Chapter 1 - The Basics

How to Visually Tell a Story: Article Graphics

The substance of an article graphic is similar to the substance of a copy article. They both have a good story that is logically organized, interesting, and useful.

The difference is that while most article graphics can make good copy articles; not all copy articles can make good article graphics.

That’s because the substance of an article graphic requires something else. It requires visual cues and concepts that are easy to depict through images and graphics. Many types of articles may include visual cues and concepts, but these use them most.

How To’s

How to’s make awesome article graphics because it is often easier to show the steps of a process, rather than explain them.

The example, How To Upcycle Your Broken Mobile Phone Parts into Survival Tools, shows how a step is easily explained through images. This is easier than explaining how to do this step through words alone.

How to IG

Curation and Lists

Curated lists make great article graphics when the elements of the list are easy to display with visuals. Lists with abstract ideas would be difficult to convey through an article graphic, but lists of concrete elements make great infographics.

In this example, Celebrity Misbehavior, the concept is visually interesting because the audience would rather look at celebrities than simply read their names.

IG Celebrity Misbehavior

Flow Charts

Flow charts make great article graphics because the user can walk through a process while easily seeing where they have been, where they could have gone, and where they will ultimately end up. Doing this through text alone is difficult.

In this example, Which Star-Studded Honeymoon Destination Is Right for You?, you can see how a flow chart can take a reader from one place to another in an organized, clean way.

IG Flow Chart

Process

Similar to a flow chart, process article graphics make it easy to show a complicated procedure in a simple way. Information that may get lost in text is easy to track and connect. Readers are able to easily connect the dots without getting lost in chunks of text.

The Journey of Cell Phone Data shows how the use of images and short blurbs can make a process seem fun, interesting, and less confusing.

Process IG

Diagrams

Diagrams make good article graphics because they break down an object into manageable parts that are easy to identify and place. Drawings, arrows, and description blurbs explain in a visual way that text cannot.

In this example, The Anatomy of the Perfect Desktop, the reader can not only get information about the parts, they can also see where the parts go and what they look like — making it an even more useful resource.

Diagram IG

Timelines

Using timelines as a form of article graphic allows the audience to understand a concept through space and time. The visual makes it easy to see an evolution rather than simply hear about it through text.

See how the information is easy to understand and absorb in the Darwinian Evolution of Photoshop. Information that may have been flat in a copy article is engaging and interesting.

Timeline IG

These are not the only types of article graphics that make good infographics, but they are the ones that work most often. They should also help you understand what it means to “visually tell a story.”

You now know how to visually tell a story through articles with visual cues and concepts. Now, let’s look at how you can tell a story through data visualization.

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