Infographics have a lot of potential. They can express complex ideas, illustrate workﬂows or creative processes, demonstrate relationships among different things, or show the necessary steps to achieving something. Marketers can use them in their social media or content marketing campaigns, and sales reps ﬁnd them useful in presentations and pitches.
What makes a compelling infographic? Composed of a series of icons, arrows, lines, and text, an infographic is graphically complicated. The best infographics are simple and easy to understand, even if their subject is complex. Here’s how to ensure that your infographic is a winner.
Keep your design accessible and understandable
Cryptic icons and convoluted layouts do no one any favors. Choose symbols that clearly communicate topics, elements, or roles in your infographic. Then, use clear-cut lines, arrows, circles, and other shapes to show the relationship.
Never make an infographic that resembles a maze! You’ll lose your audience very quickly. It’s also important to use iconography that makes sense even in a cross-cultural context, and avoid any imagery that could seem insensitive or biased.
Use contrasting colors and lots of open space to ensure that even the visually impaired can read the infographic correctly.
Establish a ﬂow
Many infographics show a process or workﬂow. In these situations, it’s easy to use the logical ﬂow of the topic to guide the design. However, if the infographic needs to be more complex, you must leverage a natural sense of ﬂow to make it easier to understand the design.
Most people in the English-speaking world read left to right, which means that the content in your infographic should ﬂow from left to right. Many users expect infographics to ﬂow downward as well.
However, if used appropriately, an upward ﬂow can work. For example, a tree-based design would work well with an upward ﬂow.
Think outside the box
Infographics that feature circle icons, ﬂow charts, pie graphs, and other traditional ways of showing data are classics for a reason. Many designers successfully use these constructions in infographics.
However, this means that a lot of infographics resemble static PowerPoints. For truly compelling infographics, imagine creative ways to use photographs, iconographic representations of data, or font size to communicate information.
Let the design be a means of presenting information rather than simply housing it. For example, you can illustrate the number of daily cyclists versus daily bus passengers with rows of small bike and bus icons. Use a word cloud with relative font sizes to show how many people with given areas of expertise are in your workplace. And so on.
Infographics have a unique power to illustrate complex points in a fresh, engaging way. Don’t let your designs be static or stilted. A good rule of thumb is to think about what you want the viewer to feel about the topic, then design accordingly. Let the most intriguing visuals guide the presentation, rather than the other way around. By following these best practices, you can create compelling infographics every time.