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What is an infographic ?

by illustrator Adrian cartwright

What is an infographic ?

Infographics have become an essential tool for conveying complex information in a visually appealing and easy-to-understand way. These days, we see them everywhere, from news articles and social media posts to business reports and educational materials. But where did infographics come from, and how did they evolve into the powerful communication tool we know today?


The origins of infographics can be traced back to the earliest forms of human communication. Ancient civilisations used symbols and pictures to record important events and convey information. For example, the ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphics to communicate their stories and beliefs, while the ancient Greeks used diagrams and maps to document their discoveries and conquests.

Modern era:

In the modern era, the rise of printing technology allowed for more complex and sophisticated forms of visual communication. In the mid-1800s, English statistician William Playfair developed the line graph and bar chart, which revolutionised the way data was presented and analysed. Playfair’s work inspired others to create even more advanced visualisations, such as Florence Nightingale’s famous “coxcomb” chart, which showed the causes of mortality in the Crimean War.

20th Century:

In the 20th century, infographics became a popular tool for advertising and marketing. Companies used colourful and eye-catching graphics to sell their products and services, and magazines and newspapers began using infographics to illustrate their stories and news reports.


With the advent of the internet, infographics have exploded in popularity, with thousands of new designs created every day. Today, infographics are used for everything from scientific research to political campaigning to social media memes.


In conclusion, the origins of infographics can be traced back to the earliest forms of human communication. Over time, they evolved into more sophisticated and complex visualisations, driven by advances in technology and the needs of various industries. Today, infographics are an essential tool for communicating complex information in a way that is engaging, accessible, and memorable.

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