Exploring the Various Infographic Types

After you’ve decided to supplement your content marketing with an infographic, you must decide what information you want to convey and how best to deliver that information. The type of infographic you choose will depend on what you want to say to your audience. Following are some of the most common infographic types and how they work for content marketers and consumers.

Maps

Image via Flickr by Eric Fischer

If you want to convey information about geographic areas, you can use a map infographic to illustrate your data points and make the details more entertaining to consume. Everyone recognizes a map when he or she sees one, which makes it an instantly recognizable tool to which your audience can relate. For instance, CreditLoan.com created an infographic that shares information about the richest world leaders.

You don’t have to include the whole world in your map. If you just want to provide information about a particular continent, country, state, city, or other jurisdiction, you can use the same principles.

Listicles

You’ve probably heard about writing listicles in terms of articles, but listicles can also create beautiful infographics. Instead of looking at large blocks of text, you get to see the information parceled out next to beautiful illustrations. WIMDU does an excellent job with this in its table etiquette infographic. It lists 10 global customs about eating at the table, giving readers valuable information without overloading them with text.

Plus, it actually includes 20 items — each section offers one thing to do and one thing not to do when dining in that particular country. It also uses appealing graphics to illustrate each point, which can make a more poignant connection with the reader.

Charts

Sometimes the simplest solution proves most effective. A chart infographic compares different variables using graphs, columns, pie wheels, and other visual representations of a certain quantity. For instance, Statista used a simple bar chart to explain why Americans stay offline. The bars help the reader visually understand how the different columns relate, but there are percentages as well to help add authority to the content.

Chain Reactions

When you want to describe how a personal or situation gets from point A to point B, a chain reaction infographic can work well. It’s often implemented in the form of a flowchart, such as the collection Best Infographics curated. The reader starts at the top and answers questions related to the subject matter. After connecting the dots, he or she arrives at a conclusion.

Timelines

You probably created timelines for historical figures and events when you were a kid. Timelines are valuable education tools, but they don’t have to look as boring as a single horizontal line interrupted by vertical ticks to indicate a date or event. Infographics jazz up the traditional timeline so that the information becomes more interesting.

Bit Rebels used this exact strategy to illustrate the iOS timeline. It’s not just a timeline, though; it also gives valuable and interesting facts and figures about each version of iOS, from the first iteration to the latest. Using visuals to give the data more weight makes the infographic even more powerful.

Stories

Believe it or not, you can also use infographics to tell compelling stories. Maybe you want to illustrate your company’s story from inception to today’s date, or perhaps you want to tell a fictional story that will help users understand how they can benefit from your product. History.com uses this tactic to tell the story of money. It’s heavily illustrated to hold the reader’s interest, but it also contains intriguing information.

DIYs

Everyone wants to know how to do things themselves these days, so DIY infographics prove particularly compelling when it comes to hobbies, such as crafts and cooking. For instance, OC Weekly published a DIY infographic on how to make beer. The creators gave plenty of textual information, but the illustrations keep the viewer’s eyes on the page.

Side-By-Sides

When you want to compare two or more objects or entities, you can write an article that lists the pros and cons of each or you can create a side-by-side infographic that illustrates their differences. Princeton University did this by comparing market share, global occupation, and other factors between Starbucks and McDonald’s. For good measure, the school also included data about other fast-food franchises, such as Wendy’s and Taco Bell, to further illustrate the vast differences between the two main chains.

Data Visualizations

Sometimes you want to pack lots of information into an infographic. It’s difficult to achieve this goal and still create a cohesive visual, so it takes both artistic and writing skill to pull it off. The Richard Dawkins Foundation did an excellent job with its infographic on taking Easter seriously. While the data comes from all different places, the designers used a consistent and cohesive design scheme, from the color palette to the font choice.

Interactive Infographics

The infographics described above are all static images. No matter how long they get, they don’t change from the first time you view them and the second. Interactive infographics have risen in popularity over the last year or so, however, to up the engagement ante and keep visitors on the page for longer periods of time.

An interactive infographic works best when you want to show your audience a physical location, such as your office, or when you want to pack more information into the piece than a still image would allow. For instance, the user could click on a map point to learn more about that location. A pop-up could include text, video, images, and other content.

No matter your content strategy or your visual preferences, an infographic — whether still or interactive — can dramatically improve your online presence. Infographics get shared through social media, curated blog posts, and other mediums, which can ultimately drive traffic to your site and boost conversions. You can’t always do it alone, though, unless you have an in-house writing and design staff, so outsourcing this type of project can provide an excellent ROI.

About the author

Laura College

Laura College hung out her shingle as a freelance writer and editor 11 years ago. She believes that every brand has a compelling, unique story to tell, and she enjoys helping companies establish themselves as authorities in their industries.