One of the most frequently-appearing types of infographic might be referred to as the “numbers parade” (it lacks an official name), in which survey results or a series of numerical facts are presented to readers in pumped-up typography. But while quantitative information can indeed be important to convey, it is essential to do so in a manner that sets the numbers in context, and attempts to use visuals to add value to them — rather than simply draw attention to them. The legal infographic on the left uses a timeline to demonstrate the frequency and amounts of “whistleblower” awards by the SEC, and proportionally-sized bars above enable the comparison of aggregate award amounts in adjacent calendar years. Rather than being unspooled in a loosely-related string of “wow!” factoids, numbers here are displayed and emphasized as part of a logical narrative structure, and positioned in deliberate relation to each other.

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