So, when we five bright-eyed journos were first introduced to infographics, we were under the illusion that it was a new phenomenon. That these fun and colorful little visual thrills were a recent development in the world of news and reporting.
I had never really given much thought to these new representations of information. Of course in my subconscious I had noticed that the page had become a bit more joyous: “Oh, The Times have suddenly decided to put the death-toll of seagulls in the Mexico gulf in multi-colour, how lovely.”
But, what I didn’t really think about was the fact that infographics have been around for aaaaages. Way back when, when printing became widespread, I’m talking before newspapers were around, there were infographics. Look at this visual aid from 1812, charting the progression of Napoleon’s campaign
and this brilliantly weird 1890’s representation of the American political parties of the time
source: http://www.nickpage.co.uk, see the zoomable version at this site- http://www.historyshots.com/viewzoom.cfm?loc=parties
This is a nice presentation of Clapham Common and the gentry who lived around there at the time. This is dated back to 1800
this one is very fun, an inforgraphic of all the speakeasies around Harlem in the prohibition times
So as you can see infographics have been around for a while!