I must admit that I (wrongly) use the terms Infographic and InfoVis interchangeably. They are different and it’s InfoVis that I am really keen about. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the odd Infographic.
So what’s the difference?
InfoVis or Information Visualisation is a way of representing a data set, usually created by a program, that helps to analyse the data, possibly by representing it in new ways. It is inherently scientific and it can be possible to use the same representation with a new dataset. Good infovis can be revolutionary in the way that data is interpreted.
Infographics are really just an exercise in graphic design. It’s a way of taking a specific set of data and making it look pretty. Usually infographics are bespoke and a new set of data would require a different infographic. Infographics are favoured by news outlets as they look good and give the impression of data analysis. It is possible they help the viewer to better understand the point they are trying to convey. Although frequently the design can be misleading.
Data in an infographic is pre-interpreted. Data in infovis is there for your interpretation. On the web infographics are always just flat images, whereas infovis is often interactive.
Having said all of that here are some infographics that I found recently.
All the money in the world, in one chart. That’s (possibly) more than $1.6 quadrillion. I’ll repeat that: 1,600,000,000,000 dollars.
The world recently reached 7 billion people in the world. On this page you can see every single one of us. One by one.
An infographics of 500 of the exoplanets that have currently been discovered.
An infographic of what happens at absolute zero (-273 degree Celsius) all the way up to absolute hot (1.42 decillion degrees Celsius).