Infographics are a powerful way to visually communicate information, to share knowledge and convey a story. Infographics can easily communicate complex information in a clear and concise manner at a single glance. Infographics are typically put together by a designer who takes the elements that need to be communicated and then builds a graphic description of that information that instantly communicates the story behind the numbers in a creative and interesting visual manner. If you do not have the budget, desire, or time to involve a graphic designer in this creative visual storytelling process, there are seven important steps that can make anyone an infographics expert.
1. Collect accurate information
The first step required to prepare an infographic is to gather high quality source information from reliable sources. An infographic is only as good as its supporting information. Once this information has been obtained and verified, the infographic can be designed to effectively tell the story.
As part of the information gathering, one must know the subject matter area, target audience, communication objective, and message that one intends to deliver.
2. Select best tool for infographic construction
Finding the right tool for the job can sometimes be tricky. Developing sophisticated and effective infographics can require toolsthat may span many different products. Fortunately, the right software tool can provide you with everything you need to create polished diagrams that beautifully and accurately represent your story, no matter how complex it may be.
3. Structure infographic story
Research the collected information, and determine the key points of your message. Clearly label key points and organize information flow by defining the sequence of visual events in your storyline that form a single story arc.
A visual story should have three visually separated parts: beginning, middle, and end. The beginning attracts attention of one’s target audience and introduces the story. The middle holds the attention of audience and explains your story topic in detail. The ending contains conclusions and completes your visual story for the audience.
Use visuals to maximize the impact of your message and reduce the time it takes to explain your ideas and concepts. These visuals may include both information visualization and decorative graphic design elements such as charts, graphs, diagrams, schemes, maps, plans, clipart, pictograms, drawings, and photos.
Use a minimal amount of text to enhance the impact and transform your visuals into a solid self-contained infographic story.
4. Select relevant visuals to convey message
Determine how to arrange contents visually
To determine how to visually organize contents of your infographic story, you need to decide how the key point must be organized. For example: in a list, a grid, timeline, or calendar, on a geographic map or city plan, into a process diagram or flowchart, statistical analysis, as a hierarchy, a network, or as a cloud.
Optimize your infographics for output devices
Explore what output devices will be used by target audience to see your infographics. It may severely limit the size of your infographics and visuals used, especially in case of smartphones and tablets. For mobile devices, use space-saving graphic design elements.
On other hand, if you plan display your infographics onto a large displays or large printout, it is best to use vector graphics for high quality image scaling.
You have to take this into account when you select and layout the visuals.
Select graphic design elements
You should select graphic design elements for visualization that correspond with collected information for your story.
Each visualized piece of information should explain a single, easy to understand idea. Each graphic design element should communicate one message clearly.
Avoid repetitive visuals. Use different visuals and color labeling for different key points.
Use creative design elements to maximize the impact of your infographics. But remember, each of your visuals must be clear and should enhance your message.
To quickly and easily select clear and creative visuals for your infographics, use libraries of pre-designed vector graphic design elements.
5. Explain complex ideas simply
Main messages of key points and the overall narrative of the whole story must be clear in seconds for target audience.
Represent information graphically
images of story subjects as markers of visuals and text blocks.
images of well-known people, objects and things for quick recognition.
common graphical symbols and pictograms instead of words in data labels and legends.
pictoral charts instead of bar or line charts to better demonstrate quantitative data.
background image that indicate basic subject matter of your story.
short talking points in headlines and captions.
short talking points in the page title, headlines for key points, text blocks, and captions for visuals to quickly explain main messages of your visual story.
Be selective in the type you use
Use up to three fonts in your infographics to make your infographics easy to view and read.
To keep your story easy to digest, try to limit document length and the number of content elements.
Be sure that each content element conveys one simple idea that is easy to understand at a glance.
Choose only the most essential content elements to explain the main message of your story.
If your document is still too long, try to use space-saving graphic elements and arrangement.
6. Show concrete information
If you present time-oriented data in your infographics, give the audience an impression of the newest information with the most modern design.
Label date and time
Clearly show the dates and times in your infographic document and make sure each content element presents actual data.
Refresh infographics as source information changes
To keep your infographic current, design it so that it is easy to refresh. so you can quickly change content elements when time-sensitive source information changes. The easiest way to quickly refresh data is by using auto-refreshing graphic elements.For example: auto-refreshing charts, graphic indicators for visual dashboards, or meteorological graphic indicators from weather informers.
Modern and event-driven design
For infographics that show dynamic time-sensitive information, use modern design in conjunction with events-related symbols and images to present a fresh and stylish ambiance.
7. Provide sharing
You create your infographics to present to target audience. To access your audience, you can use web and paper publishing, references on social networks, displays at public events and meetings, e-mail distribution, etc.
Publish your infographics on your website or blog. Add sharing features on your web page.
Publish your infographics to subject-specific e-magazines, websites, blogs and social networking groups where your target audience is concentrated.
Create account and subject-specific board on Pinterest.com, and submit your infographics.
Show your infographics on display boards at public events that the target audience is likely to visit.
Show your infographics at subject- specific meetings as a printed poster on a stand or as a presentation using a projector.
Proliferate your infographics using e-mail.
Announce your infographics via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.
To easily share your infographics, create them using vector graphics software tools that allow you to save in file formats and have the capability to share through different distribution channels – web sites, blogs, social networks, email, printing in different sizes, presentations using a projector, showing on board displays.
On the web pages of your website or blog,where the infographics are published, add sharing features like, “Tweet”, “Pin it”, “Share”, or “Send via email” buttons to allow readers to announce and share your infographics on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook, or via email.
Follow these 7 simple steps above to create actual, impressive, and convincing infographics that visually tell your complex story quickly and simply.