May 21, 2018 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
Creating an infographic uses all of your team’s graphic design skills and knowledge. From topic selection and text to typography and color, many decisions go into finding the right elements for each piece. Choosing images for infographics is one of the most critical steps in catching the eyes of your audience. Doing this also helps you accurately share the message of your piece. Today, we’re looking at the way image choices affect the creation and potential reach of your infographics:
With infographics, you’re not limited to just one type of image choice like you may be with some other types of content. Some options you have when selecting visuals for your designs include:
When creating dynamic or interactive infographics, you can use images that move to further illustrate your narrative or data points. Some moveable images available for design include:
You may use a combination of multiple types of images within one infographic. For example, you may include a company logo and charts to represent a data study your research team completed. Though you can mix and match image types, it’s important to stick with all real-life images or all drawings and designs for one project.
More specifically, you likely don’t want to mix and match photos or video clips with icons and emojis. Choose one of those groups to use throughout your design. Other images like logos, maps, and graphs pair well with both real-life and drawn images.
Now that you know what kinds of images you can use in your infographics, you have to learn where to source them to start your project. Here are a few places you can find images to use for your infographic designs:
Your best infographic images may already live in your team’s shared folders on your drive. These may include past graphic designs created for other content or old photographs your team took. You can also find brand logos and generated data charts for certain studies in your team files.
The right images for your infographic may not exist yet. That’s because they live in the minds of your graphic design team. Work with your designers to explain your ideas for the infographic. Have a meeting or write a content brief to help them understand your vision. Then work with your designers throughout the creation process to get the elements you need for your specific infographic.
Similar to custom designs living in your graphic designers’ minds, your infographic images may still be in a photographer’s lens. If you have a staff photographer, tell them what kind of images you need for your infographic and ask them to get the best shots. If you don’t have a staff photographer, you may hire a freelancer for a one-time project to get the shots you need. With the prevalence of cell phone cameras, you also have the option to take your own photos for the infographic, if necessary.
If you’d prefer to use premade content for your infographic, turn to stop websites. Sources like Unsplash and Pixabay cater to still photographs. Websites like VectorStock provide icons and vectors, while places like Shutterstock share both photographs and vectors. Resources like GIPHY are a good source for dynamic images and places like Videvo have royalty-free HD video clips for download.
One great debate around content marketing online is whether you should use stock photos or custom images and designs in your pieces. This debate is often more important for web design and choosing images that accompany written content you publish on different channels. In most cases, brands, customers, and search engines alike prefer custom images to stock photos. Custom images include photographs your photography team takes themselves or original graphic designs.
This preference comes from your audience craving unique content, and search engines looking to promote original content to that audience. But an infographic by nature is an original graphic design. Even if you use a stock photo or you purchased your vectors and icons from a stock website, the overall infographic is new, original content.
If you have the resources to use original images or designs in your infographic, go for it. The more one-of-a-kind you can make your pieces, the better. But if premade stock content is all you can find or afford, there’s nothing wrong with including those elements in your infographic. Just be sure the images you use are copyright-free or you have a paid license to use them.
With so many image options available for your content, it can be intimidating to try to choose the perfect ones for each project. Use this checklist to review each image to see if it’s worthy of making the cut for your infographic:
Just like the text and fonds in your infographic have to be readable, your images have to be clear. Nobody sees a blurry, mangled photo and thinks, “ooh, I should stop and see what that’s about!” Make sure any images you use are crisp and the primary subject is in focus. Image clarity often depends on the size and file type. Here are a few things to know about image file types to help you make the right decisions:
You’ll often manipulate the image to get it to fit right within your design. Even if the original file looks clear, test the image within your template to make sure it stays that way after alterations.
Every element that goes into an infographic combines with the others to tell a story. These elements have to work together and point toward a common goal. Otherwise, your infographic may miss the mark with your audience. Make sure each image you pick matches up with the theme of your infographic.
For example, you wouldn’t use a vector image of a pine tree when creating an infographic about the best beaches in Hawaii. Most people associate palm trees, not pine trees, with the beach. One of the selling points of creating an infographic is that it makes information easier to understand. Don’t complicate the message by choosing images that have nothing to do with the topic.
Besides matching the topic of your infographic, your images also have to appeal to your target audience. This means considering the audience’s demographics, like age, location, and gender. Don’t use photographs or vectors of objects or situations they won’t recognize. People in the southern United States may not automatically recognize a pumpkin patch on a farm. People who didn’t live in the 70s and 80s may not recognize the caricature of an 8-track cartridge.
These are examples of things you need to keep in mind when selecting images for your projects. If your audience doesn’t know what they’re looking at, they’re going to spend more time trying to figure it out rather than absorbing your message.
One of the most difficult things about working with data sets and statistics is making sure you display the information accurately. A miscalculated bar height or a stray dot on a scatter plot changes the data you’re sharing. It’s important to only share data based on your findings.
Don’t fudge numbers or make the charts and graphs look a certain way because they’re more eye-catching. While the goal of infographics is to get your audience to stop and take notice, the information they find when they look at the graphic should be honest to the best of your ability. Deliver on the promise you made in the infographic title and it’ll keep them coming back for more.
We’ve said this a few times already, but it’s one of the most important considerations when using images in content: make sure you have permission to use the images and publish them online. Images, like other creative works, fall under copyright protection laws. These legal securities provide ownership to an artist for their original work and dictate how the artist and others can reproduce, share, and earn money from those images.
Copyrights exist so people can’t steal someone else’s creative works and make money on them without the owner’s permission. Even if you use a copyrighted image accidentally, the artist and the court won’t give you a pass for ignorance. The easiest ways to make sure you have permission to use any image for your infographics include:
You can have too much of a good thing, and that includes too many high-quality images in your infographic. Because infographics are visual content, you may feel drawn to stuffing as many relevant, eye-catching images into the design as possible. But it’s often better to have a few top-quality images that grab people’s attention and hold their focus. Too many images become distracting. The viewer doesn’t know where to look first, or next, to follow the flow of the infographic.
Don’t be afraid of white space or negative space in your infographic. Padding around images and especially around text makes it easier for viewers to digest the information you present. Always ask yourself what purpose an image serves before you add it to your infographic. If it helps tells the data story, then keep it. If you’re adding an image simply for decoration, you can leave it out.
After image selection, it’s time to put all your elements together to create and publish the infographic. Consider the placement of the images along with the text, color selection, and where you intend to post or share the content when it’s completed. Need some help to get started? CopyPress has a host of great articles to help you with the next phases of infographic creation:
Image choice for your infographics doesn’t directly affect the SEO of your content. Currently, Google and other search engines don’t have a program that scans the images within your infographic and matches those singular elements with search queries. With the invention of tools like Google Lens, that could happen in the future, but right now it’s not a thing.
The infographic as a whole, including the topic, keywords, and alt text, is what affects the SEO of the content. When you use an infographic within other written content, it provides other ways to help you rank on the search engine results pages (SERPs) in image packs. Infographics are also popular content for social media. The more shares and likes they get, the easier it is to get them in the search algorithm and appear in results across the web.
CopyPress clients have access to our skilled team of writers and graphic designers who make infographics that pop. No need to worry about picking the right images. Just give us your project details and we’ll find the perfect ones while you focus on other aspects of your business. Contact us to let us know more about your project needs. Then, signup for our weekly newsletter to stay up to date on information about the latest trends in infographics, SEO, and other hot content marketing topics.
“CopyPress gives us the ability to work with more dealership groups. We are able to provide unique and fresh content for an ever growing customer base. We know that when we need an influx of content to keep our clients ahead of the game in the automotive landscape, CopyPress can handle these requests with ease.”
Director of SEO at Auto Revo
More from the author: