Data Visualization Vs. Infographics
While infographics and data visualization are terms for content used to convey information visually, there are specific uses and best practices for each medium. This post will expand upon the differences between infographics and data visualization, as well as offer some actionable tips.
In most instances, data visualization refers primarily to the specific techniques of representing data as visual information—graphs, plots, and charts. Consisting purely of data and design, successful data visualization helps clarify information by giving an overview of the implications of your research. Because data visualization conveys information about a fixed set of numbers, you should focus your design on the data itself. While visuals are necessary to illustrate trends, ensure that your illustrations, if any, do not distract your viewers. Doing so will strengthen your overall message and allow your audience to draw their own conclusions.
Combining illustrations, facts, and text, infographics often tell a visual story. Though infographics may use data visualization, data visualization is not always an infographic. When designed effectively, infographics communicate a subjective narrative or overview of a topic using illustrations to drive visual storytelling. As infographics convey multiple ideas, you should design for visual appeal and overall reader comprehension. Because infographics guide your audience towards conclusions, your design should complement the visual story you’re trying to tell.
When Should You Use Infographics or Data Visualization?
There are many applications for both data visualizations and infographics. Remember, not every will apply for your specific need so be sure to look at your goals to help determine which is the most appropriate. To help out, we’ve rounded up some effective strategies for each below.
- Newsletters: Generally shorter than a blog post, but longer than a social media post, newsletters are perfect for data visualization. You can include some data visualization in an email newsletter to feature your company’s unique findings, statistics, or status.
- White Papers & eBooks: Include data visualization to help prove the points you make in the document to influence your readers.
- Annual Reports: Whether you’re collecting your year’s greatest hits for your internal team, or wanting to share your wins with your clients, you can create an illustrated annual report, complete with data visualization, to provide an overview of the past year, success stories, and analysis.
Trying to create more data-driven narratives ? Check out our post, “Storytelling Through Data Visualization”.
- Blog Posts: Because blog posts are written for a specific purpose, publish your infographic on your blog, or segment it into pieces for supporting the text in your post.
- Case Studies: Paired with a study of a particular context, an infographic can provide engaging visuals and succinctly summarize a lengthy report, offering valuable insights to your readers.
- Marketing Content: If you want to build greater awareness of your brand, consider distributing your infographic across your channels, by separating it into short sections. Post these on social as thumbnails. Increased social sharing can result in widespread awareness of your brand.
Want to learn about leveraging your infographics? Read more in our post, “4 Ways to Stretch Your Infographic Content”.
How your information is perceived depends on your visual choices, so opt for a visual strategy that complements your insights, whether pure data or a mix of visualization and narrative.