▷ Computer graphics: important reminders 2020 -

Nowadays, all the conditions are met for the proliferation of infographics. The development of computer processing tools has continued since 1979. It is crowned with the arrival of free online tools. Making an infographic is easier than ever, even for an audience without major technical knowledge. The concern is that certain uses empty the infographic of its substance, moving it away from its raison d’être …

The term computer graphics originates from the world of the press. In 1982, a newspaper entirely devoted to visual information, the USA Today, was born; thus bringing a major upheaval in the world of the press. The effectiveness of visual communication of information is well established, as long as it is used in the right way and in the right context.

Before going further, it is necessary to recall the two modes of reasoning in humans: the synthetic reasoning (synchronic) and the analytical reasoning (linear). The first allows us to perceive and understand the space that surrounds us with its details, differences, forms … tangible elements that provide us with instant information related to our senses. While the second allows us to build an understanding extended over time, it is analysis that allows us to connect abstract notions. The image is the best way to convey a synthetic reasoning and the words exist especially to transmit the analytical.

Computer graphics have the ability to switch from analytics to synthetics, from words to images, and therefore from abstract and complicated information to visual and instantaneous information. This is where his interest lies. But many of the infographics that we see everyday on the web do not benefit the public, they do not help them to easily understand complicated information at the base. The role of computer graphics is neither to summarize nor to eliminate the superfluous to keep essential information, these tasks can very well be carried out by words. The belief that one would get an infographic by summarizing or reducing abstract information, simply produces another abstract text with an elaborate layout.

In general, the effectiveness of an infographic is achieved by three aspects:

  • Make it simple: it consists in putting forward the overall relationships and not the details. Example: we do not need to put the photos of the employees when we want to inform about their hierarchical positions;
  • Compare to notice: the understanding of a visual message is facilitated by the introduction of a comparison reference, but it is also necessary to specify on what criterion it will be done. Example: by placing two cars of different brands, it is necessary to specify on which quality we want to compare them: speed, safety, price…;
  • Order to store: human beings need to establish order. When it is not noticeable, it needs to create it around conventions. Example: chronological or alphabetical order in the most basic cases. But this order can be much more complicated and relevant as when we illustrate the relationship between the economic and political situation during a given period.

In fact, computer graphics, when it respects the principles of the graphic (a science founded by Jacques Bertin), does not only take up existing information. It allows us to bring up information that we could not perceive for its spatial nature. Example: if you have a table of figures over several years, there is only one graph to make you perceive the resulting trends.

It is not for us to judge the uses of the term “computer graphics” on the web, it may be getting fat to express different realities. But we wanted to draw attention to the more judicious use of a most precious tool for managers and newsmakers. Finally, we can only recommend consulting the work of Jacques Bertin.