My friend is obsessed with infographics. While we spent another conversation about her latest works, I actually realized that I never did make a single infographic myself. It almost sounded tragic, but up to now I only used Word to create my graphs. Not really professional, I know.
That is why I want to put an end to this and want to help others to make nice infographics, as well. They are always a good addition to websites.
First, let’s get down to theory and examine possible pitfalls. (Studios & Duistermaat, 2013) (Vernons, 2014)
It’s all about the idea
When coming up with an idea for an infographic, it should not be self-involved. Thus it should not only be data relevant only to your company. It should rather be about the whole business you are in. With making it broader in topic, you might also get more referrals to your infographic. Something that typically adds a nice touch to an infographic is a little humour. However, of course not every business is suited for that.
Also, scanning other infographics or articles on the topic might be helpful. It is always good to be inspired. Strictly avoid copying any of the material at hand though. In doing that you look like you are not original and do not know the market you are in well enough to make your own infographic.
Who am I talking to? Losing focus.
The possibly most important principle in marketing always is to not forget about your target audience. That is also what you should keep in mind when designing your infographic. As with all content that you are putting on your web presence, make it relevant for your target audience. Otherwise they will find it useless and a waste of time and your business will suffer from that.
The next step is to not make your infographic too complex, but not too superficial either. It should simplify your ideas and illustrate them to your audience, without it being too shallow. So creating a good infographic means to do in-depth research indeed.
So remember: Although your infographic is supposed to give a light and quick overview to the viewer, a lot of thorough work needs to be put into it.
Let’s get graphical
Keep it short! The infographic should not be too extensive. Otherwise it confuses viewers and alienates them. Another reason for that is that infographics are understood as a way of expressing information comprised and simplified. A graphic that is complicated and extensive will be puzzling the audience considering those prior expectations.
Make it attractive! As with all visual elements on your web presence, it is also crucial to use high resolution images in infographics. That is because otherwise they do not look professional and that never leaves a good impression. However, not only should your images be of high resolution, but also the graphics that you choose should tell a coherent story. The probably easiest thing to do is to choose some kind of design that goes together with the topic you are discussing. Moreover, also make use of the different colours to create a visual hierarchy. In doing that, it will also be ensured that there is a logical flow of information that your reader can follow.
Keep it subtle! Take care of not making your infographic too colourful. Also in this case visual design guidelines apply, which are to stick to a set of colours. Within this set there should ideally only be three different colours and the rest should just be shades of those colours. A very good tool that helps with designing a consistent colour palette is Adobe Color CC.
Watch the legibility! Something that is also crucial to keep an eye on is whether the content is actually legible. An example of poor legibility is if you do not have a clear contrast between your text and the background and thus the text is hard or impossible to read. That again comes down to the combination of colours, but also font size and style plays a major role here. Take a font that is easily legible, thus preferably not having too many serifs.
Don’t forget to leave blanks! It is always important to not have a fully clustered design which is overloaded. You should also leave blanks for people in order to make your design look clean and appealing. Also, it gives the viewer the time to rest their eyes in between and think about the message of your infographic.
Real life kicks in – an example
As already stated in my former blog post, I am a fan of real life examples to illustrate my point. In order to be able to do that this time, I took a look at the most popular kissmetrics infographic. It is about how colours make your visual design more effective. I thought that this infographic also adds value to this post, since the choice of right colours has also been discussed.
Naturally, this infographic is a little more colourful, since that in itself is the topic, but generally clear design guidelines are being followed. There is a clear structure and also a white line visually guiding the viewer through the infographic. A clear typography was chosen and the main information is big enough to be able to read it eventually. The information is presented in an appealing way, however thorough research has been conducted what can be seen in the length of this infographic. (I only used half of it, since otherwise my post would be too long, but click here to see the full image: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/color-psychology/?wide=1)
Hands on – Do it yourself!
I started this post with the objective to make my own infographic. I did not fully follow that plan through, but only because I did not have data to make one. However, I took a look at a program with which it is simple to design your own infographic. The name of this program is Piktochart and you can sign in with your Google Account. The probably best news is: It’s free!
It is a porgram that is easy to deal with. In my opinion, everyone that worked with InDesign or even PowerPoint can make use of it.
For those who do not have any prior experience and would like to dive deeper into the subject, here is an instruction video:
Have fun creating your own infographics!