As attention spans shorten and social media platforms expand through Pinterest, Twitter, Vine and Instagram, data consumption is forced to evolve. This development has brought on the infographic golden age. In fact, Social Media Today reports that “the volume of infographics goes up more than 1 percent each day.”
Infographics bring interesting fact points and complex ideas into a perfect bite size dish for media and data-hungry users. Like any meal, infographics run a wide gamut of colors, designs and platforms, and can be adapted to fit almost any need. Regardless, it still must be targeted, creative and informative to be successful.
Here are a few guidelines that will lead you to a successful infographic, no matter your target audience or end goal:
- Data: Compelling data is key.Whether it is for a consumer product or complex public policy campaign, your data is the most valuable asset and will determine the reach and success of your infographic. Comb for data points that particularly resonate with your audience and expand as needed. Thorough research is time consuming but pays off in the end. List your sources to add credibility.
- Structure: Tell a story. Now that you have your data, make sure it flows. I typically employ wireframes or simple sketches to help block out how I want the story to be told. This will help you link the data points together, creating a cohesive piece and not just a random assortment of percentages. It will also help identify any data gaps that may help strengthen your message.
- Platform: An infographic can take on many forms, such as a static image, an animated GIF, a video or interactive webpage. Consider your audience and how your data/structure will best be presented and then experiment. In employing a mobile-friendly design, you’ll make it easier on the user to consume and pass on your work. Most infographics are shared on web-based platforms such as Twitter and Pinterest so don’t forget to promote on social media or add share buttons to your post.
- Design: If your infographic were in fact a meal—data the ingredients, structure the recipe, platform your utensils—then design would undoubtedly be the master chef. Design brings all the elements together, preps and plates it for the audience’s enjoyment. That’s why it’s important to get creative. Think about how pie charts and graphs can be reimagined and refitted with flair for the infographic. Great design will better highlight your information and increase the likelihood of it being shared.
Infographics continue to be one of the most popular visual marketing tools used today. Have you had success with infographics in your own work? Leave your thoughts below.