Infographics are all the rage for internet marketers nowadays simply because they can be utilised in a number of ways. Infographics have the ability to condense a page of boring numbers and facts into a small but engaging image, helping internet viewers with short attention-spans digest information about your chosen topic or brand. Best of all, infographics look great and can be hilarious as well as informative: all of which increases their shareability on social media platforms. In short, they are a godsend – but only if you know how to make them.
The unfortunate fact is that it takes time and effort to make a useful infographic, and not everybody has the design skills necessary to make them from scratch. Even if you do have a design-whizz at your disposal, there is a lot more to creating a sharable infographic than being handy with Photoshop. To that end, here are two cheat sheets to creating a useful infographic: one for those without any design knowledge and one specifically for graphic designers.
The cheater’s guide
If you couldn’t tell Adobe InDesign apart from a porcupine, then the road to creating an infographic is infinitely harder. That does not mean however, that it is impossible. In fact, you can make a pretty good infographic all in one quick step.
Web apps that makes information beautiful
There are many different infographic makers on the internet.. Using professional templates, you can create your own infographic in no time at all. After planning on your ideas for an infographic and the data you want to represent, you can simply input all the variables and then play around with the available presentation methods. Of course you are incredibly limited in what you can choose, and your ability to make the design and the topic of your infographic mesh is questionable. However if you really want to try and see if infographics could work as part of your internet strategy, then using services like Piktochart are a great way to test the waters before investing in a profession design.
The lesson here for so-called ‘cheaters’ is that if you complete the above and find infographics useful, then you also do need to know a little about the design-side aspect. Therefore everybody might want to read on to the designer’s guide…
The designer’s guide
If you spend half of your free-time on Adobe Illustrator, then the mechanics of creating an infographic should be a snap for you. The information you need is therefore how best to put your information across in said infographic. Because a graphic designer can create an infographic from scratch, you have an infinite amount of possibilities when it comes to displaying your information. That is at once a blessing and a curse: you aren’t as limited as those who use infographic generators but at the same time you almost have too many possibilities to follow. This guide isn’t about creating vectors or making an infographic pretty, but on how to choose to present your information most effectively.
1. Organise your material
This step is the same for designers and non-designers, mainly because it is the most crucial step of all. Say for example your infographic will be about online dating: your first step should be choosing a snappy title and then figuring out the information you want to present.
2. Get thematic
Infographics work best when the design ties into the message, so don’t be afraid to make your infographic thematic. Still using the internet dating example, you could use a partially coloured-in heart to display percentages. It is these silly touches that make infographics so endearing.
3. Choose a specific display method for each data point
Always think about the most interesting way to display your information: for example the oldest trick in the book is to display the money in terms of how many things it can buy, whether that be in iPhones or hamburgers. Ensure you are always using the right data presentation method: don’t use a bar chart when a pie chart would make more sense.
4. Create a ‘storyboard’ or flowchart
Your infographic should be a journey, giving the reader a flow of information that leads them to a particular conclusion or point. Therefore the order that you present your information in is just as important as the information itself. Craft a storyboard or flowchart that allows you to see the ‘story’ or message of the infographic progress as a reader would. That way you can decide how to best juxtapose interesting facts and figures for best effect.