Infographics have gained in popularity over the past half-decade, due primarily to the sharing of information on public social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and, more recently, Pinterest. In fact, search engine inquiries for the term “infographics” have increased in recent years by a wide margin (see image below) due to their success in delivering information quickly and enticing internet audiences to share them with their friends.
What Exactly is an Infographic?
The term “Infographics” is applied to information, data or knowledge that is presented in graphic visual form and presents a clear message quickly and clearly. A well-known example would be simple yet effective road signs. A bright yellow triangle at the side of the road alerts you that there is something to be cautious about ahead so you glance quickly at the sign and see the clear black image of rocks falling onto the roadway. You are instantly aware that you should keep your eye out for falling rocks. The message is delivered, quickly and simply, and you can go on with your drive. An effective infographic grabs your attention and keeps it just long enough to deliver an important message or teach you important information.
How Infographics Can Help Your Organization
Learning how to use infographics effectively and how to create interesting and memorable pictures that will generate a lot of unique traffic to a website is something that many companies, charities, and organizations have become increasingly interested in. It’s important that an infographic design presents data or knowledge in graphic visual form both quickly and clearly, in a memorable way that people will want to share with their social contacts. Here are 5 important principles to help you in creating an infographic using best practices which will help you get your message across in the best manner possible.
1. Be Unique
One of the most important aspects of designing an effective infographic is to make it engaging and memorable with a unique twist on something that everyone can relate to. Don’t just generate a basic bar graph or chart inside a software application, throw in your data, and expect anyone to be super excited about it. You need to design something unique that will capture the attention of the audience you are seeking to draw in. Using something unexpected in an ordinary bar graph, for instance, will draw interest and get your point across. One example would be having 3-D skyscrapers representing the number of construction projects completed in the past decade, showing the growing trend as each skyscraper reaches higher on the graph.
2. Keep It Simple
Even though you want to shoot for interesting and unique, don’t throw in so much detail and extraneous information that the audience is overwhelmed by everything going on in your infographic. For instance, using too many different images and designs or filling backgrounds with too much color or full photographs may actually make your data harder to understand. This happens as the audience becomes distracted trying to comprehend all the visual information being thrown at them, hindering their ability to focus on the main point. Remember that in today’s busy world, so much information is available that when people see too much to digest and comprehend quickly, they are probably going to turn away or click somewhere else because it looks too complicated to be worth their time.
3. Be Creative and Bold
For a truly impactful design that gets your message across, it’s important to make sure that your main message is bold and obvious. It also needs to be creative enough to just give it that special little twist. For instance, a statement written in a neutral font such as arial can highlight the most important points by presenting a few of the words in a creative font that artfully describes the meaning of each important word. You can perhaps use shapes or images in place of some of the letters or words to emphasize meaning. Simple, bold creativity is your key to grabbing attention quickly and getting your message across with effective infographics.
4. Less Is More
Keeping your text minimal will most likely produce more impact than a page full of words. People are bombarded with information all day long, including blaring images, bright colors and blinking lights. Your goal is to entice them to stop scrolling and look at your infographic. An effective image will grab the attention of the audience with something as simple as an effectively displayed word that makes them stop and read the important information below it. Remember that you want to capture the attention of your audience, make your statement, and entice them to click “share”. Make sure your message gives them some piece of interesting information that will not be easily forgotten.
5. The Fortune is in the Forwarding
The final and most important thing you want from an effective infographic is a simple way for people to share it with their friends. Be sure to include links reminding people that they want their friends to enjoy the information they have just found. With a simple row of “share me” buttons, readers can quickly forward the information to their Facebook friends, Pinterest followers, Email contact list, Google plus circles, and more.
Make sure that forwarding can be done in only a couple of clicks. If it gets too complicated, most people will close the box and move on to something else. Only a handful of people will have the patience to copy and paste the url manually. Never forget that your biggest harvest of unique visitors and audiences will come as everyone passes your infographic around with the magic of internet forwarding.
Learning from the Past and Looking to the Future
While it’s true that infographics have been around for many years, their importance and impact has increased as they have become distributed by the masses through the internet. Today, a cleverly designed, high impact infographic can deliver a message around the world within moments of being released. With the rise in popularity of free sharing tools, the audience itself becomes the largest distributor of the information.
Social media sites have made a game out of sharing visual messages that make an impact in an interesting, unique way, so clever infographics have the potential to go viral within only a few days, or in some cases, within hours. Make sure your organization understands these principles so your team can create effective infographics with maximum impact. With effective, high impact infographics that grab the attention of the people, you can sit back and watch as the magic of internet distribution delivers your important message to the world.