Timeline Infographics: A Journey in Marketing



May 23, 2018 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

Two professional women writing on a white board to layout their timeline infographic.

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Infographics are used to display marketing information in a way that is visual and informative. Approximately 65 percent of people are visual learners by nature, meaning that infographics simply resonate better with the general population. By combining images and relevant information with visually appealing fonts into timeline infographics, you can create brand loyalty and drive website traffic that ultimately leads to conversions.

The History of Timelines

Timeline Infographics

Image via Flickr by americaspower

Timelines are not a new concept. They were originally used in historical materials and in print. They have always been an effective method of grabbing the reader’s attention and directing them to the most important of information. The only difference today is that we now have the ability to implement technology into the design of infographic timelines.

With technology, we can design timelines that are even more interactive and engaging. Users can actually click on specific parts of the infographic to learn more about the specific point or the business itself, or businesses can use infographic timelines to include call to actions that lead to increased conversion rates.

While timeline infographics have traditionally been used to portray important historical timelines, product developments, and the history of important public figures, internet timeline infographics can go a step further with the addition of a business’ history and changing statistical trends.

Why Infographics?

Infographics do well because they are so visual. Interactive infographics are even more effective because they encourage the reader to participate in the experience. Content that is not visual enough can lead to information overload and can leave the readers overwhelmed and confused. Studies show that not only are consumers more engaged with infographics, but they are also more easily persuaded by them. This fact makes them a great marketing tool.

Timeline infographics take the visual aspect even further by giving the reader a guided experience. By arranging the images and content in a way that tells the reader where to start and where to end, the reader is able to better focus on the content. Furthermore, by highlighting the most important parts of the infographic timeline, you can actually specify the exact points that are memorized and retained.

Types of Infographics

An infographic is a visual image that is used to display data. But, there are many different ways to use infographics to display information.

  • A flowchart asks the reader questions that eventually lead them to a solution or an individualized product. This type of infographic tends to do well with younger audiences on social media platforms.
  • Versus infographics take two ideas or concepts and compare them with supporting data and images. These infographics are a great way to portray a large amount of data in a concise and interesting way.
  • Number or data infographics display large quantities of content through charts and graphs. When you have large amounts of data to display, you risk boring the reader and losing them altogether. The data infographic requires a carefully planned design in order to display the pertinent information in a way that is also engaging.
  • Photo infographics focus on descriptive images that answer a question or showcase a product. Although most infographics include a good amount of images, the photo infographic bases the entire design on high-quality images that are meant to educate and convert. Not as much focus is given to the content or statistical data with photo infographics. This type of infographic is great for educating readers about a new product or business.
  • Timeline infographics are another common and extremely valuable type of infographic design. Similar to a traditional timeline, timeline infographics are used to display data in a chronological format. With timeline infographics, you have the ability to take the reader from step one to the completed process. Designing a timeline infographic, however, requires careful detail to the specific time points in order to hold the focus and interest of the reader throughout the entire time period.

Creating a Timeline Infographic

The goal of a timeline infographic is to take the reader on a journey. The design of the timeline will dictate the exact path the reader takes. Where do you want them to begin the journey? Where will the informative journey end? What are the most important stops along the way? Not only will you need to carefully select the most important stopping points, but you will also have to choose visually appealing and relevant images that complement those specific points. The timeline infographic journey should be interesting, engaging, and educational.

Create a Plan

In order to fully maximize the content of the timeline infographic, you will want to first create a plan. What dates and events are the most important and most relevant to include? What timeline activities are your readers most likely to find interesting? Before choosing any images or supporting data, carefully lay out the specific events to include in the timeline.

Depending on the desired length of the timeline infographic, you might have to cut out or combine stops. Avoid filling the timeline with non-relevant points to meet length requirements. It is best to have a shorter timeline that is more engaging than one that is long and filled with mediocre points.

Design a Timeline Layout

The goal is to display the specific events of the timeline in a layout that maximizes its readability. You can choose between a horizontal, vertical, or coiled timeline. Where you choose to display your timeline infographic upon completion will dictate this decision. Vertical infographic timelines tend to work best with smartphones and tablets. If you are planning on marketing your infographic timeline with print, however, you might find a horizontal design more accommodating.

Many timeline infographics utilize the central focus point. Imagine that you are drawing a line right down the middle of the vertical page. This line is the starting point for each of your timeline events. From here, it is best to alternate each side as you begin to display the timeline events. Use this imaginary line to format images and text boxes as well.

Multiple optimizations of your infographic can help you reach different target audiences. For example, a vertical timeline infographic might be ideal for your smartphone users but is unlikely to be as effective as a print marketing material. Fortunately, you can reach these different targets by making multiple optimizations of your timeline infographic and using them in the appropriate settings.

Unique Timeline Infographic Designs

Although many timeline infographics are vertical and central focused, this is not a hard rule. If you want to use your timeline infographic to be a little more creative, there are other options available for a more personalized layout.

A historical layout follows the timeline of a historical event. It often includes dates, important events, and images that correspond to the date in history. Biographical layouts are ideal for describing the major contributions and life points of a famous person or business. They are a great way to showcase the historical growth of a company.

There are also ways to customize the actual layout of the timeline infographic. If a center focus infographic does not appeal to you, you can instead try a left or right aligned layout. The left or right focus timeline infographic is a great choice if you have large amounts of data that you want to include. Sectional timelines allow you to really get creative, as you can change up the colors and fonts between each section. Coiled timelines, sometimes called spiraled timelines, also add a little more creativity and personalization to your timeline infographic.

There are many methods you can use to customize your timeline infographic design. A few options include using scrolling effects, implementing clickable images, or using images you have taken yourself. You can also use programs like Canva and Adobe Photoshop to add business branding to your infographic project. Not only does this protect your design from other businesses using it as their own, but it can also increase brand awareness among your readers.

Engage Through Fonts and Headers

Because timeline infographics often include a lot of important information, it is necessary to find a way to display it so that it is still visually appealing. You can draw focus to specific data points or sections with the use of colors and bullet points. These extra design elements are also what will showcase your businesses personality and hold the attention of the reader.

Always consider the placement of your infographic when choosing the fonts and design colors. Your choice of fonts and colors can really make or break the success of your infographic. Smartphone users might have difficulty reading font that is too small or too complicated. Inputting too much text without using headers can make the timeline infographic busy and overwhelming. Also, using font colors and styles that do not complement one another can produce a final product that is confusing.

When creating a timeline infographic, choose between labels that are text, numbered, or interactive. Consistency is also important in an infographic design. Use the same headers and font styles among similar sections throughout the timeline. A successful timeline infographic easily flows from one point to the next. Be sure to view it multiple times and pay attention to what grabs your attention and what causes you to skip over entire sections.

Choose an Appropriate Length

Choosing an infographic over other types of marketing materials is often done to appeal to visual learners. If the infographic is too long or contains too much content, you also risk losing your reader. If the infographic is multiple pages long, consider adding bullet points and short paragraphs to improve overall readability.

Visual hierarchy is also more important than ever when creating longer infographics. Visual hierarchy involves taking your design resources and using them to prioritize the most important content. You can dictate the focal points of your timeline infographic by focusing on text size, text color, saturation, and the text layout. The most important points throughout the timeline are not necessarily the starting point and the ending point. Instead, you might choose to highlight other important events somewhere in the middle.

You can test your visual hierarchy effectiveness simply by viewing the infographic with fresh eyes. Take a step away from your project and then come back to it later, specifically paying attention to the layout. You can also take advantage of professional services that improve the data visualization of your completed infographic timeline.

Creating Content for the Timeline

A timeline infographic displays events throughout a period of time. The starting point will set the tone for the rest of the timeline’s content. Each of the content points should flow smoothly, creating a story about your product or business. A physical line should also connect each of the events to one another. This line makes it easier for readers to visually flow through the timeline.

Because timeline infographics often highlight specific events throughout time, it is important to include data that is accurate and relevant. A single error within the infographic can damage the credibility of the entire timeline, as well as the brand of the business. Always double check the facts that are included. It can also be useful to hire a professional copywriter to create content that is informative and accurate.

Marketing Timeline Infographics

Infographic timelines are just as effective as other types of infographics. Once your timeline infographic is complete, you will want to market it to those that are likely to be the most interested in the information it provides. You can increase the views of your completed infographic timeline by including social media share plugins on your website, sharing the content with your email audience, and if relevant to your industry, printing the timeline and physically giving it to your customers.

You do not have to be a professional graphic designer to create an engaging and informative timeline infographic. These tips will help you start from scratch and complete a project that is sure to highlight your timeline information in the most useful method.

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