Posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 by

A Brief History of Infographics

We recently wrote about how you can make the most of your data when it comes to infographics. We briefly mentioned a little bit about the history of infographic design, but this post will dig a little deeper into the history of infographics.

How Old are Infographics?

Infographics themselves predate the World Wide Web by over 30,000 years. The main purpose of these designs was to communicate a message in a visual style that was easier to digest than chunks of text and data. Much later than 30,000 years, infographics haven’t evolved hugely; they still provide a visually appealing message without overwhelming the reader.

Physical maps began making an appearance around the 1700s, as it was around this time when the basics of measuring time, surveying, distance and map making had heavily come into play.

Fast forward to the 1800s, and maps became vastly complex. Charts and visualisation began making an impact in the world of data. Many forms of data representation we’re used to now were invented around this time, such as pie charts, line charts and histograms.


 Infographic design 1883 Victorian timetable

An 1883 Victorian timetable. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bibliodyssey/4198869259/sizes/l/

By the time the mid-1900s came around, publications such as Businessweek and Popular Mechanics began adopting infographics to represent data.

Infographics begin to develop slightly in the 1970s when a graphic design from Munich designed a series of pictograms for the 1972 Summer Olympics that took place in Munich.

Infographic design 1972 Summer Olympics

These pictograms were designed to simplify communication and make them a universal symbol of the sport they represented. Many of these are widely used to this day.

Infographic Design Today

Infographic design can take form in a number of ways – a map, a series of graphs and charts, pictorials, and more. The word infographic literally means information graphic, to provide information in the form of a graphical piece of content.

Outlook Infographic Client Relationship

An Outlook Creative Group Infographic

According to Techinfographics.com, 90% of information taken in by the brain is visual, and 40% of the nerve fibres connected to the human brain is associated with the eye. This makes infographics even more useful for data consumption.

These days infographics are used to show a whole range of information – whether that’s to represent medical data, statistics or to show which social networks are used the most.

The Outlook Creative Group have experience in creating interactive, and static infographics as well as data visualisation and motion graphics. If you’re looking for high quality infographic design, we can help. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.