Infographics

Guide to Infographics: What They Are and How to Make Them

CopyPress

Published: April 27, 2022 (Updated: May 2, 2022)

Infographics have established themselves as important tools for communicating information in a way that is both engaging and effective. This guide to infographics can help you uncover everything you need to know about these visual information pieces, such as:

 

What Is an Infographic?

An infographic is a visual way to communicate information through graphic elements, such as graphs, diagrams, or illustrations. Their purpose is to communicate concepts in a way that both captures attention and aids comprehension of information. The more visually appealing an infographic can be, the more effective it is. These visuals also help readers understand the information and remember the concepts the infographic communicates.

Why Use an Infographic?

Infographics can help you convey complex ideas and information in small, easy-to-digest chunks that your audience understands. When a concept is hard to explain succinctly, an infographic can be an extremely effective medium for communication. Their usefulness spans industries and can be effective regardless of a target audience’s age or education. People may create infographics for purposes such as:

 

Who Can Use an Infographic?

Professionals from all industries use infographics. Their visual nature allows for quick and easy understanding of otherwise complex concepts, no matter the target audience’s age or level of education. Here are a few examples of professions and industries that use infographics:

  • MarketersMarketing strategists often use infographics to increase engagement from their audience and to build brand awareness.
  • Consultants: Consultants may use infographics to provide a visual schedule for projects or simplify industry-specific concepts for clients.
  • Government officials: Government officials use infographics to communicate the data they gather from reports like censuses, and to share data and statistics with each other and the public.
  • Educators: Teachers and other educators use infographics to simplify concepts and make them easier for students to learn and memorize.
  • Nonprofit professionals: Nonprofit professionals use infographics to create a lasting visual impact about their goals, missions, or fundraisers.

 

What Factors Should I Consider When Making an Infographic?

Choosing the right design and platform to display your infographic depends on several factors, including:

Target Audience

In order to choose the most effective platform to display your infographic, consider your target audience. You may tap into your buyer personas to understand more about the infographic that would appeal to and resonate with them the most. Consider if your target audience would appreciate more complex graphics or more explanation of what they’re looking at. Think about the knowledge level of your audience so you can display information in a format that’s easiest for them to comprehend without being too below their comprehension.

Infographic Style

Different infographic styles lend themselves to different display platforms. Animated infographics, for example, work best online or through digital apps. Interactive infographics require a touch screen, keyboard, voice activation, or some other way for a viewer to make an exchange with the design. Static infographics, in contrast, may work anywhere, in both digital and print settings.

Effective Infographic Design Styles

There are plenty of different infographic design styles. Your design style choice varies depending on the information you’re communicating and the platform you use to display it. Common infographic design styles are:

Static Infographics

Static infographics display your information in a format that doesn’t move. Many professionals choose static infographics because they can use them in so many ways, or on a variety of platforms. You may find static infographics on blogs, in brochures, throughout articles, and in print advertising.

Animated Infographics

Animated infographics include moving illustrations. With the rise in and expectation of video content online, this design style is effective if you’re hoping to attract attention on social media. Other places to use animated infographics include supplements for online articles and tutorials.

Interactive Infographics

Interactive infographics invite the audience to perform an action or provide input in order to display certain pieces of data. This style is most effective when working with large data sets, where the choices the viewer makes can actually affect the story. Interactive infographics can allow the audience to explore the information freely, or guide the viewer through the information using a narrative.

Statistical Infographics

Statistics are a great way to bolster an argument or make a point because they’re based on studies, experiments, and evidence. Statistical infographics primarily present numbers, charts, and data. They contain less text than the other infographics and have less of a narrative flow.

Informational Infographics

Informational infographics incorporate images, but they are more text-heavy. They’re usually cumulative pieces that provide an in-depth explanation of a particular topic. Though they are thorough, informational infographics simplify the main idea, making unfamiliar, or even niche topics, easier to understand.

Timeline Infographics

Timeline infographics present information in chronological order. They have a linear structure and are popular for presenting historical events or information. You can also use timelines to:

  • Display project milestones and deliverables
  • Show the evolution of a product
  • Outline the biographical events of an influential person
  • Plan for events

 

Process Infographics

Process infographics outline procedures with clear steps. They’re commonly used to display information like recipes, marketing strategies, or product guides. This type relies on a well-developed balance of text and images to help people of all learning styles understand the content.

Geographic Infographics

People may use geographic infographics to capture regional data. They help display information, such as:

  • Highlighting dangerous weather regions
  • Analyzing global trade patterns
  • Identifying the physical location of a target market
  • Tracking population growth

 

Hierarchical Infographics

For information separated into different categories or levels, use a hierarchical infographic. This type uses pyramids or flow charts to display information. Hierarchical infographics can show the connections between different levels of information using lines, arrows, or other connecting elements. You may recognize hierarchical infographics from their use in:

  • Family trees
  • Company management hierarchies
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

 

List Infographics

List infographics help you remember information. They do this by highlighting main points and summarizing information through well-thought-out design and visuals. This type of infographic commonly uses icons as bullet points for textual information.

How To Create an Infographic

Follow these steps to make an infographic:

1. Outline Your Goals

Determine what you want to accomplish with your infographic. Why are you making it? What’s the point? What information do you want to share with your audience? Answering these questions can help you set clear, attainable goals that can guide your creation and distribution process.

2. Collect Data

To answer the questions that shape your infographic goals, collect the relevant data. You can use data from your own studies, previous research, or by creating a targeted research plan for each infographic project. When collecting data, consider some of these research tips to help make your search easier, such as:

  • Using advanced search options to narrow your results
  • Including specific file formats in your search phrases, such as tsv, csv, or xls to bring up data documents and files
  • Adding the word “data” to your keyword searches to find relevant information
  • Adding quotation marks around your keywords to search for an exact term
  • Using data repositories to save time and find more targeted results
  • Using marketing tools to collect information about your own audience, competitors, and content to develop better, more targeted infographics for your business

 

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3. Create Visuals

Decide how you want to layout the information. There are a few factors to consider, such as choosing a display style based on the goal of the information. Here are a list of potential goals for your data and the best way to present them:

  • Exploring information: If you want the audience to draw their own conclusions from exploring data, consider an interactive infographic.
  • Showing relationships: If you want the audience to determine how two or more topics or ideas relate to one another, consider an infographic that has adequate space to show that relationship.
  • Comparing and contrasting information: If you’re looking to show the similarities and differences between two or more ideas or pieces of data, consider a comparison infographic, like a Venn diagram, bar chart, or bubble cloud.
  • Sharing information: If your infographic goal is just to share information, you can choose a design less reliant on flow and more aesthetically pleasing.
  • Visualizing trends: If you’re showing how ideas or data change over time, consider using charts, graphs, and timelines to help display each point and how it factors into the overall story of the graphic.
  • Depicting organized data: If you intend to show the order, rank, pattern, or grouping of data, consider using lists, tables, flowcharts, or mind maps to help viewers visualize the connections among points.

 

4. Develop a Template

Create an outline template for your data to decide where and how you want to incorporate each visual element and piece of data. When making a template, focus on the structure. You can manipulate the design and style later after you’ve created the basic foundation. Consider the number of elements you need to include and whether there’s a necessary flow of information. If you’re not comfortable making an infographic from scratch, there are many online resources and templates to help you create a visual representation of your data.

5. Incorporate Style and Design

Choose the style and design elements that make your data pop, and catch your viewer’s eye. Here are some elements to consider:

  • Text: Infographics rely heavily on images to tell a story and only use short pieces of text to provide context. Choose your words wisely and convey your concepts in a way that’s easy for all audiences to understand.
  • Alignment: Create a rhythm, repetition, or consistency in your design with all elements to bring a sense of harmony and unity to the piece that’s pleasing to view.
  • Negative space: Also called white space, be sure to leave enough blank areas around images and text to make them easier to read and keep the design pleasing rather than crammed.
  • Color: Making the right color choices can help you highlight important data and group related elements within the design.

 

6. Share Your Infographic

Share it with the world, or just your target audience. Determine which platforms can help you reach your desired viewers, such as on social media or on your website. Then, take the steps necessary to get your infographics on these channels where your audience can find them.

Tips for Making Eye-Catching Infographics

Here are some tricks for creating graphics that are both effective and visually stimulating:

Create a Question Pyramid

When developing your goals for infographic creation, consider making a question pyramid to organize your thoughts. Start with your main idea at the top of the pyramid, then add two or three supporting questions below that answer questions like “which” or “what” relating to the topic. Under that, add one or two additional probing questions that answer “why.” Developing a question pyramid can help you not just develop your infographic goals, but also set the design outline and flow.

Use Illustrations, Images, and Icons

Imagery is a great way to increase the impact of key information. Not only can visuals make the data clear, but they also make it more memorable. A simple way to incorporate more visuals into your graphic is by adding icons to signal headers. You can also create graphics to represent your main points or even turn your visualization into the dominant feature of the infographic, effectively eliminating the need for large blocks of text.

Use Different Font Styles

The fonts you choose for your infographic are just as important as the visuals. A trick for effectively using fonts is to create a text hierarchy. A text hierarchy typically uses three font styles you apply specifically to different elements of the text. For example, use one font for the main heading, a different one for section headings, and the third font for all the body copy.

The font used for the main header should be the largest and most attention-grabbing. It sets the reader up for the mood of the infographic and the importance of the information it presents. The section headers should have a font that is still bold, but less stylized, and smaller. Last, the body text needs a font that is significantly smaller, not stylized, and easy to read.

Incorporate a Pop of Color

Color is also an extremely important element of good design. Though it can make the appearance of your infographic more appealing, it’s also a useful tool for communicating important concepts. For example, colors are often used to draw attention to particularly important data or to show a grouping of relevant text. You can choose a pop color that differs from the others used throughout the graphic to make important facts jump out to the reader.

Add Shapes, Borders, and Lines

When creating an infographic, you can use unique design elements to improve and influence the audience’s understanding of the information. Positioning and grouping allow you to organize content, making it easier for the viewer to digest. Emphasize it by using things like squares, circles, lines, and borders to group or connect elements.

Use a Grid Layout

Using a symmetrical grid when designing your infographic is a great way to organize all of your elements in a fashion that is both coherent and easy to follow. It provides organization for your data, as well as ensures that the viewer will consume the information in the desired order. These layouts often make use of our learned habits to consume visuals and words from left to right.

Though they may seem intimidating at first, anyone can turn research and data into a successful visual infographic. Using them can make your audience intrigued by your content and help build brand trust and loyalty if they keep coming back for more.

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