Today the USDA launched the new MyPlate graphic to replace the old nutrition pyramid. From an info graphic standpoint this is a huge improvement. The graphic is simple and easy to understand at a glance. The use of a plate instead of a pyramid allows the graphic to immediately translate to a real world usage model and takes away the need for complicated measurements. Info graphics are meant to take complex information and explain it quickly and clearly. In order to achieve this, the concept needs to be boiled down to the most vital information and extraneous content needs to be eliminated for the sake of clarity. This is where the new graphic succeeds, where the updated MyPyramid (launched in 2005) failed. MyPyramid is a perfect example of an info graphic gone wrong and screams of design/decision making by committee. I can perfectly picture the countless meetings that must have occurred where each stake holder chimed in with “can you just add this, what about that?, oh and don’t forget that, oh and last but not least, add some stairs on one side so that we can communicate the importance of exercise as well”. The result is a graphic that includes everything but communicates nothing. In this case less is definitely more.
I must say, visually, I still prefer the earliest USDA guidelines — “Basic 7″, that were used from 1943 to 1956. But from an info graphic stand point, MyPlate, is the most successful by far.