One of the reasons illustrations can be so useful in conveying meaning is because unlike photographs, they provide information without being too specific. By moving away from the more concrete images on the Realism Continuum (i.e. photos) concepts can be brought down to their most relevant components, without the distraction of background elements or irrelevant details.
In week 3 of Vector we looked at Isotypes “International System of TYpographic Picture Education“, which are a way of showing the connection between information through pictures. Some aspects of Isotypes to keep in mind when using them to depict information:
- They’re used to visually educate;
- Differences in amounts are generally represented by repeating the same symbol, rather than increasing its size;
- Colours and shapes can be used to represent connection (with colour being the dominant connection);
- For the sake of clarity, they’re rarely shown in a perspective view.
(Neurath, 2010; Medley, 2013)