As more people are getting their news and information on the run these days, data visualization has emerged as a growing form of communication to satisfy those who don’t have the time to dive into data. Along with the challenges of sharing information more quickly and effectively in bite-sized chunks, though, come opportunities for designers to reveal information in ways that unadorned numbers and data points simply can’t.
It’s obvious why infographics are so popular among designers and others — having a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about a given topic is useful in its own right, but having complex concepts broken down into well-conceived, attractive, and digestible charts helps inject an unexpected vigor where it might not have been possible.
Still, be cautious about how you build infographics. Not all infographics by their design deliver the goods. Indeed, some can be rather daunting to look at, or could actually make an easy topic appear to be more complicated than it need be. Also, as the format proliferates in popularity, many infographics run the risk of being thin on data or a reason for data visualization. The format is just one arrow in your quiver when you’re facing lofty reports or heavy research that will require some elucidation in transmission.
For instance, Shutterstock recently released its annual infographic recapping 2012 and forecasting 2013 trends by using data from searches, downloads, and user activity on its website. You’ll find a breakdown of all kinds of categories like “what’s hot” and “evolving trends” that not only offer insight for the company’s marketing team, but also provide interesting and useful information about the industry for the consumer. At their best, infographics can tell a story in a way that raw data can’t, and we can all be better informed as a result.
Seeing what colors we collectively prefer or how we are using signage and typography helps designers and creative types to plan their projects with knowledge that stretches beyond Shutterstock or even the stock photo industry at large. A useful infographic gives you more than something pretty to look at: You walk away better informed and also more engaged with the topic at hand.
Like with all design, some styles work better than others. Here’s a sampling of 10 types of infographic vector packs that could greatly simplify your next design project. Here are some of the many examples you can download and use, or just use as inspiration:
Industrial buildings infographic elements:
The design should echo the information. Buildings come alive here.
Adding vivid colors and shapes keeps things interesting.
The Next Dimension:
Get their imaginations running with 3D visuals.
Cover a topic, like parenting, from top to bottom with big, catchy imagery.
Something retro can be both sleek and stylish.
World map infographic:
Global trends speak louder on one map illustrating the entire world.
People will overcome biases if you remove the barriers to entry. Make election data that stands out.
In an increasingly mobile world, here are handy design elements to talk about it.
Make manufacturing fun–data doesn’t always have to be serious.
the vertical format is a fresh way to visualize urban data.
Danny Groner is the manager of blogger partnerships & outreach for Shutterstock.