Most people know what an infographic is and if they don’t, here it is one simple definition: “info” and “graphic” – information offered through graphic representation. And it’s quite an old concept, if we think of cave paintings, with a small doubt that the early illustrators really knew how much information they had provided us.

Nowadays, things changed a lot and information became the engine of visual creation – graphic design,  improved year by year by the demands and needs of the market, supported by increasingly advancing technology. For example, 2012 was the highest hill that infographics climbed, with 800% increased searches for this digital informational tool. And it’s still up!

Why infographics?

Depending on the type (statistical, process flow, geographic, “how to”, visual article etc.) it is used on different channels – mail, social media and for many other reasons, in various circumstances (also in reporting presentations), with the same main purpose: to inform in a pleasant way.

If the information meant to be shared is not digestible, the drawings play the role of story books used in convincing kids to eat vegetables. They make everything appetizing.

Also, a good reason for using infographics is that drawings speak a universal language, they transcend language barriers, being understood anywhere in the world. An idea completed by some important statistics:

Visuals are perceived 60.000 times faster than text

90% of information received by the brain is visual

65% of the people learn visually

So, it works like a charm and of course, everybody can do it. At least, this is the main impression, encouraged by dedicated sites which invite you to “make your own infographics”.

We have accepted the virtual invitation of some of them and we’ve made an experiment, trying to spot some aspects about this subject, to see what happens without an advertising agency expertise. Advantages or disadvantages, you decide their names.

When findings meet assumptions

Although the internet is full of relatively useful tools which can work in creating very simple infographics, they all have some limits and issues which will not allow you to express exactly what you have in mind. And we have detailed and reinforced arguments for this idea.

Human creativity will never be replaced by technology

Infographics are more than charts and diagrams, therefore there are so many types of information which only an illustrator can represent graphically and transform into a functional material (digital or printable). This happens especially if the information doesn’t belong to a very common domain of activity, such as questionnaire results, medical research or the heavy industry area.

For us, the process of creating a quality visual material is not only a matter of drawing technique, but also a process which involves talent, imagination, surprising solutions, optimized structure and adaptability.

Customization means freedom of expression

And it will always make a difference of the final result’s quality. The value of a good infographic is also given by the authenticity and originality of the drawn illustrations, no matter the type (modern style or traditional illustration) or the technique used (pencil, charcoal, lithography, watercolor, shapes, freehand, vector graphics etc.), as long as it’s customized.

So, the limits and constraints aren’t desirable. They force you to make compromises concerning the message you want to transmit, to lose some of the information or to completely give up on it, because there aren’t the right drawings in the database of the website.

If you want to stand out of the crowd, you can’t use the same graphics, replicated in hundreds of materials on the internet.

One detail can ruin all

The lack of coherence would be a direct consequence of a chained freedom of creation. The illustrations available to use don’t necessarily match and, in the end, you won’t be sure if the final picture will have the same overall design.

It is unlikely that you will find all the drawings and icons you need to convert, from the beginning until the end, into the right and desired information. Unless you want to make compromises and give up to some of the initial information.

Not worthy and not so cheap

Even the “free of charge” aspect is debatable, because either you have to pay to download the infographic you’ve just created, or you have to pay for each/some particular illustrations (the best ones). The sums of the collected drawings can reach a significant amount of money, leaving you the option to pay a monthly fee of usage – although you need only one material.

Also other resources are invested

Last but not least, if you are however fine with the materials created using the available online sites (and may be better than a text presentation) we can’t argue with this option, but the use of these sites always requires some time and PC operating skills. You have them or you don’t? – that is the question.

Still, no matter the answer, the main idea is just to make sure you get properly informed before making a decision. Because the advert “don’t try this at home” may not be so weird associated with the infographics’ situation, if you take into consideration the aspects discussed until now.

Especially if you don’t want to give up on quality.