Critique: The truth about false accusation

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In light of the recent events on UF’s campus, I selected an infographic by the designer Paul Pierson as the subject of my critique. The infographic is part of a blog post titled “The truth about false accusation” from the website “The Enliven Project” which aims to educate readers on the prevalence of rape and sexual assault.

This is a topic that I am especially passionate about, and wish got more publicity and public discourse.

As a stand-alone graphic, the visual powerfully conveys a simple message: that the myth of women falsely accusing men of rape is completely unfounded. The striking simplicity and use of a neutral color scheme draws the eyes to two main points on the graphic.

The first: the ten figures in red at the top right of the graphic, depicting the small number of rapists that are actually incarcerated in proportion the vast number of them that are never even reported. The second point on the graphic that draws attention are the two black figures at the bottom left of the graphic, representing the number of people falsely accused of rape. Again, the simple, non-obstructive design allows the viewer to understand the minuscule numbers of false accusations and jailed rapists in comparison to the much larger number of figures depicted in the visual (as the 1000 beige figures).

While the visual does convey the simple message effectively, a few features of it are distracting or not creative, and could have been improved upon by a few simple changes.

First, the color scheme of the graphic could have been more eye-catching. While the drab beige colors do convey a gravitas in regards for the somber subject matter, for the purpose of an infographic, a slightly more dynamic palette would have been more attention grabbing and visually appealing.

Second, the font design and/or typography of the visual could have been done in a more stylized manner. The message is not lost in the present font, but to make the infographic more visually appealing, there could have been a more effective way of communicating the seriousness of the issue other than the default Arial font headings which, to be frank, is boring.

Third, the orientation of the graphic does not follow a left-to-right, top-to-bottom flow. My eyes had to skip around the page to understand the message. Again, the message is not lost, but could have been conveyed more effectively with better formatting. Something that would draw the eyes in a more organized flow would be a better design for this infographic.

The text that accompanied this visual in the blog post cited the sources of the statistics used, and explained how to percentages were calculated for use in this visual – not very intriguing or interesting information, but necessary nonetheless to accompany a statistics heavy infographic like this.

Overall, the message is simple, clear, powerful, and well conveyed. While the color palette, typography, and formatting could use improvement and a little more creativity, one could argue that because the message was very well apparent, this visual was a success.

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