I have a mentor who once asked me what “Perfectionism” is. If you have never attempted to define perfect, then give it your best shot. As subjective as any response would be, it was best described to me as follows: Being perfect is being able to perform the balancing act of every situation.
Being able to balance disappointment with contentment, family with work, and (in this case) art with data. That’s it…a balance. Perfection is something that is strived for and sought after rather than achieved. Attempting to look for the perfect data visualization or infographic, there not only seems to be looking for the balance between data and art, but also, complexity versus simplicity (see picture above).
Take Toby Ng for example. His use of crisp lines combined with sharp colors produces a beautiful visualization that is simple and easy to understand. Hiding behind the picture though is a complex process to figure out the proportions for each image and to attractively display the data. Although a large data set, it is simple art.
Of course every data visualization has it’s own unique population in which it is designed for. So maybe a very complex visualization is meant for the individuals concerned directly with the topic and he/she is able to disseminate the information without much trouble. When this is the case, an outsider looking at the visualization become confused and disinterested, at best. So yes, if you prefer to sway more toward art than data…call it ART (not data visualization). If you are taking more of a complex approach to the data visualization, then help the general audience be able to understand it. So on and so forth.
Look at a couple of (not so perfect) data visualizations…
Even if perfection is impossible to obtain, pursue it and reach for it with every bit of pride in your hard work. Yes, it may take longer…but reach.