What are infographics? • They blend text and images to convey information visually —illustrating facts with charts, map or diagrams. • Once considered optional, they are now considered mandatory for effective publication design. • Carve complicated material into bite-sized chunks. • Offer attractive alternatives to gray text. • Add reader appeal
Main types of infographics • Fast facts • Bio boxes • Lists • Checklists • Q & A’s • Surveys and Polls • Charts and graphs • Tables • Timelines • Maps
Fast facts • Distill the who-what-when-where-why of a story into a concise package. • Introduce basic facts without slowing down the text. • Provide supplemental information
Bio boxes • Allows you to quickly profile any person, place or thing. • Can stick or the basic who-what-where-when-why • Or they can spin off into specialized tangents.
Lists • Can be used to itemize tips, trends, winners, warnings and more.
Checklists • Like lists, but are more interactive • Try to make information as accessible and relevant as possible.
Q & A’s • Help to capture the spirit of an interview, making you feel as if you’re eavesdropping on someone else’s conversation
Charts & Graphs • When math gets heavy, charts and graphs come in handy. • They present numerical data in a simple, visual way. • The simpler, the better.
The Bar Chart • Compares two or more items by sizing them as columns parked side by side. • Uses two basic components: • A scale running either horizontally or vertically showing data totals • Bars extending in the same direction representing the items being measured.
Fever or Line Charts • Measures changing quantities over time. • Three components: • A scale running vertically along one edge, measuring amounts • A scale running horizontally along the bottom, measuring time • A jagged line connecting a series of points, showing rising or falling trends.
Pie charts • Compares the parts that make up a whole. • Consists of • A circle that represents 100% of something • Several wedges that divide the circle into smaller percentages. Each “slice” is an accurate proportion.
Tables • Half text, half chart • Stack words and numbers in rows to let readers make side-by-side comparisons. • Usually consist of: • Headings running horizontally across the top of the chart • Categories running vertically down the left side • Lists grouped in columns reading both across and down.
Timelines • Put topics in perspective by illustrating, step by step, how events unfolded.
Maps • Keep maps simple • Keep north pointing “up.” • Add mileage scales whenever possible • Use type consistently • Don’t use type smaller than 8 point. • Decide where you’ll use all caps, italics, boldface
Guidelines to designing infographics • Include the following elements: • A headline or title • A credit line listing the source(s) of data or information • Consistent type styles and sizes • Text type 8 points or larger • Label every line, number, circle and bar • Strive for simplicity
Is this simple? • Excessive slices that are hard to tell apart • Use of separate key to show percentages, rather than labeling or pointing to each individual pie slice
Lastly, edit carefully • Check all the totals, percentages, year • Check spelling • Check grammar • Check details: Do they match what is in the story?
Sources • Copy Editors Handbook for Newspapers • The Newspaper Designer’s Handbook, by Tim Harrower