Infographics: Text and image combined in a compact format

Technical communication is historically embedded into a broad cultural tradition with references to philosophy, crafts, art and science. Today: Infographics from journalism.

Text by Steffen-Peter Ballstaedt


Infographics: Text and image combined in a compact format

Image: David Sandonato/

The birth of infographics can be traced back to the 18th century. However, the breakthrough of visualization came only in 1990 during the reporting of the second gulf war. Since journalists had less information and hardly any photo material of the war events, the American magazine USA TODAY came up with the idea of presenting at least the weapon arsenal and the troop movements, as well as events at the front, ground gained and lost in the form of combinations of text and images. The graphic form found imitators in many other media.

Now there are numerous agencies offering infographics on all conceivable topics. The German weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT prepares a topic as a one-page infographic every week.

Explanation for the broader public

Communication experts do not agree on a definition for infographics. It is however undeniable that it concerns information shaped by a combination of ...