Focusing on visual elements is second nature to graphic designers and content marketers. After all, they understand better than anyone that humans love imagery.
We use imagery every minute of the day, whether visualizing, contemplating or planning. The subconscious mind deals strictly in imagery — that’s why it’s such a powerful tool when it comes to getting an idea across quickly and effectively.
In that same vein, when marketers need to share data efficiently, they turn to a reliable tool — the contemporary infographic.
Today, the infographic in its various forms is featured everywhere. In this guide, we’ll shed more light on what an infographic is, how they work, and how to get started with crafting your own.
The term “infographic” itself is shorthand for the phrase “information graphic.” Infographics help communicate complex and detailed information in an easily digestible, visual format.
A well-constructed infographic uses image, data, and text to tell a compelling and memorable story.
Infographics can help entice readers by presenting lots of information quickly. Readers have the benefit of ingesting large amounts of data much faster than they would by reading a block of text.
There are many reasons for using infographics in your SEO strategy, especially when you note that they are:
- Easier to share: Large blocks of text and stats are not only difficult to read, they’re also way less likely to be shared online than an infographic.
- Easier to read: Simplification of data through infographics enables the reader to grasp the core message at a glance. Not only that, people can recall your message clearly as it is easy to understand.
- Marketing friendly: Though branding isn’t always the primary purpose, a considerable side-benefit of infographics is in their ability to broadcast your brand and identity. A well-designed and captivating infographic helps identify you as the expert and master of your field.
- Condensing content: Infgoraphics render lengthy articles, blogs or reports into concisely summarized, visually enhanced “snapshots” of information.
There are two basic functions of infographics that share many similarities: static and interactive.
Static infographics, usually constructed from a template, are the simpler solution to getting started, especially when your information and data remain relatively unchanged.
However, interactive infographics — while far more complex in terms of difficulty of programming and design — stand out from the pack because they can appear to be far more engaging and dynamic to the target audience.
Interactive infographics give you the ability to provide your audience with data that is constantly updating, while maintaining your core story in the non-interactive parts of the infographic.
Pressing play buttons, watching videos, or listening to audio are compelling ways to engage audience attention and communicate the more advanced details of your presentation to users.
Choosing a design for your infographic is directly connected to the type of information you want to communicate or clarify. Commonly used infographic types include:
- Lists: These infographics are to be read in a certain order. This allows the reader to skim to the important details.
- Comparison: These infographics compare and contrast important topics. These can be used when a comparative study contrasts two similar subjects.
- Geographic: These provide a visual representation of regional data, e.g. census statistics, target markets or weather events.
- Statistical: These types of infographics use big numbers that highlight the main point and can be highlighted to draw the attention of the reader.
- Informational: These display concepts efficiently and effectively, but do not contain data.
- Data visualization: For large quantities of data, charts and graphs can convey information in a quickly digestible form.
- Timeline: These infographics depict a story in historical order. When dates and events are important, use this type to make information easy to read and follow.
- Interactive: You can use this type to solicit user engagement through the use of popups, questions, and video or audio players.
When conceptualizing your infographic, decide the best way to relay your information in a digestible manner. Will you need a map? Will it need to be interactive? Does it need a piktochart or a line graph? These questions can help you better understand how to present your information to your audience.
Before you start, be sure that you’re clear on what you are hoping to achieve through creating your infographic.
Identifying what your target group needs to understand is the next step. If you can’t communicate the goal in a sentence or two, then the infographic simply won’t come together.
Here are a few other tips when developing your infographic:
Once you’ve pinpointed the topic and purpose of your infographic, you can now determine the questions you want your infographic to answer.
The primary question (also known as the “the burning problem”) is important, so don’t be afraid to spend time getting it right. Your infographic should be able to answer or present answers to your reader’s queries with facts and visualization.
Once you’ve settled on the infographic type from our list above, choosing a suitable design format depends squarely on the nature of the questions asked and the proposed answers.
Is your intended infographic data-driven, or is it conceptual? Are you making an announcement, or are you exploring possibilities?
Charts in all their forms, maps, timelines, lists … it only matters that your layout matches what you are trying to achieve.
You can choose a template or base your design on the thousands of examples available on the Internet. There are also a plethora of tutorials available to get you started.
Canva remains one of the most popular online design tools for creating marketing content — from brochures to ads, presentations, and more. Its infographic builder in particular comes in handy when it’s time to build your infographic.
Take advantage of its free and paid design elements, such as fonts, images, and design palettes.
Much like Canva, Google Charts is another great tool for developing and sharing infographics. Unlike Canva, you can create and share interactive infographic content on your website with Google Charts. This infographic maker is completely free and pleasantly customizable.
This free, map-based infographic tool constructs interactive and visual maps without connecting to third party mapping services.
- Familiarize yourself fully with your target audience. Tone of voice is important here, as is using designs that will please the eye and topics your viewers can engage with.
- Originality is king: there’s a mountain of content littering cyberspace, so make your infographic unique to you and your brand.
- Organization is queen: present your information in order, with the most important at the top. Draw the reader along, and make sure clutter is minimized. Above all, stick to your main topic.
- Color is just as important: Colors can help communicate concepts, and can direct the viewer towards important data or text.
- Strike a good balance between text and visual elements. Use icons, illustrations or images to replace headings and break up blocks of text. Utilizing several different fonts is a must in every good layout.
- Consider using interactive elements. Today’s popular infographics attract attention with interactive and animated features. Though it may be a little tougher to pull off in a technical sense, it’s well worth the extra effort.
Though there’s no hard or fast rule when it comes to designing infographics, there are some stumbling blocks to consider. Your infographic won’t be as impactful or effective when:
- It looks the same as all the others: Online content is unforgivingly visible — it’s just too much of a risk to copy someone else’s work.
- It’s badly designed: Clashing colours and illegible fonts will make your infographic less engaging.
- There’s too much text or it’s overly long: Always remember that the text you provide is there to flesh out and enhance the visuals. Make it relevant and succinct.
- The content is watered down: Too much information takes away the snappy effectiveness of a tightly edited infographic. Make sure you’re including the most important information your readers need to know.
- The information is incorrect: Not only will your content need to be accurate, it will need to be cited. When presenting facts or data, be sure to include your sources somewhere in your infographic.
Once completed, make sure the loose ends are tied up by ensuring that the final design is correctly sized for viewing. It’s okay if your infographic is larger in size or more high quality — this is helpful to readers who may want to zoom in on your infographic to read text or view data.
Make a full resolution image of the infographic available via a link that can be readily shared. When it’s time to share on social media, target your audience and include the infographic where it will generate the most interest.
Going viral is always the aim, but settling for strong interest as a realistic objective works every time. Don’t forget to use the Semrush Social media Toolkit to track on your social media promotion.
Specific publications, blogs and influencers that share an interest in your subject matter, product or service can also be vital channels for sharing and promoting your content.
Infographics still have a big role to play in getting your message out there. They’re popular and effective because they work.
Advances in animation and interactive elements have taken the infographic into new realms. This field is in constant evolution, so it’s safe to say that infographics will continue to be around, developed, and shared.
It is possible to turn your creativity into likes and traffic — and into credibility for readers in search of accurate, useful information.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with infographics types, designs, and promotion. Over time, you’ll grow to understand how to best present the data your audience needs in the format they enjoy best.