We have already discussed the essentials and rules of great infographic design and now it’s time to see those tips at work! Here are 25 outstanding infographics from all over the Internet that embody everything that makes data visualization so exciting and effective. Tell us which ones are your favorites (and why) and feel free to share some from your own list of favorites.
Let’s get visual!
This infographic by Coleen Corcoran and Joe Prichard is one of my personal favorites and I often cite it as a great example of visual storytelling.
The history of motoring could not have been better represented than with a journey across a colorful and oft-winding road that took you all the way from Ford’s first vehicle to the high-mpg Toyota Prius and beyond. Along the way we learn about James Dean’s iconic death in a car accident and how the Bush administration pulled the plug on the ‘super car’. The Carland infographic is a timeline, board game and a road trip all rolled into one. It’s the infographic equivalent of the yellow brick road and twice as well designed.
It’s usually risky to use black as your infographic background but sometimes the risk can pay off as with this infographic about human storage.
Guinness records about things that human beings have managed to swallow are visualized by fitting all those things inside- you guessed it- the human body.
The vibrant colors set against the dark background make for an engaging contrast and the result is a fascinating- and often horrifying- depiction of the extent of human consumption.
When an infographic gets its point across without even utilizing a language you understand, you know you have accomplished the rare feat of great data visualization. Even though this infographic is in Spanish (which most of us will not understand), it’s abundantly clear that 9774 of all traffic accidents happen due to the small distance between vehicles.
This simple but clever infographic by 5W Graphics explores why cheap airlines like Ryan Air and Southwest are able to offer such low rates to their customers compared to costly alternatives like British Airways. An airplane acts as the divisor between the comparison table and each attribute is accompanied by the sort of signage you would find in a typical airport or plane.
All the graphics are relevant but just enough to make the viewer find their way around the infographic and start reading to get the actual information.
As most infographic designers know, opinions (and especially political ones) are not the easiest things to visualize. However, this particular infographic manages to provide an appealing- and easily maneuverable- guide about exactly what it means to be left wing or right wing- and where the two coincide or clash.
As someone as politically disinterested as me, this infographic saved me the trouble of something I had always avoided: looking the stuff up in Wikipedia.
And that’s exactly what great infographic design is all about: making data and information palatable to a broad audience.
This patriotic infographic by GoIreland.com is a great example of how even the simplest of lists looks better when it’s supplemented by graphics and colors. It doesn’t hurt to add interesting- and related- facts and figures along the way.
How to Retrieve a Fallen Airplane
If your warplane crashes and sinks to the bottom of the ocean, be sure to take a print out of this infographic by Paul Horn with you to help you pull it back up. The coursebook-type diagram at the heart of this infographic is the perfect showcase for detailing everything that goes into retrieving a fallen airplane and enacting the exact actual scene. Instead of just a list of the steps and providing pictures of all the tools and machinery that are used in the process, we get to see the entire setup.
A great example of bringing an actual story to the canvas.
We all know that the American economy is in a recession and it’s got something to do with the credit crisis.
But because most of us don’t know exactly what went wrong in a system that seemed to be chugging smoothly along for years, Good Magazine created this infographic that does a great job of explaining the credit crisis through simple visualizations and an easy to follow navigation. If schools taught finance courses with infographics like this one, we would all have been much smarter with our investments!
Be sure to check out part 2 of this infographic on the Good Magazine website.
This infographic by ADT serves as further proof that infographics can be made on just about any topic.
To gently promote online safety, these folks came up with some data on online dating that is bound to be of interest to many romantic young hopefuls. The fact that it’s accompanied by pretty caricatures and light humor makes it a good candidate for going viral.
If you’ve ever needed to relate the pros and cons of online dating to a friend, this is the infographic for you.
I love infographics that use maps well.
The following infographic by We Wish uses maps effectively to show the inflow and outflow of Australian tourism. We get to see the most popular Australian destinations for tourists coming in and the countries most frequented by those leaving Australia. And it’s all supported by a simple and clean organization that lets the data take center stage.
Even though ‘interesting’ is subjective, there are certain types of data that are admittedly more appealing to the masses (10 craziest feats! Most successful stars at the box office! ).
The real challenge in infographic design lies in making an interesting visual for data that is far less spectacular or glamorous. This infographic by Mike Wirth and Dr. Suzanne Cooper takes the arguably mundane process of legislation and makes it not only accessible but, dare we say it, fascinating.
Also, the process seems to be shaped like a judge’s wig. That’s cool, right?
America’s Population Distribution
Just one glance at this infographic can summarize a hefty amount of data. It’s a great example of how infographics can help you make correct and efficient inferences from huge amounts of data.
As for the data itself, it comes as no surprise that the East Coast is heavily populated but it is interesting to see just how unevenly the American population is spread across the 50 states.
Recipe for the iPad
With the 3rd generation iPad already creating a storm and shaping the future of our digital devices, now is a good time to see all the portable devices that the iPad doubles as and replaces. Also, the iPad is a mix of technologies and gadgets and it’s interesting to see which features form the majority of our digital experience.
Are you ready to trade in your camera and laptop for an iPad? This infographic makes a good case for it!
If the loss of human lives wasn’t a big enough expense to convince the world to stop warfare once and for all, maybe the financial aspect can do a better job of convincing the powers that be.
This infographic details how the Iraq war cost the US upwards of three trillion dollars! And it looks good doing it thanks to the abundant military iconography and strong red and black color palette.
The most awe-inspiring infographic on this list, this beautiful creation from National Geographic captures mankind’s exploration in the space. There is a thread for every space mission ever sent that follows its entire path. The result is both informative and majestic.
One of this infographic’s greatest strengths is its background color. As I mentioned earlier, it’s rare for black backgrounds to work so well in infographics but as a backdrop to this particular infographic, the darkness captures both the look and mystery of our sprawling universe.
This painstakingly created infographic is a beautiful piece of art.
Zoology and geology students will find it particularly useful because it encapsulates millions of years of evolution- and numerous periods- in one big gorgeous time spiral. This infographic deserves its place on this list based on just its attention to detail.
State of the Internet
You did not expect to see a video on this list, did you? In today’s age, where we’re trying to engage visitors using all manners of multimedia and communications, it’s always a great idea to bring videos in the mix. In this clip, made entirely from infographics, we get to see some great stats and visualizations about the internet in motion. Oh and there’s music too.
Another one from the folks at GOOD, this infographic makes an interesting comparison between the nutrition for human beings and the fuel usage for a typical car. If you have ever wondered about how much gasoline your car consumes in terms of Big Macs, here’s your answer. Besides its interesting data comparison, the infographic works because it manages to visualize the similarities between the human digestive system and the mechanical parts of a car.
The American Dream- Or is it Nightmare?
With dollar amounts on the y-axis and ages on the x-axis, this infographic is like your average text book graph. However, since there is something distinctly amusing to see how the debt bars are always higher than the income ones, it provides a good opportunity for infographic design. Even though the visualization in this infographic is mostly restricted to a 3D view and images of a house and a bride perched on top of their respective debt bars, it’s done well and gets the point across.
Get Your Coffee the Way You Like It
Coffee is a designer’s best friend. But with so many different variations, it can sometimes get confusing for some of us to know exactly what we want to order at a café. Here’s an infographic to use as a key for knowing what type to order and what it will contain.
If you had to design an infographic about the global carbon footprint, you’ll have a difficult time of coming up with a better visualization than this infographic by Stanford Kay. The individual contributions of all the countries are wrapped up in circles and then fit inside the shape of a giant foot. That’s a global footprint if there ever was one!
As designers, choosing the right typeface for our design work consumes more of our time than most people would guess. Here’s an elaborate- and pretty reliable- infographic about choosing a good typeface for all occasions and situations. It uses all the typefaces it suggests so you can make your decision from within the infographic.
This infographic succeeds because it visualizes entire analogies. If it tells you that Google consumes 260 millions watts of electricity and illustrates it with a data center, it also equates it with 1/4th of an average nuclear power’s output by showing that as well.
The Health Vault
A rare good egg from the folks at Microsoft, the HealthVault infographic takes full advantage of the infographic medium by creating a pretty elaborate network of visuals.
And finally, here is a really great infographic about tattoos by Paul Marcinkowski, a student at the Academy Of Fine Arts in Łódź. Instead of visualizing statistics about tattoos on a solid canvas with a bunch of over-the-top colors, Marcinkowski chooses to go black and white, and puts everything about tattoos where they belong: on the human body (apparently, his own).
All infographics tell stories. As designers, it’s our job to tell them well. Be sure to show us your favorite infographics and why you agree or disagree with some of our picks!