Not even the experts agree. Despite sharing a common goal – to create solutions that meet their respective communication objectives – designers fight over the most basic notion in information design: what does and what doesn’t constitute an infographic?
Among the different approaches to visualization, one design element stands out in dividing the schools of thought: decoration.
Business intelligence expert Stephen Few sums up his disdain for the ornamentation of infographics: “When visualizations are used primarily for artistic purposes, they are not what we call data visualizations or infographics, which are terms that have been in use for a long time with particular meanings.”
Another highly visible figure, David McCandless, has popularized artistic visualizations and introduced data as a storytelling category to a wider audience. He describes his work:
“I love taking all kinds of information – data, numbers, ideas, knowledge – and making them into images. When you visualize information in this way, you can start to see the patterns and connections that matter.”