This infographic, from the July 2011 edition of National Geographic magazine, is an excellent example of graphic design. As its name suggests, an infographic communicates information in a visual (graphic) format. Three major components of graphic design make this graphic a good one: the use of text, color, and design.
This infographic provides information about how and where the artist (John Tomaino) obtained his data. There is not too much detail, however. A good infographic conveys most information visually, not through text.
The graphic's colors perfectly reflect the subject matter. The infographic is about agricultural produce. Orange, green, and yellow are "earth tones" associated with food, including some displayed in the graphic itself (orange squash, green peas, and yellow corn). The same design using blacks or hot pinks, for instance, would not be as effective.
The infographic's design also reflects its subject matter. Plants, like the produce varieties shown, take root below the earth and sprout above it. The infographic reflects this by loosely grouping all the charted information on a single "stem" near the "horizon" of the page. The dwindling varieties of each crop are easy to follow from the thick lines near the robust upper number to the thin lines near the lower number. Additionally, the artist uses the same small symbol (icon) at each end of the crop's chart.
For Further Exploration
- National Geographic Magazine: Food Ark
- National Science Foundation: International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry chart Noun
diagram, often in the form of a graph or table, with information on the relationships between the subjects represented.
to exchange knowledge, thoughts, or feelings.
to communicate or make known.
Encyclopedic Entry: crop data Plural Noun
(singular: datum) information collected during a scientific study.
earth tone Noun
color grouping that includes warm browns, tans, grays, greens, oranges, and reds.
useful or able to perform a task.
material, usually of plant or animal origin, that living organisms use to obtain nutrients.
Encyclopedic Entry: food graphic design Noun
art of combining images, textual information, numerical data, and ideas into a unified product of visual communication.
line where the Earth and the sky seem to meet.
Encyclopedic Entry: horizon icon Noun
an image or person used to represent something.
visual representation of data. Also called information graphic or graphic.
National Geographic magazine Noun
monthly journal of the National Geographic Society, which features articles, images, and maps about geography, science, history, and culture.
to get or take possession of.
agricultural products such as vegetables and fruits.
healthy and strong.
part of a plant that secures it in the soil, obtains water and nutrients, and often stores food made by leaves.
main stalk of a plant.
something used to represent something else.
having to do with sight (vision).