Infographics are visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. They are incredibly popular in social media, because they work. Here are some of the favorite infographics of Fast Company magazine. And there are, of course, infographics about infographics – even interactive ones.

But what turns an infographic into an infauxgraphic? If it’s ugly, silly, misguided, or misleading.


Some infauxgraphics are just really ugly.

ugly infauxgraphic

ugly infaugraphic2


Some infauxgraphics may just be silly or funny.

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Infauxgraphics may be misguided, and fail in the mission by concentrating on graphic design rather than information design. This is by far the most common problem: the design is visually arresting, but gets in the way of understanding, using pointless or uninteresting facts. Here’s a great spoof adapted from a piece by Phil Gyford – click to see the original in its full glory.

infauxgraphic banner


Worst of all – and heavily used in any area that is even mildly controversial – an infauxgraphic may be unintentionally or deliberately misleading.

Please be merciful to us all – if you have to make infographics, please make sure they’re not infauxgraphics!

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  1. Maarten Vries

    “If you have to make infographics…” – sounds like you’re not really a fan, Timo. Personally, I find a lot of infographics quite cluttered and visually overwhelming, which makes it hard work to understand what they’re actually trying to say. This is probably related to your “misguided”, where people are more concerned about making something look good than actually getting a good message across in the simplest possible way.

  2. Bret Halford

    Recommended reading related to this topic:

    The writings of Edward Tufte, particularly “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information”, “Visual Explanations”, and “Envisioning Information”.

    “How to Lie with Statistics” by Darrell Huff

    “How to Lie with Maps” by Mark Monmonier and H.J. de Blif

    “How to Lie with Charts” by Gerald Everett Jones


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