Surprising new findings on memorable information graphics

Doctoral student Michelle Borkin of Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, recently set out to discover what makes a visual memorable. She discovered several interesting things that can be useful considerations:

1. Six colors or more make an image more memorable than few colors
2. “Human Recognizable Objects” or things that people routinely see in their lives, greatly increase memory retention.
3. Roundness was found to have a favorable impact. Previous research has shown humans love curved shapes, so that tracks well.
4. Clutter was not found to be a bad thing. Although clutter might make something more memorable, it’s important to note that it does NOTHING for comprehension.

Another interesting fact is that charts are universally forgettable because they all begin to look alike.

“Icons, images, and human-recognizable objects will instantly make [a visualization] more memorable,” she says. “But there’s this very careful caveat–and this is me speaking as a viz design person: make sure they’re helping your reader understand the main point of your data.”

The original article and links can be found at Fast Company.