“The word is limited and cannot name the unnameable” (Indian proverb) (1)
There are things that cannot be putted into words but a gaze, a gesture, a hug, a kiss say thousand of them. Lewis Hine, photographer of war, when was asked why he had chosen that profession replied that if he could tell everything he saw in words he would not need to carry with a camera all day.
Maybe for the same reason our life is composed on images, frozen moments in the time. However, memory is selective, we cannot memorize everything, in fact forgetting is a necessity. An unconscious mental process recent study reveals that people receive about 40 billion sensory stimuli per second, but we are only aware of 40 in any of these times (2).
We remember what is most representative or more easily assimilated by our mind, which is mainly iconographic (we are 90% visual), i.e., we think on pictures. In the encoding phase of memory is when received stimuli are transformed into mental representations. Then a good visual concept, properly sized and adjusted is retained in the mind more easily than complex and limited elaborations as the words are. It means that we remember better those things which are seen (visual memory) than words. The mind even when notices a sound stimulus, will translate it into images. For example, if you hear a horn, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? A car, but you don´t think on the word “car”, right? Because your mind thinks on pictures.
The value of the symbol
In Eastern cultures the symbol is understood and practiced in each stratum and scope of the social structure. In India, specially, a very revered statement says, “the word is limited and can not name the unnamable”. But even the written word itself is actually a visual symbol, a form, encrypted and stored, immediately interpreted and translated into images when is perceived.
The composition of the message
The composition will ensure us the success of our communication. It is the arrangement of different elements in a plane: shapes, text, images, textures and colours. The infographic works on some assumptions that guarantee composition effectiveness: unity, variety, contrast, emphasis, repetition, rhythm, modulation, movement, balance and hierarchy. Susan Weinschenk wrote on 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know that people learn better through examples (do not tell people, show them what they should do) and also advised to use these images. (3) Therefore, in the infographic produced by our team for CacheFly in 2012, we used a visual metaphore (visual example) to show and explain a complex distribution system.
In our century, the look has changed completely; now we seek visual simplicity and effectiveness against the long speeches of yesteryear. Now we become subtler and play with the creation and linking of creative elements to make us understand universally beyond stigmatic barriers of language, culture, social status or gender. So now appears the urgent need for infographics, which summarizes these qualities in a perfect and creative harmony beyond the traditional use of the written word.
Ernesto Olivares Visual Information proposes infographic solutions to all industries and business needs. Our work stands out because we use a process of research and development of concepts and visual solutions, based on the information and knowledge of our customers. In this manner, we transform complex systems and concepts into clearly graphics that help transmit messages with added value to the audience.
(1) Calle, R. (2006). 101 Cuentos Clásicos de la India, La elocuencia del Silencio. EDAF, page 6.
(2) Weinschenk, S (2011). 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know, New Riders, Berkeley, page 122.
(3) Weinschenk, S (2011). 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know, New Riders, Berkeley, page 167.