Visuals play a vital role in how marketing, advertising, and the relay of information work-especially online. Whether it’s a certain color that grabs your attention or hazard symbols that give a warning message, your brain responds. That’s why it should come as no surprise that 90% of the information the brain receives is visual, and that 40% of people respond better to visual information than just plain text.
With the surplus of information on the web you want to find the easiest and most attractive way to communicate with users, which is how the infographic came about. Infographics condense a lot of information and/or ideas into a visually appealing image. Often used in situations with heavy data or statistics, infographics can successfully and quickly illustrate concepts to viewers.
While there are no official rules to creating infographics as it’s largely at the discretion of the designer, there are certain things that make for a successful visual. If nothing else, these are the guiding principles of infographic development.
1.Cater to a specific theme and develop a narrative.
The beginning stages of hashing out an infographic can be a lot like the initial work on an article or blog post. Since an infographic needs to say everything in a clear and concise image, you have to identify upfront what your message is. Try and identify the kind of content you’d be communicating if the end result weren’t an image. Is it a how to? Is it data and facts? A process? What wording should you use? Here’s an example of a well themed infographic:
The Paleo theme is supported by a simplistic and minimal design that enhances the topic. Once you know what you want to say, you can start working out how you’re going to say it through visuals, and figuring out how to bring that message to life is the fun part. Developing a narrative with flow involves consideration of how the infographic will fit into a larger body of text, or how it will effectively stand alone. Before starting on your graphic, draft out your message to get a clear idea and stick to a focused theme.
2. Carefully develop your headline.
As is true with any piece of content, the headline (or title) of your infographic will be just as important as the graphic itself. Having a compelling title is what will catch the attention of users to earn clicks and shares, and it should strike a balance between saying too much and not enough.
The most important thing to keep in mind when creating a headline/title for an infographic is not to give everything away. Even if it’s the infographic is full of statistics that will need further context and explanation, saying too much in the title diminishes the intrigue necessary for users to click.
3. Keep the infographic focused and the design simplistic.
Like most things online, infographics are most effective when kept simple. A big part of infographic appeal is taking something complex or text-heavy and making it a simple, condensed piece. Mucking that up with too many visuals will create a visual overload that users find unappealing.
As an artistic component, make use of blank space where necessary. You don’t have to say everything in just one infographic-you can always break up your message into a flowing series of as many infographics as you need. Here’s an example of a few infographics coming together to make a whole:
While this particular example might be a project that’s bigger than most infographics, it shows how flexible they can be. Your information doesn’t have to be confined to one infographic, so take the extra space if you need it.
4. Make your graphics pretty with visual representations.
Connecting your infographic to the topic requires visual representation. Here’s what I mean:
Of the images above, one is a bar chart and one is an infographic. How you dress up and present your information is a critical part of infographic development, especially for data-driven information and statistics. People are attracted to attractive things, so find a way to make your visual appealing while adding to the topic.
5. Promote your infographic and make it shareable.
It’s unlikely that your infographic will soar to viral heights without putting some effort and consideration into promotion. Exposure, just like articles and press releases, is key to getting more eyes on your infographic. Adding social share buttons to your infographics and developing a strategic posting plan is a good starting point. You can also try and connect with influencers who would be interested in your graphic and open to sharing it across their network.