One of the best things that could happen to us in the media in which I was working a decade ago – take or add a couple of years – was that they sent us some infographic from a press office. Of course, not all infographics were equally good and not all received ones were published, but the percentage of infographics that went to the recycle bin was quite small. The reason will not be surprising: Internet users loved infographics. Publishing an infographic on any topic used to generate a spike of interest.
The articles worked very well (they all had “infographics” in the headline so that it was clear what they were going to find) and, if it was on a business topic in a medium intended for that market, the readers themselves shared it en masse on social networks .
For them, it was a personal branding (and cool) way. So back in the early 10’s, making infographics wasn’t that easy. There was not yet a Canva in which anyone could create a pair with a few clicks and achieve a worthy result. But, furthermore, on the list of visual contents they were still somewhat surprising and elaborate, something somewhat sophisticated. Infographics were everywhere. The media published them and companies created them not only as a communication weapon but also as a key part of their digital marketing.
And the infographics, most importantly, had a cache. Years later, are infographics still working or have they already remained in the graveyard of online fashions? I asked the question for the first time not long ago, when I received one of those shipments to journalists from the companies. It was an infographic and the first thing my brain did after processing it was to think that it was something “very 2012”. Turning to the internet to confirm the death or survival of infographics is a bit confusing. Infographics still exist.
Canva and similar sites have made designing them very easy and therefore anyone can create them. Filling the web with new infographics is easy and affordable. The media, in the end, we have not renounced them completely either. You just have to think about the most popular contents of the pandemic, such as that of El País last summer explaining how the coronavirus spread through a closed place, to understand it. Of course, these infographics are already infographics and are light years away from what the media received with enthusiasm in 2011.
They have design work, they are multimedia and mix formats and they are not static graphics that follow a template. They are complex and immersive designs – The New York Times uses them a lot, causing different elements to load as you scroll – which work in a complex way. For content marketing they have not disappeared completely either. Presenting information in an infographic is visually appealing and makes information processing easier than ever. Infographics are not, yes, elements that work by themselves.
Now, they are integrated into the content. They are the guest star, the secondary that makes everything more beautiful, in an environment in which the content itself is more important. The queen infographic of 2012 has lost its glamor and its cache. It makes sense. In an environment like the current one, in which more videos are consumed than ever and in which it is also becoming easier than ever to make them, infographics are no longer surprising and sophisticated. It is already too simple an element.
The year the infographic died
In fact, looking at the PuroMarketing newspaper library , it is already clear that infographics are an element from another era: the last we wrote about its advantages and the potential of the format was in 2015 (and yes, since then we may have occupied all that space talking about the potential of video).
Although, in fairness, it should be said that in 2015 there were already those who wondered if infographics were dead. It was done by a column in PRWeek . His conclusion was that no, he was still alive, but also that he had been talking about “infographic fatigue” for three years and that the market had been saturated. If you wanted an infographic to be cool, it had to be really relevant and good.
“The publication of infographics rose steadily between 2007 and 2012, when it had its peak, and has started to decline since then,” Sarah Rapp, Adobe’s community data and insights director , explained just that year to FastCompany . In the mobile universe, you had to play with other weapons and the infographic itself had given way to a more sophisticated type of visual content. Those who announced the death of infographics at that time did so by pointing out that they were no longer unique and that their space was occupied by interactive storytelling. The infographic, therefore, has been languishing since then.