How to Design Effective Infographics?
Have you ever stood by a bus stop or a train station and noticed a gigantic animated photo or a couple of words that captured your thought immediately? Or those attention-grabbing diagrams and pictures that look like the animated counterpart of your third grade lesson in bar graphs and pie charts that are used commonly by newscasters to convey some information about the debt of your country that no matter how boring it is, it just seems more interesting to tune in and stay on the channel because of those cute little colors buttons that have a life of their own?
These things are called "infographics", graphic visuals or information graphics. "Infographics" aim to convey information to readers at a glance or with lesser time needed to read a short article. In other words, these "infographics" are simple representations of data or information, usually statistical information. Imagine reading this:
Which would capture your attention more?
1. Keep it simple.
As much as possible, focus on a single thought and aim to answer a single question to avoid the readers getting confused with what you want to convey. Infographics should be able to make people, especially laymen, understand what seems to be a complicated or boring information in a way that would make them feel that what you are presenting is important for them to know.
2. Consider the viewers and avoid jargons.
You can either have a target set of viewers or just the general public. Having a set of viewers is easier as you already have an idea as to what type of words, phrases, or photos you would most likely put in there. These type of infographics is seen on magazines which themselves are categorized into car lovers, kids’ magazines, magazines for the moms, the socialite, the architect, and the fashionista.
The other place where you can place infographics is where the general public can see it. It may be s bus stop, at the back seat of a taxi, in the underpass, or any post or pillars you pass by on the way to church, school or office. They can even be on the sidebar of your Facebook page. You have to understand that people who will see your infographics will come from all walks of life — busy lawyers, tired doctors, noisy teenagers, prank-playing fifth graders, scurrying nannies, name it! So you need to be able to deliver the message across ages, races, and professions.
Keep it as layman as you can and avoid making people reach out for their Websters or search further in the Internet about what you are trying to say. You might end up confusing them.
3. Show, don’t tell.
The purpose of the infographics is to make people understand the same information at a shorter span of time dedicated for reading by using lesser words, and taking advantage of presenting information through colorful maps, charts, or graphs. Which brings us to the next point.
4. Forget the bar graph.
Remember when you were asked to shade parts of the bar graph as to how many books were borrowed from the library last school year? Sometimes you are even asked to compare it to the present school year. Or you’d be asked to show your annual household consumption of electricity through line graphs. Infographics is the same as presenting Business bar graphs and pie charts, but if bar graphs and pie charts are what companies want, they wouldn’t need designers anymore. They would only need their Excel application, right? Infographics is about dressing up your conventional bar graphs and charts in order to attract more attention, and be able to process information easier and better.
4. Think outside the box.
There are a million and one ways to convey texts in the form of slogans and spreads but be sure to, aside from keeping it simple and easy to understand, and like anything else in advertising, you have to make it unique and original. Capture the attention of your readers by injecting some humor in your infographics, some punch line from some important and relevant personalities, or by…
5. Remember the colorway.
As designers, whether professional or amateur, mixing colors is almost the basic in creating effective graphics. Avoid clashing colors like bright yellow and shocking red. You make want to incorporate the primary colors first but try to use different hues. You may also want to use the lightest color as your background but you should avoid using white as the background since most pages, especially in the Internet, are already using white background. It is hard to point out as to where the infographs end. You also need to be sensitive whether the colorways is hard to read. You may want to avoid neon green texts with black background as it is hard to read the text while battling with a bright and a dark color paired the wrong way. The key word here is experiment.
6. Tell a story.
You need to point out why people should take a while to read your infograph, and when you get their attention, you need to make them feel that their missing the bus or their spending of a fraction of their break-time to view your infograph is worth it.
Tell a story. Don’t make it boring. Make it something like reading a bedtime story to your three-year old. Remember that there is always a kid within us and whether people admit it or not, we always enjoy being read to somehow.
7. Understand the data.
very well where the data came from, the origin of the context, and the meaning beyond the figures of the statistics in order to formulate an effective slogan. Research if needed. Above all theses tips, you have to be sure about what you are saying because your credibility is at stake here. One wrong move and you can expect that people will be doubtful on your next infograph or article. Cite sources if applicable. More than any beautiful graphics or photos or striking phrases, you have to be 100% sure that the data you have is reliable.
Many companies like Twitter nowadays include infographics to convey statistics and other information. On Smashing Magazine’s site, they posted this:
Don’t you find it amazing that they can put too many information that is easy to understand in a small text box? Other sites also put infographs below or beside their search box that look like this:
It means that software, visualization and programming are the top searches in their site. Pretty easy to comprehend, right?
Being in a fast-paced world should not limit people to ingest relevant information such as the flow of the subway station in any place in the world. It is far easier to count how many stops there are before reaching Lexington Avenue at 59th Street, rather than reading a newspaper-seized font recount on how you’d reach your stop. More than the cool images and graphics, and the nice and funny statements on the Infographs, one needs to understand that the data on the inforgraph should come from a credible source, and that it should be 100% reliable. Otherwise, no matter how much time you spent on it, or how many people brainstormed on it, or how much time you allotted for it, it is nothing.
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