There are literally thousands of incredible infographics available online and you’ll find a small selection of the most jaw-dropping below. Each of the infographics selected for this article have two things in common: firstly, they’re all visually stunning; and secondly, they’re all easy to understand. Infographics are meant to make information clearer, not incomprehensible, so why so many designers forgo legibility in favour of eye-popping imagery, I’ll never know. If you’re not quite sure what an infographic is, take a look at the first example in this list and all will soon become clear.
What better way to explain the meaning of ‘infographic’ than with an infographic about infographics. Confused? You shouldn’t be. When you’ve got a concept or information to share, you can either choose a straightforward written document, which is totally boring, not to mention open to misinterpretation, or you can use an infographic, which combines words and data with images, illustrations and sometimes animation, to stimulate an audience and improve understanding and retention. Got it? Good.
Human beings exhibit an almost instinctive disdain for facial hair, the reasons for which has never been properly identified. Perhaps those with beards and moustaches have something to hide beneath their whiskers β€“ who knows? Either way, this infographic, which has created a huge buzz on Twitter and Facebook, will help you identify which type of facial fuzz is OK and which to avoid at all costs.
Follow the steps on this board-game-like path through the evolutionary history of the motor car. Start in 1908, with the introduction of the Ford Model T, and follow it right up to 2008, passing the Clean Air Act and the death of the super car en route.
4. Iraq War
This somewhat sobering, nevertheless highly informative New York Times infographic shows the number of people who died day-by-day in the ongoing conflict in Iraq during 2008. Casualties are defined by role (American Forces, Coalition Forces, and Iraqi Forces etc) as well as by their cause of death.
This is one of those infographics that you can just stare at for hours. It portrays the growth of music from the 1950s right up to the modern day with different singers and bands grouped by musical category.
This hand-drawn masterwork, which resembles some kind of school geography project, explains each step which we can individually take to combat the effects of climate change. With 1,200 diggs and counting, this spider diagram speaks just as clearly to children as to adults, proving that infographics don’t have to look high-tech to be effective.
As we all know, the periodic table lists elements by their atomic number, meaning that those close by in the table share similar properties. When arranged in a table by rank, typefaces exhibit shared characteristics with their neighbours too. In the Periodic Table of Typefaces, you’ll find the designer and year designed of each font as well as a sample of the font in question.
Statistics can be so incredibly dry and boring, but when they’re presented in such a rapid and memorable way as they are by Jess3 in this outstanding infographic video, they suddenly become interesting and fun to read. Here, you’ll learn all about the current state of the internet, like the total number of emails and tweets sent each day.
This absolutely fascinating infographic provides much valuable internet and social media data in a way that’s easily digestible. For each country, total internet access and the number of users who upload photos & videos, manage a social network profile, write a blog and use a micro-blogging service are depicted as a percentage of the overall population.
Unlike in the previous example (Social Web Involvement), the US internet-using population is segmented by their online activities in this infographic. Users are defined as creators (those who publish web pages and blogs), critics (those who comment on these creations), spectators (those who simply read web content) and more. Coloured squares are used to show the age makeup of each.
11. Our Aging World
There’s no better way to visualise the world’s aging population than with this animated infographic. Select your country on the left and your year (1950 to 2050) on the right and click around to see what each of the coloured bars means. Alternatively, click ‘Play’ to see how the whole thing develops over the course of a century.
Forget about Great White Sharks, Hammerheads and the Portuguese Man o’ War, it’s the 8 million tones of waste that’s chucked into the Med that we should really be worried about. In this infographic, which has secured over 3,636 diggs, the most deadly of all waste products are identified and exposed. The way that bits of rubbish have been shaped to resemble sea creatures is really cool (loving the food wrapper lobster!)
The information set out in this video guides us through the changing face of data storage and protection. Very easy to comprehend and with enough cool animation to keep us interested, it’s packed full of interesting facts like ‘Only 1 in 20 businesses that suffer a serious data loss will be able to remain in business’. Scary!
World leaders met in Copenhagen in 2009 in the hope of forging a unified front against global warming. According to the makers of this video, which treads a fine line between animation and infographic and has been a huge success thanks to Twitter, the outcome of the meeting was a victory for major polluters. Take the time to watch this 15 minute long documentary and you’ll be wowed by its content as well as the skilful animation employed.
15. Influences Map
Marian Bantjes is a Canadian graphic designer. This map, arranged in a highly original and beautiful way, displays all of her major influences, both personal and professional, including artists, materials, travel destinations, people and notable movements.
I studied geography at university, and of all the topics on the curriculum, it was geological time that I found most difficult to get my head around. Perhaps, if I had had this amazing infographic printed poster size and put up on my wall, I would have done a little better in my geomorphology modules! With 3,249 diggs, however, obviously some people are taking advantage of the visual shorthand it provides of the past 4.5 billion years.
17. Where We Live
This map of the United States shows exactly where people live by using spikes of varying heights and colours to represent population density. It’s annotated too, identifying each major spike and providing the exact population in that location. Both attractive and absorbing, the map has achieved 1,320 diggs and will change the way you look at the geography of the States.
18. Student Budget
This terrific infographic, designed by Westwood College, depicts the spending of an average student. You’ll hardly be surprised to learn that 40% of a student’s budget is blown on discretionary purchases like entertainment, apparel and vacation, while only 4% is spent on education. Room and board eats up a whopping 26% and tuition fees 19%.
Ever wondered how different people in different parts of the world spend their money? Well, wonder no more thanks to the info depicted here. You’ll see how much the average person spends on clothing, household goods, alcohol & tobacco, recreation and electronics in various different countries. Comparisons are often rather shocking.
On the day Michael Jackson died, thousands of people around the world navigated to NYTimes.com to get the latest information on the story. The two videos below (above just USA, below the entire world) show the locations of the people who logged onto the site and how this changed over the course of a 24 hour period. The yellow circles indicate readers coming from computers and the red circles from mobile devices.
Sometimes, the most straightforward infographics are the most successful. This one, ideal for any aspiring baristas (of which there seem to be many if the 1,337 diggs are anything to go by), provides phonetic descriptions of all the most popular coffee drinks, alongside visual displays of their ingredients. Make mine a hot Choca-Mocha-Latte!
This is one for the true Beatles fanatics β€“ an infographic showing the working schedule of the Fab Four from 1963-1966. A marked change in their working activities is clear for all to see as the green colour, which symbolises touring and performance, peters out to very little by the end of the three year period.
Nothing to do with Eddie Murphy, you’ll be pleased to hear, this three dimensional bar chart of sorts depicts the numbers of legal immigrants to the USA by country, along with information regarding numbers of asylum seekers and immigrants with family in the US. Representing a whole one and a half bars, it’s clear that Mexicans account for the largest proportion of immigrants by far.
Check out this map to see how the 50 United States compare in terms of Twitter usage. The top ten Twitter cities, the most ‘Twitterish’ of which are Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, can also be found on the map marked with stars.
25. Follow the Money
If you’ve ever wondered how the physical money you spend circulates in society, then you need to log on to www.wheresgeorge.com, where you can track the movement of $1 bills around the USA. This informative video explains the process in detail, and shows how George Washington’s movements can be used to uncover fascinating patterns of human mobility.