What is an infographic ?

Words and pictures by Adrian Cartwright

illustration in a Leonardo da Vinci style The perfect Margarita Cocktail
Infographic info-graphic graphics to help explain Illustration infographic for travel

What do you think of when you hear the term Infographic?

What is an infographic ?
Infographics have become a common part of modern life, but they actually have a long and fascinating history. The origins of infographics can be traced back to the earliest human civilisations, where people used visual representations to communicate complex information. Possibly as early as, well early man painting in caves showing hunting strategies and story telling.

Earliest examples:

Some of the earliest examples of infographics comes from ancient Egypt, where hieroglyphs were used to convey stories and information. The Egyptians also developed a system of symbols and drawings known as the “Narmer Palette” that depicted the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt.

During the Middle Ages:

illuminated manuscripts became popular, with illustrations and diagrams used to convey information about science, medicine, and other subjects. Then in the 17th century, the French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal developed the first graphical representation of statistical data, using a bar chart to illustrate the economic data of French provinces.

19th century:

In the 19th century the development of printing technology and the rise of mass media led to a proliferation of infographics in newspapers and magazines. The American journalist and cartographer John Wesley Powell used charts and maps to illustrate his reports on the exploration of the American West, while interestingly Florence Nightingale used visualisations to demonstrate the impact of sanitary measures on mortality rates in hospitals during the Crimean War.

More recently:

More recently in the 20th century, the advent of computers and digital design tools transformed the way infographics are created. Today, infographics are used in a wide range of fields, from journalism and advertising to science and education.


In summary, while the term “infographics” may be relatively new, the use of visual representations to convey complex information has a long and rich history. From ancient hieroglyphs to modern digital designs, infographics continue to be a powerful tool for communicating complex data in a clear and compelling way.

So now you know what infographics are, can you think of a way to utilise infographics into your next project… and when you do, give me a call. 01332 517544

More examples of infographics here.