Twenty-two years dedicated to infographics in major Brazilian publications. Currently, besides producing, also researches new applications for information design as a communication language.
With the constant evolution of information visualization, a number of designations started to appear: infographics, data viz, information design, just to mention a few. Even so, there are some definitions that are widely accepted and put into¬†practice¬† and among those I quote one that is perfectly suitable for journalistic infographics: .
Text + image complete each other, are inseparable. Self -explanatory and self-reliant.
Tattiana Teixeira, professor at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina ‚Äď UFSC, in a recent interview to Daniele Silva (from the Brazilian blog ¬†Impress√£o Digital 126), stated:
‚ÄúThe journalistic infographic ¬†tells a story. Text + image are complementary and inseparable. Explanatory and self-sufficient, the infographics help make understandable to the reader what the written text can not explain.‚ÄĚ
I agree with this statement, and I rule this premise to think of my infographics. To produce a journalistic ¬†infographic, it is imperative that ¬†you are objective with the information.
The text needs an image, because without it it’s useless to explain.
But can we explain something without the text? Does the image need a text to explain something??
I believe that would be an interesting topic to discuss…
I found a beautiful example of a non-journalistic infographic that managed that 66 years ago.
During the II World War ,¬†numerous¬†factories stopped their production to make military artifacts. Singer was one of those companies, that held its traditional production to supply the U.S. military machine .
When the war was over, the recovering period ahead was filled with¬†challenges¬† and the companies had limited resources to restart their activities. You had to be very efficient.
This¬†brief¬†explanation was just to put in context a communication solution using information visualization that Singer adopted.
Singer produced (and produces) sewing machines and needed to make up for the lost time. In 1946, it released a model that would be sold globally, the Singer 15c75, and it was necessary to produce manuals in various languages.
Create a manual, write, draw, and print and translated into all languages where the machines were going to be sold,¬†implying¬†in extra costs to send photolithographs, hire translators, reprint, and so on.
A sewing machine in those days was a means of survival for many families. And as most users of sewing machines were women this meant an extra problem: global illiteracy.
However, the company was able to develop a process of communication that reached everyone, regardless of language or schooling. The system consisted using self-explanatory images – if it was today, they would probably be considered infographics.
Information on product use, lubrication and advanced techniques reached such a clarity hard to find even today.
An important detail in the picture above ¬†is that there are no scales between the hand and the object. This choice privileged information and functionality, and the use of a scale would disturb the vision process.
By ‚Äúreading‚ÄĚ this manual,¬†I managed to understand the concepts and features of the machine even not having any knowledge in sewing.
We should always be looking out and ¬†researching other solutions, rethinking our narrative form as these examples demonstrate that an image can be self-explanatory, and proves that in many cases¬†a picture is really worth more than a thousand words.