Although the term “infographic” is somewhat new, the idea of presenting information in a graphic visual representation has been around for what feels like ages. For centuries people have been trying to describe their world and surroundings via visuals – from thousands of years old cave paintings to the use of splendid yet simple iconography in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs to narrate intricate stories and evolution of Chinese writing to the first-ever examples of bar graphs and topography. Naturally, humans are visual creatures, and they are more likely to learn and describe best when the information is displayed in visual formats.
However, the present-day infographics have acquired a bit different shape than its ancestors, but the basics continue to be the same. The unique mix of visual narrative and data presentation is the main factor behind infographics’ immense popularity. In this information age that we live where data is everywhere, they have become crucial. In this blog, we will discuss how you can create an informative yet appealing infographic in just ten simple steps.
Be it whatever generation, the best narrators are natural talkers who order attention. Whether gathered around a bonfire or standing on stage in front of thousands of people or presented on a computer screen, narrators are skilled in engaging and influencing the audience. And in this big data era, communicating a story is the same. Big data is no more just another number; instead, it is a story to be uncovered.
Data needs to be compelling, capable, and contentious in order to communicate with its target audience effectively. It must be compelling to grab attention and stand apart from the rest of the available data. You need to ask yourself if your target audience would find it interesting. Also, the data must be derived from a credible and capable source. This is vital to building trust among your readers and will also play a significant role in determining whether they choose to share your infographics online or not. Lastly, a little contention is always good. If your chosen data is able to evoke a reaction from your audience, you have succeeded. An argument is good and contentious data can encourage positive discussions and bolster your influence beyond the scope and sphere of the infographics.
It is easy for your mind to start flooding with great creative ideas for your storytelling and visuals as soon as you get your topic and data to work from – however, your first step actually needs to be backward instead of going forward. Think – who will be your target audiences for whom you are creating this infographic? How can you add value to your audience’s busy lives through your infographic? And once they are done reading your content, what do you want them to do or think after leaving?
Knowing your target audience well should be the leading element in guiding and deciding the purpose of the infographic you are going to create. In order to be successful, you will have to research the customers, target market, and media landscape to determine areas where you will get the opportunities to connect with the fixed approachable group of audience. Once you determine your target audience, you need to identify your purpose and modify your infographic’s CTA. Whether your purpose of content creation is to market or sell your product and/or service or to establish your brand as a thought leader in your niche, the way you convey its call to action is an overriding factor in determining how successful your infographic will be. However, your graphic’s purpose should be to engage the audience and offer something valuable instead of being the stereotypical sales pitch.
While constructing a story around data, keep in mind that the size of your numbers do not matter, what actually matters is the way you utilize them. The more you are able to sympathize with your audience, the better your story will be. So, always remember:
So bearing in mind your audience’s viewpoint and the idea that there might be heaps of other pieces of content winging across their radars, consider how much information your readers will be able to consume in those few invaluable moments when you’ll have their undivided attention and what things can you say during that time that might change their viewpoint. You want to surprise them suddenly, but there are many ways to do it: awareness (you may not be aware that ABC exists, but this is how it does), chance (you may think that ABC is not possible, but this is how it is), scare (you may feel that ABC is fine, but this is why it isn’t), calming (you may feel that ABC isn’t fine, but this is why it is), and last but not the least humor because who doesn’t love to laugh a little every now and then?
It’s the data’s magic that can help us see the trends and patterns hidden beneath the surface that otherwise the bare eyes couldn’t see and others that exist on such a huge scale that we cannot even grasp until they are put into numbers. Eventually, your storytelling’s goal should be to put these patterns into perspective.
Once you are done with your data analysis and understanding the narrative you want to communicate, it’s time to start brainstorming ways to show your data in a visual format. Eventually, the underlying intent of your infographic is to make this data understandable to a broad audience, and it’s quite probable that your data in its original format was not really that handy.
Visual presentation of your data can alleviate the reader’s understanding in a way that a paragraph or article or spreadsheet can’t. The aim of your infographic should be to release the data from the restraints of the table and display it in a format that unveils the concealed trends, highlights the main points, and also looks persuasive at the same time.
Your visual data representation must always be:
Bear in mind; your job isn’t just to make the data look appealing; more importantly, it is to make the data more easily comprehensible. An infographic can be both attractive as well as informative at the same time. But the key is agreeing between creating stunning artwork and creating something helpful.
A successful infographic depends upon a clear and strong structure. Its fundamental structure determines the arrangement of the data, leads the flow of the storytelling, makes sure the virtue of the data remains undamaged. When you focus on the structure first, the data manages the graphics instead of the other way around.
Key factors that will affect the accuracy of a structure are:
As you continue to develop the structural concepts, ask yourself throughout the process if this structure is making your data easier to grasp or not. This might appear self-evident, but since your infographic’s main purpose is to educate the readers, its success revolves around this factor. At times, putting design over function might be enticing, but you might end up creating a visual that seems appealing enough to decorate your walls, but makes it difficult to understand for the readers. But if you present the data in a way that alleviates the audience’s comprehensibility, then you can consider the infographic as successful. On the other hand, if your structure is too tricky and makes it difficult for the readers to understand it easily and know what the data wants to demonstrate, then the infographic has terribly failed.
In a nutshell, a clear structure clarifies the data, promotes understanding, unveils hidden trends, and features key discoveries.
With web designing, wireframing at an initial stage helps the web designers focus solely on the structure without worrying about the visuals like colors and fonts. Wireframing the structure helps remove the focus from color schemes, bold fonts, and colorful visuals and bring it back on the data. With the availability of limited color palettes and shapes, the designers are compelled to think about the data and thus have the time to discover more exciting options.
The main opportunity that wireframing gives us is time for research. When it comes to the visual representation of the data exploring different concepts is vital. Just like a painting, an infographic is also open to perception by the audience. Now what might look like a logical flow and straightforward structure to a designer might not be the case for other people. Therefore it is important to show your models to as many people as possible because feedback at an initial stage is essential in ascertaining the ideal way of showing the data to your readers. And wireframe works wonders in this regard.
Designers have a stockpile of a variety of charts available at their fingertips. Pie, line, bar, and other types of charts are components of their go-to toolbox whenever making infographics. However, knowing when and which tool to use is crucial because they can’t be used interchangeably every time. It’s all about picking the one that demonstrates the data in the most understandable format, and typically, this depends on the way your data is organized and classified. Although, you might find it enticing to select a chart/tool on the basis of its shape instead of functionality, when it comes to representing your data visually, ease of communication and comprehensibility should be considered a priority.
Do not shy away from utilizing a bar chart if that’s what presents your data in the best and easy to consume format. Even the most common charts, as such, help show the data most efficiently and accurately, often shaping the foundation of some of the most appealing visuals available in the market. You can adapt and utilize them in numerous unique ways, and they will still be as informative and useful as ever.
When it comes to infographics’ design, likely there are two clear-cut approaches. First, you have the approach that lets the data do the talking. Designers who opt for this approach create striking pieces of artwork from the data itself using a mixture of colors, shapes, fonts, and clear typography, and the story being told simply via the data presentation.
Secondly, the approach utilizes depictions and ingenious visual metaphors to help lead the storytelling and navigate the readers through the data.
Now it is understandable that like every other thing, there are instances where both the approaches are individually suitable or maybe sometimes, the combination of the both of them would work wonders, but typically, the approach you choose for your infographic will heavily depend upon:
Illustrations can be very helpful in representing your intended storytelling visually, but they need to be used with alertness. Your data and information still have to be the show-stealer, and your illustrations in no way should hinder the reader’s understanding or hamper the data. When utilized correctly, this metaphoric visual representation of your data can be both perceptive and effective. When utilized incorrectly, the essence of your data will be lost.
Once you are done creating your infographic, it’s time to share it with your audiences. However, the fact is that you can make the most appealing, informative, and valuable infographic available out there. Still, without having a solid distribution strategy in place right from the moment you sit to create it, nobody will ever see it.
Now, stating the pretty much obvious, sharing your infographic across social media platforms should be the first step of your distribution plan. And we all are aware of the fact that there are both organic as well as paid means available for social media content distribution, and it is equally important to use them both. Next, you must know where your audience is spending most of their leisure time (online) and which websites or blogs they love to read the most. You can find this information during your research. Once you identify all your audience’s favorite “online hangout spots,” reach out to those places and explain to them how displaying your infographic on their platform will be beneficial for their audience and ultimately for them as well.
One of the most significant factors that determine your infographics’ success is your morals in your work. Creating an infographic just for the sake of it will do you no favor. It is crucial that you, as a data designer, maintain quality, originality, authenticity, credibility, reliability, and integrity in every piece of the infographic that you create. When you offer quality to your audience, it shows, which helps make it successful.
These were the ten steps that will help you in creating the perfect infographic out there. Follow these steps, and you will be all set to be on the top of the game. However, always remember to focus on quality, not quantity. Make sure your data comes from a credible and reliable source. Having a strategy in place will help ensure a smooth workflow and eliminate the chances of double work in the process. Keep asking yourself if what you are creating makes it easier for the audience to understand the data. You are all set to go now!
Hariom Balhara is an inventive person who has been doing intensive research in particular topics and writing blogs and articles for Tireless IT Services. Tireless IT Services is a digital marketing, SEO, SMO, PPC, and web development company that comes with massive experiences. We specialize in digital marketing, web designing and development, graphic design, and a lot more.