When was it that the marketing world went infographic mad? There’s an infographic for everything these days. But it’s for a good reason – studies suggest that content with visuals get 94% more views, and also 90% of the information sent to the brain is visual (yes – I got that from an infographic too!). So infographics are a great way to communicate information in a visually pleasing way to your audience, and also increase the likelihood of your content being viewed and shared. We’re not here to talk about the benefits of infographics though – we’re pretty sure that’s been done several thousand times. No – what we’re here to do is give the ins and outs of what makes a good infographic. Not just the kind of content, but all the design nitty gritty too. Gone are the days when you could throw a half-decent one together and hope for the best – you’ve got some serious competition nowadays.
So, here’s a guide to the content and design elements that make a good infographic.
We’ll keep this bit relatively brief, as again it’s been done to death, and we’re focusing more on the design elements here.
The following are examples of content that are ideal for turning into infographics:
- Statistics – a round-up of findings from a research report, or a collection of interesting stats on a particular topic.
- Processes – a step-by-guide to a particular process. This could be something informational, like how a particular product is made, or a how-to, such as how to create an infographic (how meta!).
- Lists – pretty self explanatory. Lists are a great candidate for infographics, but just make sure whatever the list is can be represented in an interesting way visually.
Once you’ve got the content you’d like to turn into the infographic, it’s time to get designing. There are number of things to consider here, as good design can be the difference between a really successful infographic and one that was better off as a text-based blog post.
Who’s the target audience?
This applies to all good design really – before you approach the project, you should identify clearly who you want to engage with and share the content, and make sure the visual style will appeal to them. This should also match the tone of the document and your business overall. For example, if you’re selling financial services to C suite level executives, you probably don’t want to adopt the same visual style you’d use to appeal to primary school teachers. If you already have a strong visual style crafted to chime with your audience, this part should be relatively easy – just apply this to your infographic.
Keep it simple
A pitfall many marketers fall into when designing infographics is trying to pack too much in. Remember – you’re creating the infographic for a reason – to neatly and visually represent information in a way that’s easy to digest. Don’t try for the record of longest infographic and largest image file ever – keep to the key points, and make sure it’s easy to read. Stick to the following rules, and you won’t go far wrong:
- Make sure the infographic is easy to read without people having to zoom in too much.
- Keep big blocks of text to a minimum. Where a visual needs explaining, use as short sentences as possible to get your point across.
- Make sure all elements have plenty of breathing space – don’t try and pack everything into a small space, it’ll make it to difficult to read.
Telling a story
You need to think carefully about how your infographic will flow – even if it’s not a clear-cut process as mentioned above. t should have some sense to the way you move through the information as you scroll down the image. How you order visual elements and how you position them to draw the eye down will influence this. Think carefully about how to structure the image and how you will guide people through the document before you get all excited downloading icon sets and playing with colours in Photoshop.
On a similar note, make sure that your graphic elements and text relate to each other – this may seem like an obvious one, but we’ve seen it done wrong so many times before. The temptation here is to grab whatever free icon sets, illustrations or visuals you can find online and stick them in. If they don’t make for a good visual representation of the text, or simply don’t fit with it, just park this and spend some more time looking for imagery that fits.
Pay attention to detail
Detail is the difference between decent design and amazing design – getting the little detail spot on will really make your infographic pop. Your aim here is to make it as engaging and shareable as possible, while remaining a good representation of your brand. Think carefully about the colour scheme you’re going to use – too many colours will look busy and confusing, but too few will make it look a bit flat. Select a font that stands out and isn’t too thin to be readable on your chosen background colour. And when it comes time to save and export, think about the dimensions and the file size. Is it going to take people ages to load the file? A good rule of thumb is to make the infographic 600 pixels wide, under 3000 pixels in height, and to keep the file size below 1.5mb. This will ensure that it’s easily loaded, viewed and shared for people on a range of devices and internet connections.
Creating an amazingly shareable infographic can be a bit of a fine art – but don’t be scared to give it go. Just think carefully about content, colours, structure and imagery before you start and you’ll have a good foundation to build on. You might even want to draw it on a bit of paper or a whiteboard before you start! And if you would like us to help out with creating an infographic that pops, get in touch.