Cool Infographics Book Review from Sociality Squared

Cool Infographics by Randy Krum book cover

Two of the hottest buzzwords right now are “big data” and “visual communication” and it’s not surprising given the landscape that we live in:

  • We are exposed to the information equivalent of 174 newspapers of information every day. (Source: Cool Infographs)
  • 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco)

“Cool Infographics” adds valuable insight where visual communication and big data collide: infographics! The book is a great resource for those who design or commission infographics and those who are simply interested in learning more on the subject, especially given the explosion of popularity of infographics since 2010. “Cool Infographics” can easily become a classroom textbook on the subject given its thoroughness and clarity on the topic.

I was given an advance copy of the book written by Randy Krum, founder and president of InfoNewt, an infographic design and data visualization company, and the gentleman behind coolinfographics.com. Given that Sociality Squared’s focus is social media marketing and I’ve spoken on the subject of visual communication at industry conferences and to MBA classes, a friend and colleague Jim Hopkinson suggested me to Randy, and I ended up on his advanced reading list (of which I’m thankful for!).

As Randy points out in the book, data visualizations and infographics are often confused, but are in fact different. Infographics are graphics that “combine data visualizations, illustrations, text, and images together into a format that tells a compelling story.” Even as a seasoned social media strategist, I gained new insight on the subject and got a nice refresher on others. If you saw my copy, a multitude of pages are dog-eared including pages with infographics for inspiration or tips on best practices. There are also great tidbits spread throughout the book like the term “informavore” coined in 1983 by George A Miller to describe the behavior of humans to gather and consume information.

Randy does a great job covering all of the bases when it comes to infographics from the design objectives, to data credibility, to SEO implications to copyrights and more. Below are the chapters in the book.

Chapters:

  1. The Science of Infographics
  2. Online Infographics
  3. Infographics and SEO
  4. Infographic Resumes
  5. Internal Confidential Infographics
  6. Designing Infographics
  7. Design Resources

The chapters are color-coded to make it easy to navigate to the topic you’re interested in most.

We asked Randy about the cost of infographic design via email:

What should you expect to pay for an infographic design? It depends on what you are asking the designer or design firm to do as part of the work. At InfoNewt I use a creative brief to help clients define the scope of a project up front so we can generate a good cost estimate. Will data research be required or will the data be provided? How much data will be visualized in the design? How big will the final design be (PowerPoint slide, web page, poster or trade show booth banner)? Is there a tight deadline for the project? Does the client need additional support publishing and promoting the final info graphic?
You can find designers that will design an infographic anywhere from $200-$20,000 depending on how complicated the project is, the designer’s skill and experience and how the designer’s business model is setup. As a rough ballpark estimate, a client that provides the data should expect a great infographic design for online distribution for around $3,000.

Randy also shares that, “Good infographic designers can bring together storytelling, data visualization, graphic design, online strategy, and legal understanding together to make a successful infographic,” and “Cool Infographics” gives the reader the tools to achieve this. (p 108-109) While some of the information may be outdated just given the nature of the medium, overall, this book will be relevant for years to come and a staple authority on info graphics.

I would have liked to see a separate chapter dedicated to preserving data credibility and the responsibility that comes with infographics regarding fact checking and conveying data in an honest light, but you can find tips and information about it scattered through the book.

I don’t want to give away too much, so you’ll have to pick up a copy for yourself and discover the gems of “Cool Infographics” for yourself!

Interested in learning more about Randy and Cool Infographics?

Helen Todd

Helen Todd

Helen is the CEO of Sociality Squared, a full service social media agency founded in 2010 in New York City. Helen has developed and executed social strategies for clients that include Leica Camera, Dolphin Browser, and FitBit’s FitStar. Helen speaks about social media marketing at SXSW Interactive, Social Media Week NYC, Mobile Marketing Innovation Day in Vienna, and to MBA classes at schools like Xavier Williams College and NYU Stern Business School. She won a WOMMY award from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, has work featured in the Facebook Studio Gallery which recognizes the most creative, innovative, and effective marketing that makes use of the Facebook platform, and has been a Jay Chiat Awards judge. She graduated from Xavier University and holds a Master's degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Emerson College. Follow Helen on https://twitter.com/helenstravels and https://www.instagram.com/helenstravels.