A good infographic can be like a syringe, injecting an idea, message or product directly into the mind of your audience. But if you don't have a background in design, your infographics may stray into a vague, murky mess. These tips can help you create an effective infographic that will not only communicate your ideas but also keep your audience focused and engaged.
Importance of infographics
Visuals keep us engaged. Don't believe us? Start by viewing this infographic from NeoMan Studios about how our brains react to infographics. It says 50 percent of our brains are involved with visual processing and we can get a sense of an image in less than a tenth of a second. Also, we comprehend visual-based directions up to 323 percent better than text-based directions.
As a business owner, this means you can directly engage with your consumer or client base. You can communicate with your employees and advertise your products with visual aspects that will relay your message quickly and cause you to be remembered by your target audience.
Best design practices
If you have a good idea for a fresh, effective infographic for your business, it can be difficult to understand where to begin. But armed with a little knowledge, you can do it yourself.
Keep it simple
The KISS method (keep it simple, stupid) definitely applies to infographics. It's a medium – it should be viewed as something used to communicate an idea; it is not the focal point of your project. Treat your infographics with simplicity. Otherwise, you may drown your audience in excessive amounts of data.
Jasmine Bou-Nassif, a designer for Stark/Raving Branding + Advertising, said that when she creates infographics, she makes sure to keep things simple by sticking to a few bedrock design concepts. "The key to creating a great infographic is to have a clear system," she said. "Always identify your audience and break down what you are trying to explain."
Create a narrative
Effective infographics follow a logical progression that is like a story. A narrative can draw a reader in and keep them engaged. Daniel Davidson, founder of Dan Design Co. said that an audience wants an infographic to be a guide from point A to point B. "You can put in the hours, recruit the best designer, have the best data that no one else has, but if you don't communicate your message clearly, your infographic is going to be a bust," Davidson said. "Jumping around between data points, tips and other isolated pieces of content leaves the viewer with a jumbled mess they're not sure how to fit together. A great infographic just clicks for the viewer."
A major point of creating an infographic that "just clicks" is guiding the viewer to a conclusion. Brad Shaw, president and CEO of Dallas Web Design Inc. said that keeping this narrative moving is also essential. "Forget cramming a ton of data, focus on creating a visual story. All stories have a beginning, middle, and end. Infographics should as well," Shaw said. "At the beginning of the infographic, present the problem, then back it up with data or stats, end with a clear, simple conclusion."
Make it interactive
Another way to keep readers focused and engaged is by creating one that requires interaction from the viewer. This rule is for online infographics only. Creating interaction could mean revealing certain information, prompting the reader to click through to another page or prompting the reader to use their mouse to "erase" an object and find information.
Note: Making your infographic interactive can prove difficult if you have no design experience and no experience using Adobe Creative Suite. In this instance, it may be a good idea to hire someone to help you build your infographic. If that isn't an option, there are several online resources listed below.
For Bou-Nassif, creating an interactive infographic requires planning and attention to detail. "If creating an interactive infographic, leave enough time to create all of the links and buttons. Map out what each button or link should do before making it interactive. I like to use InDesign to make an interactive PDF. I start by laying everything out then I add in the interactivity."
Resources for nondesigners
If you have no design experience, can't hire a designer and need to create an infographic, here is a list of online resources that you can use to construct an infographic. A lot of them are easy-to-use online design programs that feature templates to work from.
Infogram offers users a simple platform to design and create not only infographics but other charts and even interactive maps. This platform also offers easy ways to share or embed your project once it is finished. It has free as well as several premium options based on your business's needs. The cost ranges from $19 per month to $119 per month depending on the plan.
Piktochart offers infographic, presentation and printable creations on its website. After choosing a template, users can customize data and tailor an infographic to fit their specific needs. Piktochart is available for free with two premium options. Users need to purchase the Pro plan, for $29 per month, to remove the Piktochart watermark on their projects.
Canva is a design tool that's fully template based. In addition to infographics, you can create resumes, presentations and flyers as well. Canva's interface is all based around dragging and dropping items, making it easy to visualize and create infographics without the hassle of advanced design knowledge. If you are interested in learning more about design, Canva offers a Design School tab on its website. Canva is also a free service, with business plans for $12.95 per month.
Visme is an online design service that offers data widgets specifically for designing infographics. This provides an easy, visual way to input data into different designs. There are a few Visme pricing plans, ranging from free to $60 per month.
Infographics are a vital tool for any business looking to connect and engage with an audience, whether it be customers, colleagues or clients. If you're building an infographic, remember to keep it simple, follow a narrative, use effective data and make it interactive (if possible). For those without design experience, there are a bunch of online template-based programs that work well to create an effective infographic.