Overcomplicated: When it Comes to Infographics Sometimes Less is More

Infographics are great for providing a visual supplement to data – It adds a level of understanding that cannot be achieved through numbers and text alone. But when conducting research and choosing what information to include it can be difficult to strike a balance between readability and content. So what should designers think to include when creating an infographic.

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Circular layouts are often a difficult way to depict data in the way that they often lead to confusion. This example of vacations above is very busy with multiple different data points in addition to another map in the bottom right. There are so many data points for users to consider that it is easy to get lost in the wealth of information and difficult to make any meaningful connections.

qe2spread Again, this graphic tries to include a vast amount of different information that leads to confusion and potentially apathy of users who are overwhelmed by the busy layout.

In hindsight, the author of this infographic believes these two elements capture the essence of the project, comparing the capacity and sizes of historical ships and a map of their maiden voyages.

The less is more approach can be an effective way to grab a reader’s attention and direct their focus towards the essence of what a particular infographic is trying to get across without all the noise and distraction of extraneous elements that in many cases only cause confusion.

Source: http://www.johngrimwade.com/blog/2017/02/23/over-complex/

Instructional Graphics: Focusing on What’s Important

Instruction manuals are commonplace in everyone’s daily life. Unfortunately, not all instruction manuals are created equal and some cause difficulty and confusion. Graphics are an important supplement to any set of instructions, but what are the key components that add strength to a set of instructions?

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Simple colours and an exploded view add to a user’s concept of how each individual component fits together.

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Translucency allows the user to see inside of a complex carburetor system. Colours indicate fuel, air and exhaust respectively, while arrows provide an understanding of the flow and overall process taking place within.

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The black outline of the ski boot show its static form while a translucent green overlay supplemented with an arrow and angle measurement allows the user to understand the design of the boot allowing for flex in both forward and backward directions.

The ability of a graphic to depict how system works is dependant on how well it depicts the key aspects of a system. Use of colour, transparency and direction are key factors to consider when creating an instructional graphic.

Source: https://www.gregmaxson.com/portfolio/

Data Viz: Confusion vs Clarity

The world is full of data. More and more data is becoming visualized through graphics with varying degrees of effectiveness. So how important is it to ensure that a visualization gets the point across?

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An example of the confusion that arises from a poorly thought out data visualization. The graph is attempting to show how DUI rates spiked after the departure of Uber/Lyft. Meaningless colours and lack of visual hierarchy cause more confusion than clarity.

download (1)Getting better. This visualization is a simple graph, but it lacks explanation, colour and context.

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Got it! This example provides clarity through hierarchy provided by colour that emphasizes the spike in rates after the departure of Uber and Lyft.

Source: http://www.storytellingwithdata.com/blog/2017/3/22/so-what

White Space: How much is too much?

White space is an essential design principle to consider when creating a document or design. It helps to reduce visual clutter that comes from an overly busy page and keeps designs looking clean. But how does a designer know how much is too much?

Here are some examples of good white space at work:

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Business Card – Bravo Store

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Pamphlet – Gallerie Voss

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Document – Quattro Esposizioni

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Signage – Art Gallery

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Packaging – The Base Collective

The use of lots of white space creates breathing room for a design to stand out and be impactful. It is often difficult to leave significant portions of a page blank, but adds strength and focuses the eye on the layout of graphics and typography that is remains.

Helvetica: Clean or Cliché

Helvetica is one of the most widely used typefaces of our time. So much that it appears in everything from logos, documents, advertisements and in film. But has its iconic design become tired and overused?

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Signage – Parking Garage Wayfinding

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Music – The Life of Pablo by Kanye West

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Packaging – Häefele Homeware Products

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Web – Daytum App

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Document – Ivan Picelj Monograph

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Logo – Crate & Barrel

The typeface portrays a crisp, clean and modern image. It’s use for a modern look is widespread throughout design culture and perhaps has led to overuse. This presents designers with a challenge to find a more unique typeface to stay a step ahead of the curve.