Designing the World of Digital Experience

History of Infographics

I was curious about who created information graphics so I dug around and found a cool story… a 27 year old Scottish guy in the late 1700’s came up with some of the first infographics.  So who was it?  Well, according to Wikipedia…

William Playfair invented four types of diagrams in 1786: the line graph and bar chart of economic data, and in 1801 the pie chart and circle graph, used to show part-whole relations.

infographix-playfair

 

infographx-playfair_piecharts

The “Father of Infographics”

William Playfair (22 September 1759 – 11 February 1823) was a little bit of a trouble-maker and his jobs included… millwright, engineer, draftsman, accountant, inventor, silversmith, merchant, investment broker, economist, statistician, pamphleteer, translator, publicist, land speculator, convict, banker, ardent royalist, editor, blackmailer and journalist. in 1787 he took part in the storming and the capture of the Bastille in Paris.

infographx-playfair-piechart


Modern Data Visualization

Infographics are an easy way to explain complex situations and the real benefit is to show the context of how data, information or knowledge relates to each other. The challenge for modern infographic experts like David McCandless is to optimize infographics that show better information and meaning. The key to marketing and communications in the information age is understanding the rich complexities of information so that we can make better decisions.

Update (12/5/2013):

I recently discovered that Nicole Oresme created infographics as early as 1350. He used visualizations to explain the velocity of moving objects.

 

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS