Jorge Cortes, interview infographics

Jorge Cortés is the director of the Infographic Design Program at the Universidad Católica in Chile, we spoke with him in Santiago.

Why use infographics when telling a story?
There are many different ways to tell a story with an infographic. Even in a medium as loaded with visual stimuli as television, infographics can translate information better visually. I’m reminded of Da Vinci and his scientific annotations where visual narration was a very important part of his work.

Are infographics being used more and more as an educational tool?
Since its early beginnings, infographics were used for educational purposes. Just look at illustrated encyclopedias we’ve all used at one time or another. I think infographics are ideal in an educational capacity, be it for printed or online purposes.

What is the role of aesthetics when it comes to infographics?
Aesthetics or design is very important as long as it contributes and doesn’t interfere with the intended message. There’s a tendency to overuse graphics which often results in convoluted information. Simplicity and design aren’t mutually exclusive, yet the execution shouldn’t come at the expense of the simplicity.

Which new fields are using infographics?
Infographics emerged in print media as a competitive response to television, but evolved as a format applicable to many more mediums. Outside the realm of media, infographics have been used for many purposes: scientific, government, education, strategic communication, prevention, engineering, architecture, astronomy, business, corporate communications, and many more.

Why does the mind process visuals better than data?
When we read text, data or numbers, comprehension takes longer than if we were looking at visual patterns. Data visualization allows the reader to analyze the info and trends quickly. That’s visual language. Where there’s data and information that must be simplified, the infographic is the answer.

What basic skills should infographic designers have?
Visual thinking, the ability to synthesize and analyze data, cognitive psychology, a knowledge of cartography (even a basic one), design as applied to information, curiosity, composition, research ability, a sense of humor, the habit of using visual annotations, planning, and a constant drive to explore new medias and formats. In addition, these days it’s ideal to know one or more programming language. I find that, personally, insomnia or a good dose of caffeine helps.

Bookmark Content is launching a new series of Product Packages, including infographics or as we call them, Data Stories.

Go to Data Stories