Of course, we must first look at what each infographic is trying to achieve before we can establish the best practices for its application. By definition, all information graphics are aimed at communicating information. What varies is the purpose for doing so—and understanding this purpose is what determines a graphic’s priorities. These priorities account for a necessary difference in approach to each design.

For example, if an infographic is intended to communicate information in the most clear and unbiased manner possible, then the first priority for the designer is comprehension, then retention, followed by appeal (Figure 1.6). This is common in academic, scientific, and business intelligence applications, as these areas typically lack any agenda aside from conveying and having viewers comprehend knowledge. Appeal is less necessary in this setting, as the viewer most typically needs the information and seeks it out as a result. Appeal is only useful when it keeps the viewers’ attention to enable further comprehension. Such a graphic typically would be used as a resource for information—which is why retention is also a secondary priority. If the viewer needs the information and it is a readily accessible resource, then he or she can revisit it as needed to retrieve it again. There’s no need for it to take up any more valuable brain space than necessary.

Figure 1.6: Infographic priorities by application.

However, a graphic created with a commercial ...

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