Thursday 2 June 2016
Let’s start with some interesting facts:
- An infographic is 30 times more likely to be read than a text-based article
- Humans remember 80% of what they see compared to 20% of what they read
- 90% of information that is processed by the brain is visual
The saying ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ comes to mind, so why do we still insist on sharing and presenting text-heavy data to our audience?
Before I share with you my top tips of how you should create infographics, let me start at the very beginning.
Follow me way, way back to circa 30,000BC when man relied on hunting for food, the hairy mammoth roamed the landscape and text as we know now didn’t yet exist; daily life was depicted and documented through imagery and drawings on cave walls – the first ever infographic was born!
Fast forward to 3000BC where the ancient Egyptians famously developed a writing system using imagery to tell stories of daily life – the Egyptian Hieroglyphics.
Hold onto your hats as we are almost in the present day. In 1857 Florence Nightingale, created an infographic to visually chart the number of and causes of deaths during each month of the Crimean War.
During 1972 Olt Aicher decided to help travellers and tourists alike at the Munich Olympics by creating a set of pictograms that featured stylized human figures.
1975 saw Edward Tufte and John Tukey develop a seminar on statistical graphics at Princeton. Tufte went on to publish Visual Display in 1982 establishing himself as an infographic expert.
With lots of software now available to help you create infographics, you are spoilt for choice. Marketing sites such as Venngage and Infogr.com use a design interface that allow you to easily create infographics from your pre-existing data, allowing a seamless experience.
My top 5 tips for creating an infographics:
- Know your audience
So you’ve spent days collecting data, sorting, analysing and you’ve gained some great insight. No doubt you want to tell everyone and anyone about it! Hold back for a moment and think about your audience. If you try to pack your infographic full of data that is not specially targeted, people will be turned off and won’t digest what you’re telling them. You’re better off having several targeted infographics rather than one ‘jam packed, bursting at the rafters, trying to talk to everyone’ infographic.
- Understand your data
It is important that you segment your data according to your target audience, such as by job role, geographical area or department. Your infographic will hold much more power if the right people are lookingconnex at the right information. Another good point is to make sure you have your stats and facts correct – the last thing you want is your data to be unreliable.
- Tell the story
Before rushing off and designing your infographic, think about the message you want to convey. My top tip is to start at the end, focusing on what is the main fact or piece of data you want people to grasp, then working back to the start by gathering all of the supporting data/facts that help tell your story. It’s important to have this story set out before adding any visuals and to draft out what you’d like the infographic to look like such as what themes you want to use and what colours.
- Minimal text, maximum visual appeal
This might sound obvious but you’d be surprised how many people forget this one. It’s an infographic not a report, so keep your text to a minimum! Infographics with punchy stats, stand-out visuals and a compelling story will do the work for you.
If you want to use the infographic for internal use only, make sure you get it in front of your audience. This could be via email, used in presentations, printed out or posted on your internal systems. If you want your infographic to be seen by an external audience, simply placing it on your website and hoping someone will click on it isn’t going to work. Post it on social media with some great messaging and #’s, add a social sharing widget to allow users to quickly and easily share it. Look at providing HTML code so that other website can use it and traffic will come back to you. Share it with influencers in your space, others in your industry, send it to online and offline publications, shout it from the roof-top and get your infographic out there!