Ross Farmer
Ross Farmer

Infographics work because your brain loves pictures

Category: Blogging, Content, Design

Friday October 7th, 2016

Any business that’s been seeking social media perfection over the past few years must have stumbled across the joy of infographics.

But for those not in the know, allow us to start at the start: what is an infographic?

In short, it’s an illustrative way of delivering information. It usually combines several smaller fact-nuggets into one attractive whole, with a consistent visual theme and the end-goal of informing the reader of facts that might be harder to digest in written form. In a way, you could consider the humble pie-chart the ultimate infographic.


Popularity contest

So why are they so popular? And why are they so prone to going viral?

To my mind, it’s all down to how our brains process information, and the amount of information we’re buffeted with from minute to minute.

Anyone who looks at a print ad from the 1960s will immediately notice a core difference with print advertising today – the word count. You can only surmise that back then people had more time to stop and read, less noise to filter.

Previously data was less prevalent, information less on-tap. A person could walk down the street without immediately knowing the weather in Cuba, the performance of their investments and who Tom Hiddleston may or may not be dating, but that’s simply not the case any longer.

These days facts and figures are literally everywhere we go. A glut of information is a great, positive thing, but there’s only so much a human can handle so a filter is required. That filter is your own brain, which looks for the easiest-to-digest information in the flow and focuses on it.

And that means visual. The mentalist Derren Brown advocates visual imagery as the key to expanding your memory and recall (telling a visual story for each fact that needs to be recalled in a so-called memory palace). Roadsigns are generally illustrative more than descriptive because the brain will process it faster. Even medicine users are proven to better understand their prescription when the instructions are illustrative – it’s just who we are as human beings (reference this incredible online infographic on Neomam).

So if you have some great content, or some great ideas you want to see reaching the maximum possible audience, you probably ought to think of displaying it as an infographic.


As an example, please see a link to one of our customers’ recent infographics – it’s actually pretty text-based but even so has seen incredible take-up because a) it looks good and b) it’s genuinely useful.