• 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.

  • 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.

    communicate Verb

    to exchange knowledge, thoughts, or feelings.

    component Noun

    part.

    convey Verb

    to communicate or make known.

    crop Noun

    agricultural produce.

    Encyclopedic Entry: crop
    data Plural Noun

    (singular: datum) information collected during a scientific study.

    dwindle Verb

    to shrink.

    earth tone Noun

    color grouping that includes warm browns, tans, grays, greens, oranges, and reds.

    effective Adjective

    useful or able to perform a task.

    food Noun

    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.

    horizon Noun

    line where the Earth and the sky seem to meet.

    Encyclopedic Entry: horizon
    icon Noun

    an image or person used to represent something.

    infographic Noun

    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.

    obtain Verb

    to get or take possession of.

    produce Noun

    agricultural products such as vegetables and fruits.

    robust Adjective

    healthy and strong.

    root Noun

    part of a plant that secures it in the soil, obtains water and nutrients, and often stores food made by leaves.

    stem Noun

    main stalk of a plant.

    symbol Noun

    something used to represent something else.

    visual Adjective

    having to do with sight (vision).

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