In the marketing industry we have to see infographics as being quite new, although it looks like they have been around for ages. It is only now that we see a huge craze that appears in marketing and that includes infographics as a promotional method.
Using infographics can be highly beneficial for promoting literally any sign or campaign but it has to be done properly. Always remember that building an infographic does not guarantee you will get links to your pages or traffic to your sites. You have to be sure that the infographic is properly promoted and you need to learn how to create something that can be engaging.
We will now talk about infographic design since most people out there just get a vector based Illustrator template, paste some data and expect success. Before you submit your infographic to any site, make sure that you take into account how modern infographics are created since there are differences compared with what worked in the past, all fundamentals are always the same.
Data Has To Tell A Story
In order to properly communicate with your audience, you need to tell a story. It is the only way in which you can engage with anyone. When you just paste data and there is no story that is presented, you end up with an infographic that is not effective.
All data that you use needs to be:
Always think about whether or not the audience finds the data that you present and the way in which you present it as being interesting. At the same time, be sure that you always present information that is first offered by a credible, high authority source. Controversy is quite good since it creates an instant response. Creating debates and conversations is what helps spread influence.
Think About Audience And Purpose
One of the worst things that you can do is to create an infographic that includes really good data but everything you present is of no interest to the target audience. Before you even create your fist layout, you have to research the market, the media landscape and the client so that you can connect in a proper way.
After you identify your target audience, you will need to consider the call to action that you want to include. Some want to sell a product or a service. Others want to raise brand awareness. Identifying your purpose will help you to create an infographic that is suitable and that can help you to reach the goals you have at the moment.
Making Complex Data Completely Understandable
The wise marketer knows that he has to communicate in a way that the target audience can understand everything. This means that you have to avoid industry slang as much as possible. After data is analyzed, you have to figure out how to properly present it. The graphic’s main purpose is to make data as comprehensive and as pretty as possible.
The viewer can understand facts in a really easy way when proper graphics are used. What you create needs to have the aim of presenting everything in a way that reaches purposes. With this in mind, the visual representation of your data should:
- Be accurate
- Be clear
- Be informative
- Be accessible
- Be optimized – presented in a way that will be conducive to promotion medium.
- Be Attractive
The infographic needs to make the data easy to understand while also standing out as visually appealing and completely informative. As you can imagine, this is really difficult to achieve.
A great example of an infographic that actually tells a story is How Laws Are Made (pictured above) by Mike Wirth and Dr. Suzanne Cooper Guasco. The reader is taken through the entire law making process, thus being captivated by a story instead of just data.
First Consider Your Structure!
When you build a house, you start with the foundation. In a similar way, the great infographic always relies on a clear, strong structure. A good structure will determine data organization, narrative flow and guarantee data integrity. When you concentrate on your structure, data will control graphics instead of visual design controlling the infographic.
If you want to have a good structure, you have to think about:
- How much data you include – Is it too much or too little?
- Data categorization – Different visual formats will be needed for different categories. Information is usually organized in 5 ways by designers: chronologically, alphabetically, categorically, hierarchically or by location.
- Mediums – animation, interactive or static.
- Where infographics will be promoted – on TV sets, in print or on the internet.
While building your structure, stop from time to time and make sure that everything you create is very easy to understand. Infographics always have to inform and success always varies based on this. You may end up being caught up into your design and lose sight of your structure. So many designers create tremendous visualizations that are stunning on your wall but the data is not really accessible because of improper structures.
The bottom line with the structure is that it needs to be well constructed, with design being secondary in the process, but not to be neglected. When you add structure that is way too complex and those that see it have to spend a lot of time to decipher it, you have a huge problem. Your structure needs to:
- Be comprehensive
- Put focus on key elements
- Be clear
- Never mask data
- Never obscure facts
The infographic above showcases a really simple medium with minimal text but simple information, making it highly attractive, while also reaching a great target audience.
Use Correct Tools
The web designer has access to so many tools and chart options that can be used. We have access to lines, layers, areas, bars, pies and highly customizable elements that can make the infographic look exactly as you want it to. The problem is that when we have so many opportunities, it is easy to end up faced with problems since wrong choices are made.
You have to select design elements that are perfect based on the data that you are about to present. Visual representations of data blocks can be tough but you can easily use various elements in some circumstances.
As an example, use a simple bar chart if this is the most accessible format that is to be used. Learn from how data was presented in the past and do not always try to come up with something new. You can easily add some graphic elements to transform a bar chart into something else but is it something that will be beneficial for overall readability?
Choosing A Correct Visual Approach
There are basically two main types of infographics when talking about overall graphic visual design:
- Data does all the talking – Artwork is created for data.
- Graphic elements do the talking – Attractive design elements are created in order to drive a narrative, guiding style so that the information is mainly attractive while data is presented in a brute way.
Both approaches are suitable for specific situations. In some cases we can even combine them. In most situations you will need to consider the following to see what correct visual approach:
- Exposure medium
- Necessary tone
You have to be really careful whenever you use illustrations so that you can represent narratives. Information and data stand out as main elements while illustrative elements should never hamper viewer comprehension. Metaphorical data visual representation can always be insightful and impactful when it is correctly used. Data would be lost if it is not correctly utilized.
Size Is Vital
The image that you create needs to be of a really high resolution. When bloggers or the press want to publish it or share it, high resolution is vital. You should never limit options before you even start designing your infographic by starting to work at an improper resolution.
A small infographic version is always recommended as it is to appear as a very attractive and small image, perfect for sharing on social networks. This is known as an infogram. The infogram is practically a really concise infographic part that can also be viewed as a standalone content.
Many designers forget about the infogram but you should not make this mistake. Having various sizes and resolutions is important. Below you can see an example of an infogram for the infographic we showed above:
It is such a shame to see a really well designed infographic that does not have branding. At the same time, there are cases when we have too much branding. In most situations less is more as you build an outreach campaign. Try to think about how you can brand the content that you promote without making it seem that this is what you do. This is quite tricky but it can be done if you are a little patience. You can add logos at the top and URLs at the end. Also, if you have authority, you can add links to your content in the source section.
Arranging Data Into Sections
All the data that you have need to be broken down. Your infographic needs to include sections because of the fact that data becomes much easier to digest. The idea is to have parts of the infographic that can be used as standalone images to use for promotion purposes in the future. That is quite interesting for a promotion purpose since your infographic automatically transforms into various images that you would use to promote just parts.
A really good infographic will be shared by people when the data presented is credible. You have to be able to add sources. If possible, the infographic can also include clickable URLs. When you create your infographic, you have access to data that is taken from different sources. The designer receives the data and should also receive the source of that data so that it can be added right at the bottom of the infographic. At the same time, it is great to add some sort of code that can be used for embedding the infographic but that is done by the webmaster, not by the designer. Learn more about adding sources here.
PR And Distribution
As already stated, many think that a good infographic will basically promote itself. This is not the case. After you finish that perfect infographic, you need to distribute it. That is not as easy as you may believe right not.
The designer is not responsible for the promotion but it is important to understand at least the basics. You have to basically realize where your target audience is found online. That is where the infographic should be promoted. If it is well designed, you will be able to have it become viral.
There are various things that were mentioned above and it is quite difficult to take them all in. Infographics are basically available all around the world and they surround us. Some elements are even used in billboard ads.
A designer that wants to specialize in infographics needs to also have some sort of marketing training. This is because he/she needs to realize how to create visual elements that would aid the promotion of the image that is created. This is a lot easier said than done!
When you are asked to create an infographic, it is very important that you take the necessary time to ask all the questions you need answers to. This mainly means that you have to look at the target audience. As a simple example, in the event that you need to create an infographic for 20 year old men, everything would be different than when comparing with 40 year old women.
When you receive the content that is to be added to the infographic you create, you have to always think about whether or not it will be good. While you are paid for adding that data and creating the images, success is highly dependent on the data that you receive. If you think that the data is not suitable, you have to let the client know. That is why the work of the professional infographic web designer is difficult.
At the same time, you have to be sure that you ask about how the infographics will be promoted. That is necessary since you have to be aware of how to create the infographic in a way that is suitable, based on all the factors that were mentioned above. Have patience and always ask for enough time so that you can create something that is perfect!
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