Infographics pack stories – you unzip the meaning

The way I see infographics it’s not just to tell a story. That was the purpose an infographic was originally intended to serve.

I see it performing a different function in a media-saturated world. Fighting the attention economy!

Inception infographic

Take a look at this. It’s not evident first what it’s trying to ‘say’ about the movie.

It’s a way of letting the reader unpack a level of meaning that would be different from the next reader.  It’s perfect for movies and complex narratives, where there is no one universal meaning. Great directors compress ideas and leave it for moviegoers to discover those nuances.

Oddly enough, journalism and advertising works in the opposite direction –even though both like to be also known as genres of storytelling. They like to bring pure clarity, and therefore unpack the details for the audience. (Check this simple, timely one on BP’s spending.) Worked until about five years ago. Today, consumers, newspaper readers (some call them media snackers for good reason!) don’t want that level of explanation.

Maybe you don’t have the capacity to embed an infographic into your commmunictaion, but you could learn the secret of leaving the reader to unzip his or her own meaning.

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