I did a 3 part series earlier this year showing you how to make professional Presentations. Now it’s time to dive into Infographics which when created properly act as powerful visual communication assets to make sense of otherwise hard to understand data, stats and figures.
We create a fairly detailed eBook on “How to Make Infographics” which is packed with useful information on data visualization and infographics. This 7 part series is based on the eBook but it dives a bit deeper into the examples provided along with tips and tricks to improve your infographic design skills.
In Part 1 before we dive into what actually makes a good compelling infographic. Enjoy!
Today I want to start a new series about A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Shareable Infographics.
I just recently did a 3-part series about how to create compelling presentations and of course, it’s time to do one about infographics.
Just in the last 5 years, the word infographics has skyrocketed and you kind of hear it and it has become a big part of visual communication. That’s why I think it deserves its own series and I’m going to be doing 6 or 7 videos on this.
But to start off with, the first thing I want to do rather than jumping into showing you how to create infographics, is to first show you what makes a cool infographic.
It pretty much comes down to an effective infographic. Effective infographics are composed of few different attributes. They’re well designed, they tell a good story, and also they are easy to understand. They give you a visual aspect of content in a manner that is easy and snackable.
1. Tells a story
Th first thing I want to talk to you about is that an effective infographic tells you a good story. So as with presentations, you’ve got to tell a story through infographics.
Infographics are pretty much tall form formats of a presentation. They’re tall versus being composed of multiple slides.
This is a very good example. It’s about “5 Minutes About Your Digestive System” and starts off well, but the problem is that as you scroll down and as you move down, it ends abruptly and it kind of has a poor narrative.
What you want to do instead is to have a good story to tell. So take readers by the hand and actually guide them through the visuals. This one about airport hacks, it tells you a story throughout the process. So as you go through it tells you different aspects of how to get through airport and different tips and guides on hacking through an airport.
2. Takes your eyes on a predefined journey
Now, number 2 is you want to take users on a predefined journey. It’s about where you start and where you end.
And along the way, you want to fill between the gaps and them a story and actually give them a narrative.
This one is not really a great example. The problem with this infographic is that there really is no sense of a beginning and an end. It lookks like a soup of letters and numbers. The problem is that by just looking at it a few seconds, you have a hard time understanding what has been related to you.
However, this example here, it allows you to communicate your message effectively, it is composed of harmonious colors and is not a very complex design. It’s actually very simple but at the end of it, as you go through it, you are enlightened and also entertained.
3. Provides a new angle
Number 3, ou want to provide a new angle. One of the most common mistakes that I see designers and non-designers make when they create infographics is this format where they create a list, in a way it’s a little bit better than a bullet list where you have visuals composed with supplementing the text but however at the end of the day it’s not really a true infographic.
A good infographic uses unconventional angles to inform your audience. This one I really love. It basically tells you the ingredients of chicken noodle Ramen. What it has done is taken the ingredients and broken them down into one simple, easy to understand snackable visual. It’s a great example. You want to provide a new angle whenever you can.
4. Practical value
Number 4 is you want to add practical value. Always ask yourself when you’re creating an infographic:
Does it bring value to your audience?
Does it inform them? Does it give them something different and they’re not aware of?
Or give it to them in a more easier to understand aspect. We actually created an ebook on infographics in our visual learning center. We analyze over 200+ most shared infographics of Visme.
One of the things that we found out is that a lot of the infographics that are mostly shared, provide a tangible benefit to their readers. They are a compilation of difficult tasks and make them easy to understand.
It might be a visual cheat sheet, it might be how-to guides. This one is a great example. This infographic is about the history of ice cream. It goes throughout the different years and actually tells you about the evolution and also where we are today with one of the most commonly consumed snacks being the ice cream.
Next is your content, the infographic should be well structured. You want to organize when you have a lot of information. And that’s the thing, infographics are meant to take large amounts of information and make them easy to understand.
The problem with a lot of infographics these days is there’s a lot of information and people typically take that and they don’t really concentrate on the key points and they just put it all together.
This infographic has a lot of content, a lot of information and it also kind of has been processed in a way that it’s a little bit hard to understand. You don’t know where your eyes are suppose to follow.
However, with this one, they broke it down into sections. You want to break your infographic into sections, and each section lets it concentrate on a specific message. So the user and the viewer can understand the message in just a few seconds.
6. Sends one key message
Number 6, you want to send one key message. When creating an infographic, concentrate on one key message.
If it’s too complicated of a design such as this one, it’s very hard to understand, it kind of beats the purpose of an infographic.
If this was geared towards the engineering community with very large and complex pieces of data, I can understand why it would be created that way but we’re talking about the general audience. We’re talking about mass producing or mass sharing of infographics and allowing your audience to be able to view it, find something interesting and also be able to actually store it for later.
One of the tips I recommend when creating yours is to ask someone else that wasn’t involved in a process to view it. If they don’t understand it, the challenge is going to be that others may not as well.
This example here, it’s actually very neatly done. It’s a radial design and what it’s doing is talking about the paid leave maternity. It shows that US has zero weeks maternity leave and then the UK has surprisingly 40, Iran has 12 weeks. It’s a pretty cool way of presenting the information.
7. Visually appealing
Now let’s talk about 7. It should be visually appealing, a very common mistake amateurs make. There is no visual appeal to this design. There’s way too much text and it kind of looks like maybe it’s a page out of a book; A big fail. This is a big no-no when it comes to creating compelling infographics.
What want to do instead is to concentrate on a clear title and take advantage of clear use of [00:07:26]. And also this one has a very harmonious, clean design to it.
I would actually want to bookmark this and probably look at it later on or share it on my Twitter or Facebook and so on. A great example.
8. It is accurate and well-researched
Number 8, you’ve got to have accurate and well-researched information.
One of the big sins data visualization and infographics is misleading your readers. Do research and make sure you don’t provide inaccurate or incomplete information.
This example although it’s actually neatly designed, from a closer look it exaggerates the results of the study.
Instead what you want to do is you want to handle information responsibly. Utilize useful tips and facts. If you do a research and actually provide tips that have research behind them, proven research, then in that aspect you’re going to have a much better tale and infographic for your audience.
9. Make copy short and sweet
And 9, last but not least is make copy short and sweet.
Here’s a perfect example. It’s a very similar to the last one that I showed you, the problem is that it’s a very common amateur mistake. We see this all the time with people creating infographics at Visme and other tools, is that they just copy paste content onto their design. The problem is that you are creating an infographic.
Infographics are supposed to take useful information into bite-sized pieces and to allow the users to be able to easily understand that. It kind of beats this one. Defeats the purpose of a visual communication.
This one is a great example though. Basically it has a catchy headline, the design is pretty clean, there’s a nice contrast on the text over the background.
You can easily understand and see the information. There are visuals supported by various small pieces of content. The key messages are supported by visuals.
And there you have it!
This was nine attributes of what makes a good infographic and the next episode I’m going to actually talk about the different types of infographics where I’m going to talk to you about timeline, the process to infographics, and series of others and that way you can actually, when you create yours in the future steps.
In the future episodes, you will be able to understand and know what type of infographic is going to accompany the type of content that you want to present.
Here’s the slide deck used in the video lesson