Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

The Roots of the Infographic

October 13th, 2011 · No Comments


I’m almost ashamed to admit how much time I’ve wasted over the past few days sifting through this nifty archive of World War II “newsmaps,” which were essentially weekly progress updates published by the Army’s Special Service Division. Though tinged with the air of propaganda—it’s not like they ever reported on setbacks, and the enemy was crudely stereotyped—the newsmaps were several degrees more sophisticated and informative than your typical wall poster. Especially as the war drew to a close, the newsmaps’ creators tried to educate Americans about the geopolitical challenges that lay ahead. Granted, their efforts may seem a bit facile in hindsight (see above), but they deserve plaudits for pioneering the integration of meaningful text with beautiful artwork. Their shoulders are what today’s infographic masters stand upon.

Highly recommend that you take a few moments today to check out the whole collection, which is hosted by the University of North Texas. The issue that details the planned assault of Japan that never happened is a personal favorite.

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