This infographic, from the July 2011 edition of National Geographic magazine, is an excellent example of graphic design. As its name suggests, an infographic communicates information in a visual (graphic) format. Three major components of graphic design make this graphic a good one: the use of text, color, and design.

This infographic provides information about how and where the artist (John Tomaino) obtained his data. There is not too much detail, however. A good infographic conveys most information visually, not through text.

The graphic's colors perfectly reflect the subject matter. The infographic is about agricultural produce. Orange, green, and yellow are "earth tones" associated with food, including some displayed in the graphic itself (orange squash, green peas, and yellow corn). The same design using blacks or hot pinks, for instance, would not be as effective.

The infographic's design also reflects its subject matter. Plants, like the produce varieties shown, take root below the earth and sprout above it. The infographic reflects this by loosely grouping all the charted information on a single "stem" near the "horizon" of the page. The dwindling varieties of each crop are easy to follow from the thick lines near the robust upper number to the thin lines near the lower number. Additionally, the artist uses the same small symbol (icon) at each end of the crop's chart.

chart
Noun

diagram, often in the form of a graph or table, with information on the relationships between the subjects represented.

communicate
Verb

to exchange knowledge, thoughts, or feelings.

component
Noun

part.

convey
Verb

to communicate or make known.

Noun

agricultural produce.

data
Plural Noun

(singular: datum) information collected during a scientific study.

dwindle
Verb

to shrink.

earth tone
Noun

color grouping that includes warm browns, tans, grays, greens, oranges, and reds.

effective
Adjective

useful or able to perform a task.

Noun

material, usually of plant or animal origin, that living organisms use to obtain nutrients.

graphic design
Noun

art of combining images, textual information, numerical data, and ideas into a unified product of visual communication.

Noun

line where the Earth and the sky seem to meet.

icon
Noun

an image or person used to represent something.

infographic
Noun

visual representation of data. Also called information graphic or graphic.

National Geographic magazine
Noun

monthly journal of the National Geographic Society, which features articles, images, and maps about geography, science, history, and culture.

obtain
Verb

to get or take possession of.

produce
Noun

agricultural products such as vegetables and fruits.

robust
Adjective

healthy and strong.

root
Noun

part of a plant that secures it in the soil, obtains water and nutrients, and often stores food made by leaves.

stem
Noun

main stalk of a plant.

symbol
Noun

something used to represent something else.

visual
Adjective

having to do with sight (vision).