Custom Infographics: What You Need to Know to Succeed

Data visualization is becoming a key component of online communication. Readers want their information fast and easy to understand, a desire which makes well-made infographics an essential tool for conveying large amounts of data or more difficult types of data to readers who may spend only a few moments with your content. Discover what you need to know to succeed when creating custom infographics.

Key Components of an Effective Infographic

Image via Flickr by I Bike Fresno

Creating your infographic and deciding on the type of infographic you design will depend much on the topic and feeling you are trying to convey, However, you should think about some essential elements to include in every infographic. These elements will make sure that your infographic is not only successful in conveying the information you are trying to visualize, but also visually attractive so that it can grab and hold readers’ attentions. Below are some of the vital elements to help you create a successful infographic.

A Topic That Can Be Created Visually

One of the most important facets, and the first step to creating your infographic, is coming up with a catchy and attention-grabbing title that can be adequately visualized. While infographics are the ideal way to make complicated or large amounts of data easier to read and digest, not all topics can be effectively visualized.

What you are choosing to create needs to be able to be converted into an infographic without being confusing. During this step, you will also want to create a title that is effective for SEO and will draw the attention of members of the target market to whom you are addressing the content.

Well-Researched Data and Information

An infographic is only as good as the data and research that it is based on. The best way to ensure that your infographic will be successful and draw in the appropriate readers is to start with a solid foundation of research.

While using more common statistics is often necessary to make a comparison, you can have your infographic stand out by including research and data that is distinctive or attention getting. If the topic you are covering does not have as many unusual statistics, you can represent the statistics from the opposite of the perspective from which it would normally be presented.

Eye-Catching Photographs of Graphics

Whether you are creating an animated infographic, a photo-driven infographic, or an infographic that relies on multiple charts and graphs, making sure that visual element is thought out well and stands out among the pack is essential to having a successful infographic. For graph-based infographics, you want to select a graph or chart option that will visually represent the data best. For example, you will not want to use a pie graph unless the data represented would have extremely varying sections that will be made obvious on a pie graph.

When using photographs for your piece, using distinctive angles or lighting can help your graphics stand out. You will want to make sure that the photograph clearly and prominently displays the main subject of the photograph and that nonessential pieces are not a distraction. If you want to have your infographic stand out more, especially if it is a frequently covered topic, you may want to consider creating an animated infographic where the entrance and exits of the graphic pieces will help the information pop and keep the readers’ attentions.

Tips for Creating a Successful Infographic

In the end, the point of working hard to create an amazing infographic is gaining the readership with whom you will share information and promote to re-engage readers with your brand on a regular basis and share information from you via social media channels. To help make sure that your infographic succeeds at drawing the readers’ attentions, follow the tips below.

Keep the Presentation Simple

One of the most important steps to take when creating your infographic is to keep the presentation simple. Often the information and data that you are visualizing with the piece may be complex or difficult for readers to understand or read through without a visual aid.

Making the infographic as easy to read, process, and understand is what is necessary to get your readers to stay for the rest of the piece and be more apt to return to your site or share the infographic with others. When drafting the content for your infographic, have others who have not completed the research you have check it for readability. If they can comprehend the data without having you directly explain the data to them, then it should be easy for others to comprehend as well.

Use the Appropriate and Correct Number of Charts

As mentioned above, choosing the best chart to visualize the information is essential. It is important to not only have the correct graphs and charts, but also to have the correct number of them as well. Graph options including line and bar graphs are used to bring together many pieces of data with multiple subjects all in one graph.

Unfortunately, putting too much data or too many subjects on one graph can cause the information to get confusing and make the material visually unappealing to the reader. If all of the items are important to cover in your graphics, try including more than one graphic for the data. When you do so, make sure that you vary the graphic and chart types to help keep the readers’ interests and break the content up visually as well. You can also look at combination graph types such as lines and bars that can display large quantities of data while making the graphics easy to comprehend.

Give Your Readers Something Unexpected

Whether you are providing shocking statistics or giving readers the answer to a sought-after question, giving the readers something that they aren’t expecting to see is the best way to grab the readers’ focus and help establish yourself as a source for information that they might be seeking. Give the readers something that is unexpected and encourage them to read more or share the infographic.

You can answer questions about long-standing myths, provide a special piece of information or data from an unfamiliar perspective, or provide a statistic that the readers may be shocked to discover. Other ways to give your readers something special is by closing gaps in information that they may have concerns about or present information that is not commonly held knowledge by your target reader base.

Use a Catchy Title

While the graphics and information will help establish you as an authority, keep your readers engaged and entice them to continually check back for more. To do so, you will first have to draw them to your infographic by coming up with a catchy and attractive title.

One way to draw the attention your title may need is by using keywords that would be most commonly searched by the target audience that you are trying to attract. You can start by doing some keyword research on the information you are covering and find a way to naturally incorporate some of those popular keywords into the title to help your piece surface during your readers’ searches. Additionally, you will want your title to be short and concise while properly representing the information the readers can expect to encounter when they are reading through and digesting the information found in your infographic.

Pay Attention to Proper Formatting

While you want your content to be visually stimulating, it also needs to be clear to understand. Make your graphics stand out without using unusual graphics that could be considered awkward or difficult to read. 

Since ease of understanding is one of the most important aspects of an infographic, stick with common visuals such as bar or pie charts or ones that put a special twist on a classic design. Sometimes using shapes that are too odd or create odd lines visually can make the data more confusing. If readers have difficulty comprehending and processing the data visually, they are likely to stop reading and, if it happens too often, they may be unlikely to return to your content.

Try to Create a Visual Metaphor With Your Infographic

Data visualization is all about getting readers to process information and data that they are presented with in a way that is easier for them to comprehend or can invoke a feeling or emotion in them that compels them to act or learn more. In the end, your job with your infographic is to create that metaphor where the images and graphics represent that data even if someone merely glances at it.

You can achieve this metaphoric transition in the readers’ minds by using graphic tactics such as color coding to make sections easily stand out or use larger and smaller graphics to create the inference to something that is greater or smaller. Using graphic metaphoric representations can make a correlation in readers’ minds before they look at the text or data that accompanies the graphic.

Make Important Data Prominent

To make sure that your message gets across and your readers connect with and understand the information that you are trying to present to them visually, you will want to make sure that your data is shown with some type of context. Even when represented in charts, large amounts of numbers without any accompanying pictures, graphics, or text present to show the impact of the data can cause the emotion and the impact of the data to get lost. Infographics are not simply created to convey data; they are created to impart an emotional impact on the readers whether that emotion is anger, curiosity, sadness, concern, or simply a sense of awareness.

Without this emotional connection, the infographic is no different than simply listing the data and information which is likely to confuse readers or lose their attention. It is important to remember that web content is meant to create an engagement with readers in a virtual world where emotional connections aren’t always the norm. Always remember to include some form of text, a heading, or a pictorial representation when showing large amounts of data through your infographic.

Make Sure Your Message Is Clear and Believable

Infographics have an air of credibility to them. They are often based on large amounts of data and research, and many people seek them out looking for authoritative information on the topic they are reading and learning about. It is essential that your message is not only clear but also truthful and believable. One of the goals of infographics is to show your readers that you are an authoritative resource on the topic that they are searching for. To prove your credibility, you readers will need to know that the data and research you are presenting to them are reliable and the information that you are presenting is truthful.

Making you infographic credible is especially important when you are challenging information that has had a widely held belief with members of an audience for some time. People are interested in learning true information about previous widely held beliefs or the answer to controversial topics or widely known myths. However, you will not hold their interest unless they believe what you are telling them is true. You will want to employ some different tactics to make you infographic have more credibility by providing quotes, customer testimonials, or proper attribution to reliable sources.

The success of your infographic will depend largely on how you present the key elements that are essential to delivering your message as well as providing readers of your infographic with valid information that they can easily understand and digest while continuing to hold their interest throughout the experience. To make sure that your infographic is successful at conveying your information as well as attracting and retaining readers, follow the tips above or talk with an experienced infographic designer to find out the best ways to create a standout infographic that will keep your readers coming back to you for more relevant and engaging information.