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This is the second installment of a three-part series about Infographics creation. This part will guide and help you with the basic principles of creating a visual layout for your infographic.
Infographics are one of the most challenging types of visual mmunication, primarily because its creation cannot be left to chance or luck and a cumulation of multiple objects to form one uniform visual representation.
Depending on the complexity of data presented an infographic can be quite an extensive and laborious process. Data collection alone is time consuming, because you have to carefully filter the information from the most authoritative resource you can find.
After the tremendous amount of research, it is endorsed to the visual artist, who on the other hand is tasked to understand the point of view and the message of the idea you want to send. The visual artist will have painstaking moments in producing a visual with a strong impact that will, in utmost precision and care, illustrate and deliver the message you want to convey.
In this series you will find design particulars like how to mix and match colors, rules on typography, rules on image use as well as referencing your output from your resources.
Creating an eye-catching infographic is reliant on 2 material aspects - one topic content which we have discussed in part 1 of this blog series and today, the visual approach.
It takes time to determine and study your audience. and when you do finally get a good grasp as to who they might be - a great deal of time is spent thinking what type of data visualization will appeal most to your audience. The question is: “what visual value would they need from you?”
For all intents and purposes, let’s say it’s a general rule that your visual content is dependent on your marketing objective and business goals.
Visual approach refers to how you are going to present your data. It refers to the overall look and feel of the infographic.
One camp of experts (those of the likes of David McCandless, Nicholas Felton) prepare an infographic by utilizing the raw data and adding special tweaks to make them beautiful. Refer to the examples below :
This camp impressively implements typography, color psychology and structure as eye-catching pieces of digital art. Simple but enough to deliver the information that a particular audience is looking for.
The other camp – the likes of Peter Orntoft & Scott Stowell – moves audiences with the use of story illustration and metaphors, disguising the data in a full- forced visual narrative, that is often times similar to graphs and charts.
Once you have defined your visual approach, you can now proceed to working on choosing elements to complete the visual presentation.
“The reason to go visual is that with any creative presentation, relevant information and pertinent data can now be shown as opposed to just being told. “
A clear and accurate representation of what is difficult to comprehend when read, when converted to visual presentation, becomes valuable content - one that anyone can learn from. Add to it the fact that it easier to entice with visual creations.
An infographic no matter how useful the data and information it contain will fail if and when the design and artistic visualization process fails to provide a presentation that very well interprets that data. The colors, fonts and images must clearly support interpretation and should not limit understanding.
Design an infographic that is capable of easing the interpretation and not derailing or defeating the very purpose of the visual presentation- that is fast and easy absorption and comprehension of accurate data.
An infographic to be effective must clearly identify ideas and concepts in individual thematic blocks. It should be able to highlight the most important statistic or the most important data of the topic you are presenting. There should be a clear presentation of quantitative data and qualitative data.
There is no use in producing an infographic that contains material data that has already been presented.
Refresh data by creating a more dynamic, engaging, accurate and clearer depiction of data and information
Your infographic should be something new or trending – it must offer data that is news to everyone or it must represent something that no one has seen, or it should provide an answer for something controversial or provide material data that is useful to research and learning.
It’s usually risky to use black as your infographic background but sometimes the risk can pay off as with this infographic about human storage.
It is a generally accepted rule that it is best to keep things simple - “LESS is MORE”. This rule applies to your use of text. Again, the very purpose of visualization is to lighten the load of information. Visualized data works wonders to the human brain and to put in too much text when you are presenting an infographic, somehow defeats the purpose of it being an infographic.
The next item would be to do more with your innate creativity. Design principles are there for a reason but with same token, don’t ever be afraid to break some rules specially if this will help you put your data make more sense and visually appealing to your audience. Do away with the basics from time to time. Learn how to incorporate painted visuals, dancing fonts and interactive data while respecting clean design and don’t force it.
Understand the basic concepts of typography. Understand how to improve your sense of contrast, how you can make dynamic presentations. Infographics are the new language of content communication. Use shapes and images wisely to tell a story or create enticing and informative visual output. The image above created a fascinating contrast and an engaging story about human consumption.
In terms of design your colors must be well capable of blending with one another, the fonts you used must be complementary to what you wish to emphasize and images or icons that you use must be carefully handpick and should ensure that it is capable of delivering the message you want to send.
Look at this the infographic below, it is in Spanish but the message is so clear, precise and equivocally presented in such a way the even non-speakers or non learners of the dialect can comprehend what is being conveyed by the infographic. One key information you gain from this infographic is that it effectively communicates the data that 9.774 % of all accidents happen due to short distances between vehicles when driving.
“The right palette can help organize an infographic, evangelize the brand, reinforce the topic and more “
When you are too consumed with the information you have collected you tend to have a struggle in how to put the colors together. What to do when you hit a dead end like this? Just observe this basic color rules and stay on the safe zone.
Use universal colors, avoid using more than 2 color combinations unless absolutely necessary. Stick to the basic rule of dark and light, then work on the shade. The dark and light contrast will and should dominate your infographic (however as show above,deviating from this rule is possible, if you know how to deal with colors ) Avoid abusing your colors, exhaust the shades so you get subtle enhancement.
When presenting comparative data - offer enough white space and don’t always settle for a white background for the simple reason that most websites are build on a white background. It will be very difficult to decipher where your infographic starts and ends.
This infographic about politics made it possible for readers to understand the differences of each opposing sides.
When creating something for your company brand, safest way to go about your color choices is to settle with company colors or use company colors as the foundation of your infographic color concept and work on the shades as you see fit for your topic.
Relate to the color of your content topic - If your topic is all about vegetables, then use the most common colors for vegetables - green, yellow, orange - work on the shades where necessary. Associate the colors of your infographic with your topic.
If the topic you have in mind is capable of being presented in varying colors, you can settle for earth combinations - go for the color of the seasons or holiday festivities and you will find yourself working perfectly well with colors.
Device a color scheme that is easy on the eyes and complements the data presented.
Look at how this infographic was carefully plotted
Establish a connection between and among section blocks- make sure that you are observing the hierarchy you have outline in your structure.
Look at this example how the pieces of information works together to give you an idea everything you need to know why online dating has become a craze.
When creating an infographic to help buyers decide, a key element is to make sure that you have accurate data. Don’t end up just another marketing campaign content, be the authority for your brand to encourage others to buy.
Ensure the accuracy of your data and that it complements the graphics it is attached to. Here’s a very good example of an infographic whose content objective is conversion.
Information organization is done during the structuring and wire framing of our topic content. It involves creating the section block that will separate one set of information from another. Once information blocks have been preset and identified, the next crucial step is to work on its hierarchy in the visual presentation.
A well-structured structured infographic topic content, prepared with a well-thought wireframe, brings about a an above average to excellent infographic. Never overlook the process of organizing your content, it is very vital in designing an infographic for presentation.
Learn the basics of Typography . An eye catching infographic title is the perfect place to showcase a good use of typography principles. Forego using too many font types unless necessary to establish an idea found on the infographic.
The ultimate goal in creating an infographic is to make available data easily absorbed – it is, as a rule of thumb – wise to be simple.
This is a simple infographic with a complex topic, but see how icons were utilized to come up with the visual data
Remember to use the best simple images that you can find or think on. Do a process of elimination as to which image is the best fit to conveying your message. Limit the use of metaphors unless you are certain that you can communicate your data well.
The old adage - A picture is worth a thousand words - remains true in the world of visual communication. This refers to the idea to confine your message or deliver your message at a glance. The reader must quickly understand your message at the first time he looks at in, no need to dig deeper, serve everything in one plate.
Again go back to your structure, implement the hierarchy that you have. Your information should be enough to create an infographic that can deliver a particular brand message, a health advisory worth reading, a research that should be read - all this will go back to the goal and purpose you have when you chose your idea.
Data organization is very important most especially if you are creating an infographic about how-to’s, processes or advocating conversion. Look at the example below :
It also has something to do with how you want it presented. Data is lost when you have a poor presentation. Data collection is daunting, in preparing your content you have to sift through various content - you will find yourself going back in forth condensing the information to smaller chunks, deciding at the same time which information is relevant to your goal and which should not be included so it will not mislead your readers.
“Main takeaway when working on your data, keep refreshing your brain with what the goal and purpose have you outlined”.
It bears important reiteration, that your content should have a direction. When you have filtered the data you need, go back to your goal and purpose:
Does your data answer:
What you want to share?
Will it make sense to your audience?
Will it add knowledge to the reader ?
When you wireframe your data and put in the layout - remember this - your infographic should not confuse you and should not make you feel like a disoriented toddler. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience, ask yourself if it make sense to you. If the answer is in the affirmative great you give yourself a green light and finalize, otherwise, go back to the beginning and do it all over again.
When you do start the process again, remember to have well researched information that is reliable and compelling on the outside. Your data should clearly tell a story about something or that it should ignite the curiosity of your readers. and most importantly it should be capable of delivering the message instantly to your readers.
Watch out for the third part of this series. We will be sharing tips and a few hacks how to utilize infographic for content marketing online.