Forty Infographics

Infographics visualise data and interpret information in order to improve understanding. They are popular because they bring together data, design, and storytelling. A well-designed infographic makes it easy to share complex information in just seconds. In fact, infographics are liked and shared on social media three times as much as any other type of content.

Since it first appeared in January 2017, each issue of JONO Design e-news has included a brand new infographic. The one below is the 40th to be published, and illustrates the variety of ways – from maps, to charts and diagrams – that JONO Design has used infographics to visualise data and information and tell a story.

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forty infographics

The origins of the infographic

The publication of the 40th JONO Design e-news infographic coincides with the 200th anniversary of the death of William Playfair (1759-1823), a Scotsman who is credited with creating the first infographic - not to be confused with his more famous architect nephew, William Henry Playfair (1790-1857), who designed many notable buildings in Edinburgh, including the National Gallery of Scotland.

William Playfair’s innovation was to illustrate statistical information visually, simplifying data to make it more easily understood. He invented the time series graph or line chart, as well as the bar chart, in 1786, and the pie chart in 1801. Playfair established many of the basic conventions for graphs and charts that make them easier to read and understand, such as titles, grid lines, labels, captions and colour.

For example, by combining a line and bar chart, he creatively compared the price of wheat with income data to show that wheat prices were increasing faster than income, at a time when it was largely thought that rising wages were causing the price of wheat to go up.

This infographic appeared in JONO Design e-news. The e-news is published once every couple of months and each issue contains a specially designed infographic.

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William Playfair chart

Types of infographic

Infographics can draw on various means to visualise information, including maps, illustrations diagrams, charts and dashboards.

Maps convey demographic or location-based information, and can be used to demonstrate changes and comparisons at different scales, from the local to the global.

An illustrative infographic uses information in a graphic way, sharing a story or weaving data into a picture in a manner which is more abstract.

Diagrams can be used to demonstrate processes or illustrate lists, from highlighting top tips, to summarising information. A timeline diagram shows how something has developed or illustrates a sequence, which can be used to highlight key events or milestones.

Different types of charts can be used to make an impact by visualising data in a way that draws out the key points and messages that need to be made.

Dashboards use a variety of different visual techniques to bring together a number of data points in order to convey a range of information about a subject.

JONO Design e-news

The infographics can be viewed in the e-news archive or on the infographics page. Each issue also has articles on design projects, and tips for using Microsoft Word.

Sign up to get the next issue of the e-news delivered to your inbox. There are six issues each year, published every other month.


Friendly, M. (2006). A Brief History of Data Visualization. In Handbook of Computational Statistics: Data Visualization. Springer-Verlag.

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