A message, information, and statistics are all around us. Some are poorly hung signs in New York City lanes and others are store names of companies across the world. Then, there are endless pieces of data that surround us all: our BMI details in hospitals, flight timetables, and directions to places you visit, to name a few instances of data is around us.
All in all, our history, present, and furniture are all wrapped up in files (digital or in some office in another corner of the world). Nonetheless, we hardly care.
Regardless of its significance and abundance, we do not realize its existence, let alone dive into its reliability; that is until this data is represented in a form that is interesting and crisp enough to grasp.
Information Made Interesting
By definition, the meaning of infographics is quite an easy-to-understand concept: a visual representation of data. However, its practical implication is not as easy as the definition itself suggests.
In order to make an infographic meet its purpose, this visual representation of data has to be a perfect blend of design, creativity, and data. Through the use of these elements, you can turn any piece of complex and mundane data into a bit easier to understand and appealing infographic.
These infographics are effectively used to communicate an idea or piece of information and stirs change in unexpected ways. Moreover, with our attention span decreasing over time, infographics have become a really powerful tool to not only understand information swiftly but also to save it for future reference.
Given its importance, the designer of an infographic should make it impactful enough to be pursued by individuals across industries.
Phase 1: Design
Design is an umbrella term for a lot of attributes. Here, it means not only the graphical elements such as icons and typography but also the overall structure of the information collected.
One of the ways of doing this is by telling a story through your infographics. While some people think that storytelling and transferring of data do not always go hand in hand, I stand on a somewhat gray ground.
By storytelling, I do not imply conventional ‘once upon a time’ storytelling, but a story where an infographic design has a beginning, an ending, and a thread that holds it all together. By combining storytelling and design elements, you take readers by the hands and guide them through the narrative and visuals.
Let’s have a look at the following infographic to understand the design aspect of an infographic.
Source: How to Be Productive While Working from Home
This is one of the excellent infographics that signify the importance and practical application of design. Designed by Bannersnack, the infographic very engagingly talks to us about a struggle we all have been facing: work from home. It starts by telling you what you exactly need to work from home effectively, then gives you tips on how to do so, and ends with valuable resources to help you work from home.
The design and flow of information are exactly how they should be in a shareable infographic. The colors are easy on the eyes yet stirring a pinch of motivation with blue, the icons match the content, and the structure is designed by keeping its people in mind.
- The data collected by you can speak to a lot of groups and about a lot of things. For instance, an infographic about Apple’s design strategy can be useful for aspiring designers as well as marketers and design agencies. It is your goal that determines the audience. Therefore, have another look at the collected information and explore which goal fits best given your brand (business or personal), current trends, and overall relevancy.
- Begin designing by keeping your target audience in check. When coming up with a structure, do not simply include the most important information on the top and make the rest meaningless. Instead, begin by quickly walking on a problem statement and then the information about it; preferably, end with a solution or an added piece of relevant information.
Phase 2: Creativity
The design industry has gone through several changes over the recent years. As infographic design is one of the most underrated aspects of design, these changes are yet to be entirely adapted by infographic designers.
One of the crucial changes in the aforementioned is the understanding of creativity. Earlier, creativity was only seen as how a design looked. However, now the power of creativity is also used to ensure that the viewer is impacted by the design – preferably, impacted to take intentional and pre-determined action.
While designing an infographic, try to give up the regular and expected ways of providing information – if your customers wanted information that way, they would go through the long lists of statistics.
The only way your infographic can be well-designed enough to stand out is not its mere information but the way its information is presented to the world.
Design elements and storytelling discussed in the design phase shall be aligned with creative thinking to compose an infographic that is easy to understand, perfectly structured, and catches the viewers’ attention at the first glance itself.
The following infographic is a perfect example of the implementation of creativity in the infographic design process.
Source: Ocean Pollution
Designed by Stephaine Phung, this engaging infographic represents the current situation of ocean pollution. Even though the topic of the above-mentioned infographic is as old as the concept of time, it is appealing and informative altogether.
If you notice the infographic acutely, you will realize that there is not a lot of statistics yet the information provided by the designer is enough to stir a change. From design elements such as highlighting the 1 in 20 adults, a marine creature entangled in plastic, and tiny cigarette buds to a curly bracket ending it all like a wave of the ocean, the Ocean Pollution infographic is a perfect combination of design creativity.
- You can ensure the quality of your infographic by trying a number of different options instead of going with the one that seems the best when you begin. Start brainstorming a flowchart of information to decide the flow of your infographic, draw icons and diagrams independent from the other elements and select the ones that align with your infographic structure and design adequately.
- Statistics are not enough by themselves; try to turn a piece of information into a piece of design (or at least a combination of information and design). For instance, if you are working on an infographic that talks about ‘color combination trends,’ you could use your design creativity to decide if the infographic should be grouped on the basis of the usage of color or there should be a single chart and all combinations of colors are shown within it.
Phase 3: Data
Before we dive into this phase, I would like to highlight that these phases are not specifically chronological but part of an ongoing process of creating an infographic.
While some think that collecting data is a one-time step that is performed at the very beginning, some of the best designers share their experiences concerning the creation of infographics and suggest that they revise their data collection throughout the process.
For perspective, if you are working on a how-to infographic – say, how to clean gadgets, you might realize that you can also add a section of alternate ways and tools that enhances the steps to clean gadgets.
If your information is not worthy enough, design and creativity will not be of any use to your infographic. Therefore, it is highly recommended to revise your data, collect your data from sources that are not as explored as others, and do it all while keeping the target viewers in mind.
To get a better understanding of the importance and use of data, let us take an example of the following infographic.
Source: The Most and Least Bike-Friendly Cities in America
This is one of the most thoroughly-designed infographics as it integrates a vast amount of data with an easy-to-understand structure and takes the viewer on a predefined journey. Designed by Tower Electric Bikes, this infographic tells us about cyclist fatality rates in each city, the number of people using cycles, and their motives (recreational or commute). To take it a step further, the designer has provided us with a ‘bike friendliness score’ for each city. These are the types of data-leveraging techniques that heighten the shareability of an infographic.
- While collecting data, you might not always have a structure or plan ready for the positioning of the specific piece of data. Nonetheless, try to take note of as much relevant information as you can possibly find from your sources. As you design the infographic, think about the target audience and provide sets of data that might help them make informed decisions or take well-thought actions.
- As shown in the above-discussed infographic, a large amount of data does not necessarily have to seem complicated. Therefore, instead of giving the data as it is, you could represent it with bars and aggregated scores to give the users a gist of what the entire data contains.
The Bottom Line
Now that you have an idea of how the making of an infographic works, you can start with researching information based on your target audience, and stir design creativity to design an infographic that is well-designed, engaging, and a true source of information for the world.
Your infographic might differ from the examples we have gone through in the above-mentioned points, but make sure it is appealing in all the right manners: design and data.
Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the Media and Digital marketing sector, Passionate about innovation and bringing the future into new business solutions.