Visual representation of information is the best format for people to understand it and commit it to memory for a long time. This is due to the fact that the human brain is better equipped for understanding physical notions than abstract ones. Over the years, specialists of all kinds have tried to find visual ways in which to put data so that people who would use this data could better understand it. In business, finance and statistics, pie charts and bar charts are the most frequently used visual representations. In marketing, there are infographics.
Infographics are more than just an upgraded form of pie charts and number representations. They are storyboards which lead the reader from key item to key item until the final conclusion and the call to action. An infographic has the advantage that it can be used internationally – all the words and numbers being accompanied by symbolic representations which allow anyone to understand them.
Last, but not least, infographics are a fun and effective way to repurpose your content – blog articles, fact sheets, white papers – in a new format which adds value to the content through graphic representation.
This being said, let us see how to build an amazing and eye-catching infographic.
- Look at the Data and Extract Potential Topics
When you put together all the numbers, percentages and statistics you have available, you have a huge pool of potential topics for an infographic. Just try to think of data concerning mobile shopping or internet traffic from mobile phones versus that from computers. A simple Google search gives you so much statistical data – the secret is to select the kind of data which makes a great story to be told through an infographic.
- Build Your Storyline
Once you have the topic and the data which goes with it, it is time to turn the cold numbers into a story. This story will serve as backbone for developing the visual content, so take all the time you need for it. What is your approach? Casual, academic, formal or funny? How will you tell the story: starting with the pain point and moving towards the solution, or highlighting the solution and interspersing it with pain points?
- Create a Wireframe
A wireframe or a mock-up is a hand drawn sketch of what your infographic will look like. You will focus on deciding the length of the infographic, its sections (headline, body, call to action), the format (portrait or landscape, folded brochure or flyer format) and the key graphic elements (icons, leading visual elements, photos, etc.).
The wireframe will be built with the storyline in mind – at this point you will perform the fine tuning, because it will be apparent if certain elements of the story cannot be transposed into meaningful graphics. Once your wireframe is ready, you can move on to actual infographic creation.
- Build Your Infographic
There are two ways of doing this: take the wireframe to a graphic designer, or work on your own using an online infographic-making tool. Some tools, such as Canva, offer free access to templates and icon packs. For more advanced and sophisticated designs, you will have to subscribe to a premium plan. At any rate, it is less expensive than hiring a designer and it will give you access to lots of resources for future infographics.
Infographic makers are very intuitive and easy to use. You can customise your initial template by adding or removing elements, changing colours and including your own media files (vector graphics and photos).
- Refine and Publish Your Infographic
The hard work in making an amazing infographic consists in including the precise number of elements to make it understandable, without making a busy design. Focus on one topic only, use graphic elements of the same family and remember to put everything into visual focus. For example, numbers should be included in geometrical shapes, important information should stand out by a clever use of contrasting colours and eye leading elements such as lines, and arrows should help the reader along the story.
Once you are happy with your infographic, you should brand it, create proper metadata for it, and post it all over your social media accounts. Infographics are very shareable and will help you reach out to new followers and potential customers. As a final word of advice, start with easy topics which require minimal graphic presentation. As you become more skilled, you can tackle complex stories and even develop a specific infographic style of your own which will add to your brand image.