What is an Infographic?
You may be asking yourself, ‘what is an infographic?’, and the answer is pretty simple. Essentially, an infographic is a visual representation of information. Rather than having blocks and blocks of text that people will never read, you give them the same information in a different way — and in one they will easily understand.
People are visual. In fact, we only remember 20% of what we read. Just imagine all of the important things you read on a daily basis and shrink that down to less than a fourth of what you started with. Kind of scary, huh? We’re visual because our brains are, 90% of what the brain processes is visual in one way or another, and we process it much faster than we do text.
This holds true online as well. The most shared and liked things on social media are images. Traffic has even been shown to increase by as much as 12% when you publish something like an infographic online, your infographic should be educational or entertaining, not a push to buy something.
Designing a Infographic
Utilise the following 10 steps, and you’ll be on well your way to designing some awesome infographics.
01. Process Your Data
Whether you’re responsible for finding all of it or it’s handed over to you, odds are, you’ll be sifting through a ton of information. It’s important to not just skim over it, little nuggets of awesome stuff can be hiding inside all of that text – it’s your job to find it. The information is the most important part, making this the most important step. It is what builds your infographic, after all.
02. Check Your Sources
Make sure all of the information that will be going into your infographic is credible. Just like all of those papers you had to write in school, your infographic is only as credible as its least credible source. Don’t get yourself into trouble by displaying inaccurate information.
03. Have a Story
Having a clear message will result in a successful infographic. Make sure your story is ready to go when you begin your wireframes, you should never start designing until you know what you’re trying to say. The story should dictate the design, not the other way around.
04. Create a Wireframe
A wireframe is just a skeleton of what you’re working with. You should always make it before you begin designing. Laying out where everything will go in advance (including text and images) will save you time and frustration. Using a wireframe will allow you to see if everything flows nicely and makes sense.
05. Set the Tone
Be sure the voice of your infographic matches the subject matter. If it’s serious, be serious. If it’s lighthearted, be lighthearted (you get the picture). If the voice doesn’t match that can be confusing for the reader, and infographics are all about being easy to understand.
06. Think Outside of Type
When you have the opportunity to show something visually, take it (remember, we pay more attention when it’s visual). Don’t rely on fancy typography as a crutch. Utilize illustrations, charts, icons, and graphics as much as you can, it creates more visual interest.
07. Still Consider Your Type
Yes, you were just told to not rely on type. Yes, you are being told to still care about it. Typography is still an important part of infographics when it’s needed. Make sure the typefaces complement each other as well as the graphics you’re using. Type should never detract from your visuals.
08. Control Color
Most infographics will be viewed online, so consider colors that work well on a screen. Avoid bright neon colors that can cause stress to the eyes when viewed online. Keep in mind the majority of social media sites your infographic could be shared on have white backgrounds. Choose a contrasting color to make sure it doesn’t get lost.
Determine a color palette that works. Sticking with three colors is a good rule. If you need more, add shades and tints of the ones you’re working with. If you have trouble coming up with your own color schemes, there are a lot of online resources that create colors schemes for you.
09. Utilize White Space
It is important to let the information breathe. The more white space the less the viewer feels overwhelmed. Don’t overcrowd. Stay organized and it will make a cleaner design, which is more approachable and easier to follow.
10. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
Did I say proofread? Everyone makes mistakes, we’re only human. However, if you don’t check over your work and miss a glaring typo, you could look bad to the client. Even worse, if the client doesn’t catch that typo and it’s published, they can get a lot of flack, which in turn falls back on you. It’s truly a lose-lose situation.