Between the internet, television and our friends, we are constantly bombarded with an enormous amount of information and no way to effectively manage it. With information coming at us from all directions, how do you communicate an important message to a specific audience? Better yet, how do you communicate that message in a way that will stick? My suggestion is this: create an infographic! If you haven’t jumped on the data visualization bandwagon yet, your brand is truly missing out.
Infographics are a great tool to visually present a lot of boring data in a not-so-boring way. Not only can they clearly and concisely convey data, they can tell a story that will make a lasting impression on your audience. If you have never seen an infographic, they are a visual depiction of data that uses a combination of graphics and text, and they are the perfect way to make morsel of information digestible to your busy audience.
After designing an infographic for a PR class at the University of Oregon, I discovered just how challenging it can be to arrange a set of data in a way that would visually appeal to my target audience. I knew that I wanted my infographic to be about body image, but I didn’t know what direction to go in or how to make my audience actually care. But, after conducting a TON of research and talking with my professor, I took a leap of faith and started sketching. The moral of the story is that creating an infographic isn’t always easy, but the end result is worth the hard work and time. Whether you are creating an infographic for a client, your personal brand or for fun, here are ten tips to help ease the process.
1. Choose a theme. You can make an infographic on just about anything. However, if you can only find three statistics for your chosen topic, they better be dang good statistics. If not, you should probably move on to something with more data.
2. Identify your target audience. This was one of the first things my professor had my class do, and now I understand why. While it can be difficult to narrow down your audience before beginning the design process, it will help you identify what information to include on your infographic.
3. Do your research. Poke around the internet and make a list of all the great facts you find. After you’ve found 10 to 15 solid statistics or pieces of information, put the facts in order of importance and decide what to leave out.
4. Use a color scheme that makes sense for your topic. If your infographic is about USA’s Winter Olympic Team, you probably want to have some red, white and blue in there. If your theme is recycling, use different shades of green, brown and other earth tones. You get the picture.
5. Stick to three fonts. More than that can make your infographic look amateur and sloppy. Nobody wants that.
6. Make the most important information the focal point. Remember that awesome list of facts you made in step three? Pick out the key points, and make them stand out on the page. Create a hierarchy by using big fonts and bold colors for the crucial information and smaller fonts for the less-important stuff.
7. Use a mix of images, graphs and scales. Your audience will get bored if you have a bunch of words with no visuals. Grab your audience’s attention with an unexpected image or a compelling graph.
8. Make it flow. Guide the viewer through your infographic with lines or arrows. Infographics contain a lot of information- don’t let the viewer get confused or annoyed because he/she doesn’t know what to look for.
9. Cite your sources. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but let your audience know where you got your information from. It’s common courtesy.
10. Share your infographic. Congrats! You finished your very first infographic. Now show the world how artistic and smart you are by sharing it with your friends. Post it to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, your blog or anywhere else your heart desires.