Infogasm!: the virtues and snares of visual storytelling

Visual alerted me to a fabulous article this morning, which, rightly, should be read if solely for its title, “This Chart is a Lonely Hunter“.  In a world of hyperlinks and hashtags, where information is abundant and meaning is hard to find, visual storytelling takes on a new potency.  Have you ever had that wild feeling of clarity and satisfaction, looking at a beautiful graphic depiction of, say, the 2008 election, the European debt crisis, or perhaps human bloodshed in the last century?

Author Reif Larsen coins the term ‘infogasm‘ to help us name these satisfying moments, and leads us to the recently-published Visual Storytelling: Inspiring a New Visual Language as an introduction to the brave new world of data visualization.  But there’s more: do images make these complex issues more simplistic than they really are?  See an excerpt from Daniel Kahneman’s new book for an example of how dangerous it is to think too fast.  More importantly, are there some things that just cannot, or should not, be depicted visually?

I could say more, but Larsen does it so well already, I think I’ll just let you read his article.

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