The human story behind the refugee crisis...or just facts?

What’s the point of an infographic? To provoke action? Shift attitudes? Make an emotional impact? Or that most dreaded aspiration of all: “create awareness”?

Have a look at the very clear, well designed image below (from Statista). It sums up in a single frame probably the greatest tragedy of our lifetime: people abandoning their homes and livelihoods and exposing themselves to appalling risks as a result of war.

More people than live in most large capital cities, just seeking safety.

So should this graphic be trying to capture more of the human impact? The child silhouette on the left looks rather cute, (“he’ll be fine”), and he’s there with his mum and dad and younger sibling, a typical comfortable nuclear family out for a walk. The vector graphic style looks clean, the typography is tight and well organized, the colour palette calm and neutral.

And I reckon that’s fine. This image is about clear and simple presentation of information. It’s not out to tell a story. That’s where animation comes in. So if we were to take this data and create an animated version, it would be incumbent on us to tell a story, create a mood. At that point I personally would start turning the emotional screws a little, and the whole purpose of the piece would shift.

Click the image to enlarge it