Infographics are a great way to communicate complex ideas, show processes or hierarchy or summarize detailed information.
Creating infographics that are engaging and well-designed is not as difficult as it first appears. There are numerous free and paid SaaS that gives you all the tools, hints and tips you need to design an infographic that looks great and reflects your brand.
What you do need to know are the following 5 tips to ensure that your infographic sends the right message to your target audience. Let’s take a look at what elements you need to ensure your infographic works to communicate with your audience.
Outline the goals of your infographic
An infographic can be used to:
- Provide a topic overview
An infographic can be used to share an outline or a new idea, or guide people through a new concept
- Explain and simplify a complex process
New processes can cause a lot of confusion. A process infographic that your audience can use as a reference can help people follow the steps. They are great for abstract concepts, such as management mindsets.
- Display research findings or survey data
Survey data displayed as an infographic makes the information more digestible because your data becomes a story. This works well for survey data on social media, in a blog post, or a white paper.
- Summarize a long blog post or report
By summarizing key points in an infographic your audience is able to scan the information and better retain the details.
- Compare and contrast multiple options
A comparison infographic is a visual way to compare product, plans, arguments, and ideas.
- Raise awareness about an issue or cause
Infographics tend to attract high views and share rates as information are presented in ways that make it easy for people to understand quickly.
Once you know the goals of your infographic you are able to decide which style you need to adopt. You need to keep in mind the overall aim – to communicate your information in a visual way that is easy to access, understand and retain, without overwhelming your audience.
Your infographic should communicate information that you’ve gathered to create a story. To ground your story, you need to add statistics, data or facts. If the information you are using is not from your own sources, you can look to other sources for the supporting information you need.
- Refine your Google searches
Google is often the best place to start your search. Target your Google searches more efficiently with symbols and data-specific search terms.
- Search existing data repositories
There are many governmental organisations that share their data online free, as well as market researchers and even businesses.
Visualize the data in your infographic
Deciding on the best way to present your data is based on your answer to question 1, the aim of your infographic. Your infographic will primarily do one of the following:
- reveal relationships or
Deciding which of these goals you want to fulfil will inform the layout of your infographic.
You want to convey an important message or data point that doesn’t require many contexts to understand. You can use boxes of text with icons or donuts and graphs with bold fonts and colors.
You want to show similarities or differences among values or parts of a whole. A comparison infographic will help draw parallels between multiple pieces of data. A bar chart, column chart or bubble chart can be used to compare independent values.
You want to show trends over time or space. A timeline or bar chart is one way to show change.
You want to show groups, patterns, rank or order. You can list, do a flowchart, a Venn diagram or mind map with boxes.
To reveal complex relationships among things, use a scatter plot to display two variables for a set of data or a multi-series plot to compare multiple sets of related data.
The explore chart is the most fluid and open of all the styles. You want your audience to find their own way through the information, which is all interconnected without too much structure, but which is visually appealing.
Layout the elements of your infographic design
The layout and design can seem difficult to understand the first few times you create an infographic if you are not a designer. There are some things to keep in mind that will help you to improve on each new design that you create.
- Create a natural flow of information
You are telling a story, so begin with the most important information. Remember to answer questions with your infographic, such as;
- where and
- why or how
While your infographic might not answer all these questions, it gives you a start point for seeing the flow of information.
- Use a grid layout to add structure and balance to your infographic
Keep your infographic ordered and clear by using a layout that is structured, such as 2 columns divided into 6 squares. This makes it visually appealing and easy to navigate.
- Use a centred, single-column design layout for content with linear flow.
- Use a two-column design layout to make comparisons.
- Consider a multi-section layout when reading order is less important.
Whatever style you choose, ensure that your infographic is balanced so that it is visually appealing. Using a template for the first few infographics you create so you can become confident with layouts over time.
- Make an infographic with a ready-made infographic template
Infographic templates that you can customise with your data, brand and colors are a great way to learn about the more complex elements of infographics.
Add style to your infographic design
The design elements of your infographic are vital to its overall success.
- Pick fonts for your infographic
Keep fonts simple. You should use no more than 3 font types in your infographic and they should, ideally, be from the same family of fonts. Usings the san serif family is the best place to begin as they are readable fonts with many variations.
- Use repetition, consistency, and alignment in your infographic
Add some extra graphic elements to give your compositions visual appeal. Repeat basic shapes to reinforce the underlying grid or use basic shapes to emphasize headers and list elements. Icons can be added to highlight points, or background images to give infographics a polished feel. The most important thing to remember is alignment. Any elements that are not centred correctly will pull the eye and distract your audience.
- Use negative space in your infographic design
Negative space, or whitespace, is one of the most important aspects of design. You should leave space around each main element grouping in your infographic and create borders, breaks and space. This makes it easier to immediately understand which elements are grouped together.
- How to pick colors when you design an infographic
Color is a powerful communication tool. You can add color to highlight important information or to group related elements. Color communicates your brand too. Learn color relationships so that your infographic is appealing, not blinding. Try again to use 3 colours as well as white space to create a peaceful image.
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