Strong data visualization is the primary building block of almost all great infographics. But it’s not just important in infographic design. Whether you’re designing an annual report, preparing a conference presentation, or analyzing key business metrics, data visualization can more quickly and effectively bring key trends to light — and help you discover a solution to any problems you may be facing.
But as Stephanie Evergreen points out in “2 Questions Designers Should Ask Data Nerds,” beautiful design isn’t enough. The designer needs to understand why the data visualization exists and who it’s speaking to. In short, a data visualization should marry form and function — because if it doesn’t have both, it probably won’t achieve its goals.
As Evergreen explains in her article:
“[W]hen we show audiences graphs, even pretty ones, that don’t have a clear point, we waste that power of the visual and teach them to generally ignore our entire organizational body of work because it’ll take a ton of effort to pull out meaning from what we deliver. This is not the path to success.”
Still, designers who are working hard to achieve accuracy can start to feel like they’re creating the same styles of data visualization over and over. So I’d like to highlight just a few of the infographics that are delivering real value to their audiences by incorporating fantastic and unusual data visualizations to enhance their underlying message.
Let these examples serve as an inspiration to you the next time you kick off a visual communication project.
1. A high-speed visualization
You don’t need to be able to read Italian to appreciate the elegance of the data visualization in this infographic by Francesco Franchi. Not only do we learn the relative speeds of these trains broken down by geographical location, but we can also glean extra information through color coding — for instance, whether a…