The top 10 worst infographics of all time

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In a previous article we covered some of the most common infographic design flaws, including: inappropriate sources, a lack of narrative structure, poor design and inadequate data visualizations. Partly for constructive criticism and partly for good humor, here are 10 of the most potent examples of what to avoid when constructing an infographic.

10. Attack of the contrasting color schemes

Stare at this work of art for 10 minutes and try not to get a migraine. In addition to the hideous clash of colors, the graph itself is inherently flawed. The Y axis represents the percentage change in violent crime since 1990, with all cities starting at 100%. While this style of format helps us to understand which cities have become more or less violent in the ensuing years, any comparison between the cities is futile because the actual crime figures aren’t shown.

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9. A lesson in maths

If you add up the percentages for the different characteristics described in this infographic, you would get a 243% baby boomer! This infographic was designed to show the results of a survey, and if the different characteristics were conveyed in a separate charts it would have actually made sense. As it is, it just looks as if someone forgot how to count.

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8. Where is England?

The Atlanta Falcons, a professional NFL team, produced this peculiar infographic which depicts London, England, located in Spain. The infographic also claims that the team will take 3 planes to London, but then states that they will be flying from Atlanta to Baltimore, and then from Baltimore to London (two flights). 

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7. Irony

Here is a particularly underwhelming infographic about how to make good infographics. The information presented in this infographic is actually useful, however, an infographic is supposed to be a graphic.This is merely a blog post with some colorful decorations.

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6. Spot the subtle innuendo

No words necessary.

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5. Proofreading not required

From 2010/2011 to 2011/2012, approximately 7% more nurses were recruited in New South Wales, Australia. However, judging by the graph you would be led to believe that there was a 700% increase in nurses recruited. It’s a good idea to check your work for errors before it gets uploaded!

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4. Random blocks

In certain situations, a traditional bar chart is the best way to elucidate a set of data. When using bar charts however, it’s important that the length of the bars actually correlate to the statistics at hand, otherwise the bars look more like random blocks - woops!

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3. Data loss

This infographic shows why it’s important to keep the slices of a pie chart in proportion. 

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2. Barnyard absurdity

What is a startut? What is the correlation between the amount of chickens and the amount of workers? In fact, why would you choose barnyard animals to represent startup workers in the first place? Some concepts should really be discarded before the design phase commences.

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1. Severe design flaws

Some infographics are beautifully crafted works of art, and some are not. From the grey and brown color scheme to the unfortunate choice of font, this infographic represents pure ugliness. As for the charts themselves, let’s not even go there.

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Conclusion

This post isn’t meant to be a scathing attack on the aforementioned designers, but rather a cautionary tale of what to avoid when designing an infographic. Just because you have an interesting set of data doesn’t mean it should be turned into an infographic; sometimes it’s better to present your information as a standard blog post, white paper or periodical article. However, if you’re convinced that your idea for an infographic is golden, then it’s worth following through correctly. This entails taking your time with the research and copywriting, creating a preliminary draft of the infographic, diligently completing the design work, going through multiple iterations and most importantly, proofreading the infographic before you upload it.