With diminishing attention spans, more information than most know what do with, and few ways to sort it, how do you make your information stand out? A well structured infographic has the ability to convey boring or complex ideas in a fun, easy to digest way.
Back to basics. INFO-graphics.
The key to a good infographic is using relevant, focused, and reliable data. Before you write or design, get to know your audience. Why are they interested in your topic? How much do they already know? Do they have preconceived ideas or opinions about your topic? Answering these questions will help form more relevant data and visuals. An infographic should be a visual presentation of evidence, with purpose and direction, not just an excuse to use pretty pictures. Don’t include facts just to up your word count. Make sure your facts and data support the overall story and have a purpose.
Especially when choosing a controversial topic to be thorough and speak to both sides of the story. Think through the topics possible arguments and counter arguments. Use facts, statistics, and authority quotes that are unbiased.
You don't need to include every piece of information.
Use as little text as possible and let the visuals do the rest of the talking. Present the data in a visually pleasing way, stating hard evidence. Facts, statistics, and quotes from authorities should be used more than lengthy sections of text. Cite your sources. Always give credit where credit is due, and use reputable sources.
Thinking outside the box is great. Just make sure you are still making sense. Don’t use confusing comparisons or complicated visuals. Lead the audience through the infographic using both text and visuals.
An infographic should tell a story.
An infographic should not just make data interesting, but help the reader understand it better than text alone. Don’t rely on the reader to do the work. Guide them through the information as clearly and simply as possible. Data visualizations draw attention and give importance to seemingly boring facts. The right visuals can distill a difficult concept or lots of data into an easily digestible image that should only take 5 seconds to understand.
“An infographic is 30 times more likely to be read than a purely textual article.”
Use the right visuals for your data.
Display the data using a variety of charts and graphs. Make sure to choose the right graph or format for the data you are sharing. Always check that the graph makes sense visually, without the need for extensive knowledge on the subject or heavy reading. Below are a list of a few types of graphs and charts that can be used in creating an infographic.
- Bar chart
- Line chart
- Pie chart
- Stacked bar
- Stacked column
- Scatter plot
- Bubble Chart
Use simple graphics that help tell a story and tie into your data. Don’t overcomplicate an idea with busy illustrations. Use a limited color palette to keep your audience focused on the information. Consider color theory. Do the colors help tell the story? Why?
Don’t be afraid of white space. Allow your content to breathe.
The typical infographic should be no more than 5000 pixels tall—this size allows for easy reading and sharing; anything longer will likely lose the audience's attention. Make sure the font is a healthy size and easy to read. An infographic is NOT an entire article with icons and images sprinkled in. Infographics, if created and used correctly, can communicate complex data in a visually pleasing way that can get you more clicks, views, and shares.
“‘Infographics’ is one efficient way of combining the best of text, images, and design to represent complex data that tells a story that begs to be shared." - Jeff Bullas