Imagery was widely-used before to convey information before printmaking made its debut in the 1400s.
In fact, only recently has imagery come back as an effective and preferred way to communicate information and data.
As the infographic illustrates, visualized information on the internet, such as photos, gifs, and other interactive elements, has increased 9900% since 2007, and graphical illustrations in books have increased 400% since the 1990s.
It’s how we are wired
The massive increase of visual information isn’t just a behavior evolution of how we prefer information; there are scientific reasons for this as well.
From infancy, humans learn to process information through visual patterns and cues. Only after developing a strong ability to process information visually do we begin to communicate verbally.
This is one reason why we find visual information more digestible than text.
We process visuals faster than text
On a daily basis, we process millions, if not hundreds of millions, of visual stimuli.
Some of these visuals are symbols or logos, which we recognize and identify in an average of 150 milliseconds. Following a symbol’s identification, it only takes an additional 100 milliseconds to process its meaning.
There is a reason why imagery is primarily used to convey important information for activities such as driving: the human brain process visual information 60,000 times faster than text.
Information overload is a real thing
The amount of exposure we have to information is astounding compared to recent history. Today our daily exposure to information is five times higher than our exposure in 1986!