A Tale Of Pictures – The Evolution Of Infographics

A Picture speaks a thousand words.

The next time you see a toddler drawing on walls, sit back, observe and give him another crayon. Believe it or not he is the ultimate Infographic specialist. Art is a universally accepted language and infusing it in business in the form of graphical representations has been an interesting history in itself. Going through meeting after meeting, have you ever wondered looking at those colored circles and zig-zag lines, where it all started? For minds that are curious to know we have compiled an interesting list here and we know for sure that you’ll spatter your coffee when we say Infographics started around 35000 years ago.

The Cave Man History:

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We came to understand the evolution of mankind through history. The amazing cave paintings like the one in caves of Sulavesi were drawn almost 35000 years ago. The caves have wonderful depictions of the lifestyle of caveman and give us interesting insights about the kinds of fauna and flora.  Like people say some things never change. Tablet or tablet we still have the habit of scribbling on the walls.

The Egyptian Hieroglyphics (3000 BC):

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As history evolved, so did the passion for infographics. A splendid example is the Egyptian hieroglyphics. The detailed caricatures and the simple images holding significant details were the second level infographics and possibly the fore runner of cryptography.

William Playfair- Father of graphs and charts:

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1786 was a milestone in the evolution of infographics,as this was the year when William Playfair invented graphical representation of statistical data. His work Commercial and Political Atlas, was the first work that had data depicted in the form of bar graphs, pie charts and line graphs.

Florence Nightingale – The nurse with a statistical mind

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In 1857, Florence Nightingale – a British nurse expanded the versatility of Infographics by presenting the Queen of England with an information graphic to depict the necessity of improving medical conditions in the Military units.

Harry Beck – The Undergrounder:

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In 1931, Harry Beck made history by creating a graphical representation called the London Underground Tube map, which depicted the transportation route of London. The Century old technique is perhaps the preface to Google maps.

Otl Aicher- The pictograph expert:

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The array of Emojis we use today, most likely evolved from Otl Aicher’s version of pictographs. The pictographs of human figures he created for the Munich Olympics in 1972 became so popular and revolutionary, that its inspired versions are still helping to find our way to the restroom in foreign places.

Tukey and Tufte :

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1975 found John tukey finding box plot and FFT algorithms. The ‘bit’ term coiner was then replaced by Edward Tufte as the father of Data visualization. There started the incorporation of statistical representation in Office tools that revolutionized and improvised business strategies to the next big level.

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Infographics has changed the way we live and see. It may not be a surprise if 80% of us could see adjectives and numbers alongside the products like Cumberbatch does. With so much infographics around us, we are open to a whole new world of information and using it up wisely remains our choice and responsibility.

About The Author

Manoj Avinakrishnan

Manoj Avinakrishnan

Myself Manoj Avinakrishnan, a technologist, amateur blogger, speaker, educator and wannabe entrepreneur . I have worked on various technologies from SEO to Cloud deployment.read more

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