The Simple Genius of a Good Graphic

In Learning

Now we can navigate information on our own terms — In a TED talk, Tommy McCall makes the connection between graphic literacy and innovation:

Graphics can transmit data with incredible efficiency … Graphicacy — the ability to read and write graphics — is still in its infancy. New chart forms will emerge and specialized dialects will evolve. Graphics that help us think faster or see a book’s worth of information on a single page are the key to unlocking new discoveries. Our visual cortex was built to decode complex information and is a master at pattern recognition. Graphicacy enables us to harness our built-in GPU to process mountains of data and find the veins of gold hiding within.

Robert E Horn developed information mapping as a method of structuring writing to create end user-focused information based on audience needs and the purpose of the information. Also making the connection to innovation, Horn has focused on the field of visual language and extended this to using infographics and visual maps for exploring and resolving wicked problems.

Mark Zao-Sanders from Filtered says: “We asked a few hundred real learners from some of our clients: Which of these methods would be most effective at getting you to learn something, e.g. read an article?” Overwhelmingly, learners signal the importance of visual engagement — “It just looks interesting”.


  • 3 ways to spot a bad statistic
  • For Diana Carry “visualising is thinking“. From a visual literacy and capabilities viewpoint, she reminds us that most young readers can interpret or ‘read’ diagrams and maps long before they can read the same information in words and sentences.