It is obvious that the answer is no. It is impossible to concentrate all the content of a report in an infographic, no matter how complex and extensive it is. However, the answer is not so simple if we formulate the question differently: Can we communicate an entire report or project through an infographic? Now the answer is no longer so clear and the reason lies in the current characteristics of communication.

Nowadays, everyone assumes that communication is becoming more and more visual and less textual. However, this reality is not internalised in many fields (academic, research, institutional, corporate, etc.) where the classic format (more or less extensive document) continues to be the main tool for communicating certain content. This lack of adaptation is causing the social influence of many agents, once relevant in public debate, to dwindle as the new generations move further away from the formats used just two decades ago to transmit certain knowledge.

An infographic, like other visual formats, is a very useful communication tool for a first approach to our target audience. Communicating through a visually attractive infographic is not the same as communicating through a thousand-word press article, a ten-page executive summary or a hundred-page report. An infographic can help us to gain the attention of our audience, which is extremely important in a context where capturing attention is much more difficult due to the amount of information we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Once the attention has been captured and the most important messages and ideas have been conveyed through the infographic, if our reader continues to be interested in our work, he or she will be able to expand the information by accessing our report, duly linked through the infographic.

An infographic is not a substitute for a report, indeed, to make a good infographic you need good background information. But an infographic does have more communicative capacity because it is capable, in a visual way, of transmitting the essence of a set of complex information.

In a recent assignment for the European CreativeWear project, I was commissioned to produce communication materials for a wide audience. One of these materials was an infographic that, in a visual and synthetic way, informed the reader about the purpose of the project, what the main results were and its most important conclusion.

Obviously, this work requires a previous effort of analysis of the complete project report, synthesis and selection of the main messages, structure and organisation of the contents, and finally a graphic design work.

Unfortunately, infographics are still the great forgotten ones in the communication of information and data. But there is no doubt that the future belongs to them.