The One Where We Geek Out Over Infographics


When I came across a feature called 50 great examples of infographics, I knew that it was time to call on Flavorpill’s resident design guru, Jonathan Rahmani (who you might remember from such Flavorwire hits as Making Eyes at that Font Across the Room) for a little chat about his favorites. That’s not exactly what went down. Grab the nearest stylus and watch him try to explain basic good design principles to me — a certified non-visual learner — after the jump. And be sure to weigh in on your favorite of the 50 in the comments.

Caroline: OK. So as a layperson, I know which ones I like. But I’m wondering as a designer which ones you like the most…

graftographer: I like the pretty ones.

graftographer: Ha

Caroline: My favorite is the last one, the Trilogy Meter. But that might be because I’ve written about it before. And it’s about movies.

graftographer: Nice. That one is very easy to understand

Caroline: I also like the Feltron Report.

graftographer: Nicholas [Feltron] does a pretty sweet job on the infographics.

Caroline: How do you designer guys figure out how to balance the pretty with information?

graftographer: I guess I would say it’s dependent on a few things. What problem you’re trying to solve.

graftographer: Who you’re trying the solve it for (audience).

graftographer: And how much information you really want to get across/

graftographer: You may just want to get people’s attention and there may be one simple idea you want them to understand.

graftographer: I think things can be a bit more “pretty” in that case and less info heavy.

graftographer: or

graftographer: the opposite

graftographer: You could have tons of info that really just adds to the texture of the info graphic, but would really require a good look to fully understand/take in. In most cases, people aren’t going to give that much time to something.

graftographer: Unless it’s their job, in which case you may not want to worry about making it so “pretty” and simply make it as useable as possible.

Caroline: So does one of these pop out to you as a really good infographic? Or is that all super subjective?

graftographer: There are a few that I simply find beautiful — and it’s hard not to be drawn to those. I like the “dollar sign” and “Life Map” is nice. It seems to be pretty understandable/usable as well as being pretty.

Caroline: What about the idea of making the viewer do a little work? It seems kind of counterintuitive to do that with infographics.

graftographer: The idea being that those who do take the time to understand it, the information will sit with them longer.

graftographer: Nicholas’s Feltron Report utilizes a beautiful balance of typography and charts/diagrams.

graftographer: That definitely makes his work a stand out in the field.

graftographer: Often times info graphics are too reliant on images. There is a lot to be said for words — people (at least those who speak the language) and read and immediately understand, rather than searching for a key or connecting dots.