3 Types Of Graphics Used To Record And Communicate

The Merriam-Webster dictionary features five definitions for the term “graphic,” which relate to the visuals people use to record and communicate information in print and online. Your own graphics can contain key visual content alone or be joined with text for clarity. Familiarize yourself with the occasions when the use of graphics such as diagrams, illustrations and photographs are effective. You may find yourself inspired to combine these forms of graphics to better communicate with your audience.

Informative Diagram

Graphic software applications make it possible to produce an assortment of diagrams styles that you may be used to record information and then communicate its illustrated relationships to others. Use diagrams when you need a graphic to record and explain differences or correlations between recorded information. Lines and shapes within diagrams can capture, represent and communicate a wide variety of information — so use a diagram to record data you must share with an audience. Include text to communicate details about the diagram as necessary, especially in circumstances when you are unable to explain what a diagram represents in person.

2 or 3D Illustrations

Hand drawn or computer-generated illustrations can document a process for the audience. Illustrations can be used to record technical information and concepts in a 2-D or 3-D context. Include text, signs and symbols to elaborate on the information within an illustration. Consider recording information or instructions within abstract or realistic illustrations, or use an appropriate illustration style to communicate things that are real or imagined as well. Graphic illustrations can also document things such as feelings, triumphs or challenges and then convey these things to viewers that will deduce meaning without reading text.

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Photographic Images

Common graphic elements in online and print materials are photographic images that are produced with cameras and scanners. These too may be considered graphics that record and communicate, whether they appear in original or modified forms as color or composite images. Use clear photos in situations where you must keep a recording of scenes, events, places and objects. Then, share the images to communicate essential information as necessary, especially on occasions when words will not suffice. Creating a series of photographs makes it possible to record information that would be challenging to convey with text alone.


Diagrams, illustration and photographs can be combined to produce hybrid forms of graphics that you can use to record and communicate information. Consider combining a map with a diagram or a photograph with an illustration to produce a useful graphic. Or, use a chart along with an illustration within a single graphic. There’s no limit to how creative your approach to using graphics can be, as long as your choices record and communicate the ideas, concepts or information you desire to share with others.