[This is a guest post by Raj Kamal, an infographic designer based in India, about his most recent project, 'honk ok please']
WHAT’S AN INFOGRAPHIC?
A visual way of presenting information or information presented with visuals? It’s true both ways actually. But the basic idea is to convey information to the reader or viewer in a way that it becomes easier for her to internalise it without spending as much time as, say, if the same information was put out as text.
DO MOST INFOGRAPHICS DO THAT TODAY?
Not really! Infographics, as is generally perceived, do not have to be about bars and charts and complicated numbers supported by a visual to make it appealing or convey the intended message. In fact, sometimes it may not need text at all or at other times can do without a visual.
The new way, some of which you can see here puts the message first and completely inverts the process of creating an infographic. It’s the ‘message’ that decides the presentation. The numbers, visual or text or a combination of these are to only support the way of putting the message across. This also changes the way one conceptualises a graphic.
The thought starts with the message and then gets into putting other related information together to support it instead of starting with the data and thinking of what to make of it – the message. The advantage of taking this route is also that you are not just restricted by topics or numbers or just presenting ‘news’. You can go a step further and air your ‘views’ too to make a point.
If the idea of an infographic is to make it as widely read, seen or shared then that should also be reflected in the platform one chooses to create them. The message is supreme and therefore the device or medium on which it is accessed should hardly be a factor. That is exactly what we have done. We are primarily using GIF files. So, whether you have the latest smartphone or tablet or the most basic feature phone, you should be able to access our creations. You don’t require any plug-ins, the graphics are OS-neutral and the file sizes are low enough to not hurt your pocket.
To help the viewer associate with a graphic quickly, we use everyday objects that people are familiar with. Pictures, objects or shapes that we are used to in our daily lives come together to send out a message. This also cuts a step in the time it takes the viewer to register the graphic in her mind. You straightaway jump to the message instead of trying to figure out the contrived lines or abstract shapes or complex imagery first.
So here’s to the new-age infographics that let you say what you want, the way you want, or as we say in our blog ‘honk ok please’ so that people sit up and take notice.