If a picture is worth a thousand words, an effective infographic can tell the whole story. Here, our iQ design team discusses how communicators can use this visual storytelling tool successfully.
What is the purpose of an infographic?
An infographic, more than just bar graphs and pie charts, should tell a story that readers can understand without words. The infographic should be able to stand alone, with no explanation.
What should communicators think about as they embark on the infographic development process?
You have to answer the following questions:
- What is the one thing that you want people to learn or understand? Is it something that can translate to visual representation?
- Who is the audience and how much knowledge do they already have about the topic?
- Which data or information is the most compelling to the widest audience?
How do you know if the information is well suited to graphical representation?
Infographics are commonly used to represent statistics, processes, lists, timelines comparisons, and geographic data. It is advisable to think about the piece as a whole: how will the graphics and the text complement each other and effectively pace the audience as they take in the information?
Examples of different types of infographics for our client, Hawaiian Electric, that were better told visually:
What is the rule of thumb for how much text is permissible in an infographic?
The more concise the text, the greater the chances of keeping the reader or viewer engaged. In fact, it's best to limit text to one sentence or less. Consider the overall visual representation when crafting text and work closely with the creative team given that copy may need to be tweaked to accommodate the design.
What is the one thing that people misunderstand about infographics?
Not everything can or should be visually represented. If the information is not understandable in graphic form, stick with text.
What are your formatting recommendations for social media and mobile phone viewing?
Rather than cram all of your information into one post, separate it into slides so that people have more latitude to absorb it. By taking advantage of slideshows you will turn your infographic into bite-sized chunks that readers can digest little by little. Include the most important data in the graphic and leave the other details in the caption. Note: If the data is easy to read and impactful, it becomes more sharable.
An infographic can be a concise and powerful vehicle for showcasing data and information. They can serve to enhance messaging and strengthen thought leadership campaigns. Think through objective, audience, and data selection before moving into the design phase to achieve optimal results.