Review: Infographics: The Power of Visual Storytelling


My Rating: 4/5

About the Book
The authors, founders of design firm Column Five, describe infographics as a relatively new and important form of visual communication in  three areas: 1) science, academics, and business intelligence; 2) commercial; and 3) editorial or news-related. The authors address how to adapt infographics for each of these three specific purposes and how to tailor the information design to the desired outcome. Besides these three focused subject areas, the book includes chapters on distributing content, creating brand-centric infographics, data visualization interfaces, best practices, and the future of infographics.

Authors: Jason Lankow, Josh Ritchie, and Ross Crooks
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Cost: about $22 on Amazon
ISBN: 978-1118314043

What I Liked
The first four chapters are particularly insightful as they address current and recurring perspectives in information design. Effectively, the authors address the concern with scientific and academic perspectives that using artistic methods to convey ideas detracts from the objective nature of information. The theories and perspectives of infographics  are clearly built on knowledgeable insight into communication, information design, and the media. The book is also full of examples (nearly half of the 260-page book is filled with interesting, full-color images). It’s a great read and quite informative if you haven’t ever created an infographic before.

What I Didn’t Like
While several chapters are particularly insightful for addressing how to use infographics and what their varied purposes are, there is relatively little information about best practices for creating them, including little information about how to research information for them. There is a chapter titled “best practices,” but it doesn’t give any specifics about color, shapes, angles, and so forth, and how they might specifically be used to increase clarity, appeal, and retention. The book is a great overview of what infographics are, but it is not a great guide to putting theory into practice and actually creating an infographic. Lastly, the examples that were used, as far as I could tell, all came from design firm Column Five. A more insightful book would have drawn from infographics designed by a variety of firms.