Infographics have emerged as really effective tools for simplified visual representation of various forms of big data. On a year-on-year basis, usage of infographics for business-to-business (B2B) as well as business-to-consumer (B2C) content marketing has been increasing steadily over the last 6-8 quarters. Researches have shown that, infographics have up to 3 times more potential shareability on social media, compared to regular posts. In today’s discourse, we will provide some handy tips and pointers for making focused, high-quality infographics:
- Create for your audience -A good infographic is one that manages to become popular among its niche audience. You need to be absolutely clear about the target group of people who would be interested in your infographic. Stay away from the mistake of putting generic content in your infographic, in a bid to reach out to everyone. Every infographic has a specific purpose and should appeal to a particular set of people. If you make something too generic, no one will be interested in it.
- Prepare a point of focus – For an infographic to be engaging enough to viewers, it has to capture their attention first. Ideally, you should prepare a central graphic element, that would draw in the audience from the very outset. Once that is accomplished, the other graphics and text content can keep the viewers on your infographic. It’s all about getting your users onboard, and keeping them there.
- Tell a story – Every infographic should have a central theme – with every section following a story narrative. Make sure that the different sections of your visual graphic do not seem unconnected in any way. The infographic should have a proper structure and a smooth flow – which would be easy to understand and follow for general viewers. All the different elements (graphics, text, images, etc.) should be related with each other.
- Pay attention to the graphics – An infographic is supposed to showcase ‘information’ through ‘graphics’, right? If too much of text content is crammed in an infographic – with the presence of graphic elements being fairly weak – that would defeat the very purpose of making the infographic. Start off with determining the type of graphics you would like to include – and make these the most important component of your infographic. Remember, ‘visual information’ should always get precedence over ‘written information’ in infographics.
- Keep things organized – A poorly formatted infographic is a worthless infographic – it’s as simple as that. Avoid trying to include too much of information within a single infographic, since that would (understandably) make it appear cluttered. You can break up your infographic in separate (connected) categories, and add the visual elements under each category. The infographic needs to be easily scannable – and people should get an idea of the information it contains even BEFORE reading the text information.
- Go for consistency – The color palettes you use in an infographic, the fonts you add, the images you include – all of them have to follow a consistent theme. Do not make the infographic too colourful (!), and stick to a few set colours throughout. The font sizes and styles should remain constant as well (obviously, the more important points or headers should be in larger font). The overall stylization of your infographic should be consistent and neatly streamlined. Too many variations – and it might start looking unprofessional.
- Small information. Important information – That’s what each section of your infographic should provide. Keep in mind that most people casually glance through infographics they come across the first time – and they typically look for byte-sized, valuable information. Do not club in too much of information in a single section. Your audience might simply skip it.
- Whitespace is your friend – There is a difference between making optimal use of the available space, and filling it all up with complex stats and figures. Make it a point to keep sufficient white space/blank space in every section of your infographic – so that the reader has no difficulty in scanning the information presented in them. As a rule of thumb, the smallest font size you use in your infographic should be easily readable. Smart use of whitespace makes infographics readable at a glance – and that is one must-have quality.
- Make use of visual metaphors – Professional graphic designers opine that visual metaphors, when used correctly, can go a long way in livening up an infographic. For instance, ‘race metaphors’ (a set of figures running towards a finish line on racetrack) can fit in well, in an infographic on how fast different countries are growing. While designing an infographic on mobile app development, consider presenting the information on the screens of different smart devices (phone, tablet, etc.). In a real estate-related graphic, how about attaching the information to building figures?
- Choose the ideal size – Infographics that are too small are hardly of any use. Those that are too big have to be resized/downsized – which often affects readability. Ideally, the height of an infographic should never go beyond 5000 pixels, while the width has to be within 740 pixels. In case you have lots of valuable information to present, you can create a longer infographic – but never cross the 8000 pixels mark (that’s where you will start to lose viewers). Keep in mind the filesize of your infographic too, which should not be more than 1.5-1.7 MB. Make sure that your infographic loads easily even on slow connections, and is properly viewable on all devices.
- Headline matters – A strong, attention-grabbing headline is worth its weight in gold in an infographic. Keep all the headlines within 70-75 characters (3 to 4 words), and use appropriate colours and styles to make them stand out. Also, the heading of a section should drop hints about what information is present under it – and not simple state it. If the heading has all the data, why would anyone bother to read through the graphics that are present under it?
- Focus on the quality of data – Research is easily the most important task before you start to design an infographic. Pull up data from authentic, reliable sources and ensure that they are presented correctly through the graphic elements used. Avoid using any information – however interesting it might be – that is outdated. Instead of focusing on inferences, place more importance on presenting raw data (percentages and decimals and numbers). The human brain can process stats more easily when they can be viewed (instead of, say, heard).
- Mention your data sources – This is an extension of the previous point. Unless you specify the sources from which you have sourced the data in your infographic, the latter might not seem credible enough to the viewing audience. You can place the sources either within the infographic (right at the bottom), or just below it. You know that the information you have provided is authentic…and the users have to be convinced about the same too!
- Don’t get too funky with graphic formatting – You can present data in all sorts of wacky ways in an infographic. However, not all of these styles are equally easily readable – and generally, bar graphs and pie charts still work the best. To make sure that your infographic does not seem boring, use custom 3D graphics on the bar graphs, data cards, and other visual elements. Make your work original, but do not make it too unique for its own good.
- Make the infographic easily shareable – If your infographic goes viral, there’s nothing like it. Give your audience all possible opportunities to share an infographic on social media channels. The social sharing buttons should be present right next to the infographic, making things convenient for viewers. You need to do your bit of sharing as well – on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and, if possible, on SlideShare. To enhance the reach of your infographics, you can embed it in your blog posts too.
While presenting data comparisons, select the correct scale (particularly important when the compared data vary widely). On the web, you can consider adding interactive features in an infographic as well. Arranging big, complex data ‘beautifully’ on an infographic is hardly difficult – and with these tips, you can get started easily.