Info(Graphics)

So…what exactly are infographics?

Before researching on this subject, I had little knowledge on what a infographic was. Actually the only idea I had on what a infographic was and is was based on context clues from the given word: info + graphics = a graphic with information.

Looks like my intuition was accurate. An infographic is simply that! It is a visually appealing way to connect viewers with information in a creative and unique way.

In the article “What Are Infographics and Why Are They Important?” author, Daniel, expresses how infographics “express complex messages to viewers in a way that enhances their comprehension.”

Infographics appeal to viewers because they create a visually engaging experience while allowing the bulk of the information you are trying to communicate to be condensed to the main points that are attempting to be displayed.

Infographics communicate complex data quickly and clearly

Infographics are used for the following reasons:

  • To communicate a message,
  • To present a lot of data or information in a way that is compact and easy to comprehend,
  • To analyze data in order to discover cause-and-effect relationships,
  • To periodically monitor the route of certain parameters.

Infographics are composed of three important elements:

Visual Elements

  • Color coding
  • Graphics
  • Reference icons

Content Elements

  • Time frames
  • Statistics
  • References

Knowledge Elements

  • Facts
So what are some practical tips to keep that balance of concise and creative? Here are a few simple tips to do just that:

Simplicity Is the Best Policy

Infographics should be simple, clean, concise and clear. Make sure the information being conveyed is well organized. Visual simplicity ensures that the graphic will be easy for readers to comprehend.

Nothing Takes Effect Without a Cause

Emphasize cause and effect relationships in your presentation. Several infographics depicting the causes of the recent recession in the US are still fresh in my mind for their effectiveness and precision. Even a layperson in Asia would understand the role of the subprime lending industry in the chain of events. Infographics spread awareness of these factors and enable people to voice their concerns.

Draw Your Boundaries

Be clear: limit the scope of your information, and draw your lines accordingly. The attention span of the average user is not increasing. Define your question carefully, and be sure to answer it using the best method available. The visualization you create will be much more effective and imaginative that way.

Sticking to one question makes it easier to communicate to the public. If I wanted to discuss the recent recession, I could begin by asking, “What were its root causes?”

Think in Color

Color is the most effective tool by which authors guide and influence their readers. Color can give readers varied impressions, both conceptual and emotional. It plays an important role in infographics.

Choosing colors that enhance your information is an important aspect of graphic design. Color makes the information you provide more legible and determines the visual hierarchy of information. Choosing the right colors is important. Contrast is king: the background should blend well with the illustrations.

Layout Is Not Just About Typography

Infographics don’t have to look like a piece from a newspaper or magazine. Tap your creativity: try different combinations of typography, illustrations, images, charts, diagrams and icons. Adopt an exciting trend in the creation of your design. Use a maximum of two or three fonts in the designs you create. The effectiveness of the infographic will depend entirely on your creativity as a designer. Add a logo if the infographic is connected to a company or institution.

Make It Appeal the Eye

Ensure that you have a clear idea of the final size of the graphic as you are working. Articles online that require you to click on a text link to view the relevant graphics are annoying. Design your graphics to be viewed along with articles. Perhaps viewers will need to click the image to see a high-resolution version, but they should be able to first view the image along with the article to better understand its relevance.

Be Verifiable

Many infographics lead readers to the wrong conclusion due to a lack of verifiable information and detailed data resources. Make infographics trustworthy by allowing readers to dig deeper into the data if they so desire. Always cite your data sources with relevant links. Some articles allow readers to access source data through links to a spreadsheet that they can view on their own.

So…there are many ways to engage an audience with your message: photos, videos, podcasts etc. How about switching it up next time and allow your viewer to encounter a new informational experience by letting them follow up on an infographic addressing the content you are trying to communicate?

 

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1 Comment

  1. nclindberg

     /  November 18, 2011

    I loved your infographics! When I think of what one should look like, this is perfect. It contains so much information, detail and I found myself wanting to look and know the information it contained. You provided really helpful tips on how to make one, present it, and you did both so beautifully.

    Reply

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