A guest post by Luke Clum

Infographics are an extremely potent tool in internet marketing. Easily shared, infographics use visuals to convey interesting information. ‘Data Viz’ (that’s data visualisation) packs a powerful punch by conveying information in a way that creates a lasting impact. Infographics are all about dissemination, and when done well, can be extremely powerful. But wait! Don’t jump on the data viz bandwagon without stopping and thinking first. Take these tips into account and you’ll be creating compelling infographics that spread like wildfire.

1. Think Purpose

Some of the worst infographics are those that seem to lack purpose, and are simply a poor attempt at creating something ‘worth’ sharing. Think before you begin. What questions are you trying to answer? What information are you trying to convey? Sometimes, no matter how you look at it, written content will do the best job, so trying to ‘force’ an infographic will just look like an over-reach.

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Look at the above images, which works better? Here, Travel Match’s written information gets the message across far more clearly than the infographic – which shows that data visualisations aren’t always appropriate.

Brainstorm your ideas and think about your question from the perspective of your visitors. What would they want to know? You want to leave them feeling satisfied yet intrigued. Your infographic should be good enough to share whilst also encouraging them to dig deeper into your site.

2. Do Your Research

A badly researched infographic looks just as terrible as poorly edited written content. It’s unprofessional and sloppy. No one will share an infographic that’s full of errors, so do your research. Fact based infographics are the most successful, so try not to use opinion based data as you want your infographic to appear reputable, just like your business. For example, look at this infographic on internet networks and bandwidth. Notice how it uses bandwidth statistics to visually display which sites/software hog connection speeds – the numbers speak for themselves.

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3. Keep It Clear

Use engaging colours, and images that are simple but effective. Too many colours or graphics can crowd your infographic, making it harder to understand. You want to avoid confusion, conveying your information in a way that requires very little effort from your visitor.

You don’t need custom illustrations to create an engaging infographic. Using icon images avoids complicating your design.

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Here, part of Brightcove’s Making Video Content Work infographic uses icons effectively to get their message across—without overdoing it.

4. Try Visual Metaphors

Using visual metaphors to represent an idea is an effective way of turning ‘dry’ information into something engaging and memorable. What’s more, when done well, visual metaphors can be understood by a wide variety of people. Grant Thornton’s Race to Economic Growth is a great example.

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5. Use Visual Comparisons

Sometimes when creating an infographic what you’re really looking to achieve is impact. Visual comparisons are a great way to get a message to really hit home.
Frugal Dad’s The Weight of Walmart infographic uses visual comparisons over and over again to give the viewer a real sense of perspective on the issue at hand.

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The illustration shows us what 10x larger looks like…

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… and how $421 billion compares to $19.8 billion.

The main thing that you should take away from these tips is that infographics are all about making data user friendly. You want to increase interest and comprehension in a way that supersedes the use of text alone.

Luke Clum Luke Clum is a graphic designer from Seattle who specializes in print and web development. He loves coffee, hiking and alpine climbing in the mountains. Follow him on Twitter @lukeclum