The History of Christmas Cookies

Dec 17, 2010 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Featured, Food & Drink
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The folks over at AllCulinarySchools.com, a website that links prospective culinary students to some of the best accredited culinary schools in the nation, created their first infographic recently. This infographic is an OK first try, but there are many sites in the education space producing infographics today, so as they continue to build infographics, AllCulinarySchools.com will have to raise the bar. Upon submitting the infographic, AllCulinarySchools said the following:

I’m sure you probably enjoy these delicious sugary treats known as Christmas Cookies that come around this time every year, but have the baking habits of certain family members reached a level of obsession to make you question their sanity? Worry no more friends; here we have the history of Christmas Cookies info-graphic explaining why they are such a big deal and where all these scrumptious cookies came from. With traditions that date back to the 16th century and cookies coming from countries all across the world it’s pretty easy to see why they are important. Read through this info-graphic to find out what part of your history has a little bit of Christmas Cookie in it!

All in all, there are many pros and cons to this infographic. Let’s start with some of the pros: the title image is great! Using sugar cookies to spell out the title really draws the eye into the infographic. The pictures have some funny word bubbles that act as Easter eggs filled with wit, which is also nice. I also really like the cookie crumbs throughout the infographic, but they don’t blend in with the background completely, so if you look really close you can see that they are cut out stock images and see where they were cut. This is very subtle, and the intention was good.

Now for a few cons: an infographic is meant to provide viewers with a visual representation of information, not another thing to read. This is a problem I come across time and time again, especially with companies that produce their first infographic. The design is OK, but it’s mainly stock photos surrounding a great deal of text. Infographics should have as little text as possible because they are meant to be taken in quickly… if the same thing can be displayed in an article by adding just a few images, then it shouldn’t be made into an infographic.

The general idea is great, but there should be a time line with actual dates popping out. The best time line infographic out there (and many would agree) is the history of beer, which shows a great time-line with a ton of images to offset all of the content. Dates are bolded, important numbers and data points are a different font/color/font-weight, etc. This allows someone to browse the infographic quickly and gather all relevant information, it also encourages sharing of the infographic, as it provides a fun and easy to digest way of supplying a large amount of data. This could have been accomplished by making the font more legible on the infographic, as that much text is hard to read with the current font. Next, important dates and points could have been bolded. It would also be nice to include data points like the number of Christmas cookies consumed each year, sales numbers for Christmas cookies, etc. These points can be shown in graphs to off set all the text.

The designer did a great job of opening and closing the infographic, and tied in branding quite well. Branding is highly important so that an infographic can be shared without another company taking credit for it. Whoever wrote the copy gets points too, as the text is very funny if you’re willing to take the time to read through it… but the key point here is “read” which is usually counterproductive to an infographic.

Ultimately, the infographic is a good first try, but next time AllCulinarySchools.com should focus more on displaying information with images and making the imagery and design more prominent and important. Text should be an after thought for any infographic that will go viral.

PS – do you wonder why I wrote so much this time around? Well, our boss knows some people at AllCulinarySchools.com, so she asked me to write up a thorough review, but if you ask me to do the same for any of your submissions, I will :-)



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