design? is a simple, clear infographic that makes a point about the intersections between speed, price, and quality–but it contains no data whatsoever.
And not everything needs to look impeccably photoshopped. Take a look at these infographics from Web comic The Oatmeal:
- Why Nicolas Tesla was the Greatest Geek who Ever Lived
- How Much Do Cats Kill?
- Christopher Columbus Was Awful (but this other guy was not)
To what degree can these infographics be discussed as comics? Compared to the more “professional” examples above, do you find them effective? Why or why not?