Data Visualization And Infographics To Tell Your Story


Visualization: Connecting Distinct Dots (Seed Magazine: The Universe in 09)

Data visualization and infographics (related) are powerful ways to communicate data, stats or information that most communications pros never even consider. And yet in a world increasingly saturated with data and information, they are a potent way to tell your story, break through the clutter and even persuade people to action.

A heavy bank of figures is grievously wearisome to the eye, and the popular mind is as incapable of drawing any useful lessons from it as of extracting sunbeams from cucumbers.

—Arthur Briggs Farquhar and Henry Farquhar, 1891

Your marketing arm would be remiss not to have a designer on-hand or partner capable of creative and attractive visualizations as part of a larger content mix. Such content attracts links, traffic and buzz – all essential for success in a society where no one has a monopoly on attention. After aggregating the web’s most popular viral images over the last few years, it’s obvious that infographics in particular are an archetype of successful web content.

Savvy digital publications have caught on to the popularity of data visualizations/infographics and are using them to great success. Most marketers are not quite there, and many attempting to create successful images forget there are two elements necessary: compelling data and creative imagery. And not creative in the corporate art department kind of creative.  Creative as in developed by a true artist who has a unique style to their work.

As explained by Smashing Magazine editor Vitaly Friedman:

Data presentation can be beautiful, elegant and descriptive. There is a variety of conventional ways to visualize data – tables, histograms, pie charts and bar graphs are being used every day, in every project and on every possible occasion. However, to convey a message to your readers effectively, sometimes you need more than just a simple pie chart of your results. In fact, there are much better, profound, creative and absolutely fascinating ways to visualize data. Many of them might become ubiquitous in the next few years.

Combining data — which can be dry, with creativity — which most companies and marketers lack, can be challenging. This explains why unique and compelling visualizations are an underused, yet effective tactic to achieve rapid growth.

Bonus: for inspiration, below are 5 blogs that frequently feature data visualizations and infographics to subscribe to:

Flowing Data

Flowing Data explores how designers, statisticians, and computer scientists are using data to understand ourselves better – mainly through data visualization. Money spent, reps at the gym, time you waste, and personal information you enter online are all forms of data. How can we understand these data flows? Data visualization lets non-experts make sense of it all.

Visual Complexity

Visual Complexity is a unified resource space for anyone interested in the visualization of complex networks. The project’s main goal is to leverage a critical understanding of different visualization methods, across a series of disciplines, as diverse as biology, social networks or the web.

Mint.com Blog

Mint blog of online money management app Mint.com – frequently shares compelling and attractive visualizations of data. They invest heavily in their content, as they smartly realize that every company is a media company.

Flowtown

Flowtown (a social media marketing platform) publishes a marketing blog which frequently features visual interpretations of data and trends in a sticky way.

OK Trends

OkTrends is original research and insights from the free internet dating site OkCupid. The blog compiles observations and statistics from hundreds of millions of OkCupid user interactions, all to explore the data side of the online dating world.