Infographics are all the communications rage these days, in part because of the visual emphasis of sites like Pinterest and the new(-ish) Facebook Timeline layout. But what makes a good infographic good? For a recent example, let’s use something from my day job: the National Women’s Law Center’s successful “What Do Tax Breaks for Millionaires Really Cost?” graphic, which was released soon before the Senate vote on the so-called “Buffett rule.”
Data is the core of an infographic — without it, even a well-designed one is just a pretty picture. In the case of NWLC’s tax cuts infographic, the data was good for two reasons. First, it was accurate, which the organization emphasized with a lot of footnotes to sources on the image’s primary landing page. Second, it was relevant: it took an abstract idea (the opportunity cost of giving more tax cuts to a person who is already wealthy) and compared that number with government services people could relate to and see as important. One millionaire’s tax cut equals a daily meal for 249 senior citizens? Whoa.