The Secret to Great Infographics

April 4, 2013

An infographic can make all the difference in whether or not someone understands data that was collected. As a product design firm, our research programs provide a lot of information for our clients to use going forward. Over the past couple of years, data visualization has become more prominent and we have found the use of infographics to be the best way to relay information to our clients in an engaging, simple, and more meaningful way.

Periscopic, a “socially conscious information visualization” company that promises to “do good with data” was founded in 2004 by Kim Rees and Dino Citraro, who both saw a need for data visualization.

The State of the Polar Bear infographic designed by Periscopic (photo from

However, back when the company began, very few people understood why it was necessary. “We were seeing more interest in large databases, but there was a lag in the sense-making part of it,” Rees says. “If you store a lot of data it does you no good unless you can understand it.”

“Ten years later, this is still the core problem driving data visualization. Our ability to sense and record information has vastly outpaced our capacity to understand it. From GPS to Facebook likes, we’re likely talking about trillions of new data points recorded, somewhere, every day. So the issue remains—these 1s and 0s are useless to us unless we can begin to synthesize them into actionable policy.”

U.S. Gun Murders in 2010 designed by Periscopic (photo from

In the article on Fast Company, What’s the Secret to Great Infographics?, Periscopic offers three key secrets to designing great infographics:

1. You Have to Sell What They’ve Never Seen
2. The Gimmick is Transparency
3. Hand the Brain Back to the View

One of the most fascinating infographics Periscopic recently released relates to the U.S. Gun Deaths in 2013, as well as in 2010. It puts a new perspective on gun violence that just hearing a statistic wouldn’t provide. You can check out that infographic hereand read more on their secrets to great infographics here.


Note: All quotes in this post are from the article on Fast Company’s website: What’s the Secret to Great Infographics?.

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