If you’ve decided to commission an infographic, you’ve probably envisioned it being shared far and wide, with numerous inbound links being generated and niche experts featuring it on their blogs. Unfortunately, the mere act of creating an infographic is not enough to dramatically boost the exposure of your brand - the infographic has to actually be worth sharing! While many mediocre and substandard infographics have gained recognition due to diligent promotional endeavors (or because they’ve been authored by a business which already has a large following), it’s a lot more productive to have a great infographic to promote in the first place. At Mammoth Infographics, we believe that if an infographic is to be successful, it must incorporate the following features.
1. Clear goals
While improving brand awareness is a popular reason for creating an infographic, there are other things to consider too. Try asking yourself the following questions - will your infographic be designed to educate or entertain, or both? Who is the target audience of your infographic? Will you use the infographic to help position yourself as a thought leader or do you have a new product to promote? Do you know bloggers and other influencers who will be willing to share the infographic? It’s essential that you’re clear about what you want to achieve before the design phase commences, because try as we might, design agencies aren’t mind readers!
2. Compelling narrative
There are many different types of infographics (such as timelines, flowcharts and visual articles), however, all good infographics have one thing in common: they weave a compelling narrative. An infographic must take the reader on a journey from point A to B, and by the time they’re finished they should feel intellectually enhanced and emotionally stimulated. In order to achieve this, each section of the infographic should build upon the previous one and keep the reader engaged throughout. Without a solid narrative, an infographic is merely a disjointed sea of text and statistics. No matter how stunning the visuals are, if they don’t help to carry the narrative, then they are completely useless.
3. Credible data
When researching the facts for your infographic, ensure you get them from reputable sources. When we created an infographic for Vegan Outreach about the subject of veganism, it was extremely important that every fact and statistic we quoted was indisputable. Since veganism is a controversial subject and many people would be looking question the validity of our argument, the facts had to be airtight if we were to promote the vegan lifestyle as both healthy and environmentally-friendly. You can find perfectly good information on wikipedia, but it’s much more effective to use peer-reviewed studies and other highly reputable sources.
4. Effective data visualizations
Determining the right pieces of data to incorporate is one thing, but conveying them in unique and visually impactful ways is quite another. While generic pie charts and bar graphs have their place, it’s always ideal to pick a type of visualization which works within the context of the infographic and clearly elucidates the data. As a general rule of thumb, data visualizations should convey important trends, help to facilitate an understanding of the subject and also be visually engaging. Sometimes elaborate visualizations can work effectively, but if they are confusing instead of intelligible, leave them out and opt for a simpler approach.
5. Appropriate style choice
While style over substance is certainly not the way to go, no amount of substance will make up for a poor choice of style. The subject of the infographic should help to determine the correct typography and color choice. For the same reason that ocean-related infographics are predominantly created using a blue palette, it helps to pick a color scheme which is thematically congruent. Different colors have different associations, so try to keep this in mind when determining how you wish the infographic to be interpreted by your target audience. Discussing the importance of color choice, design and color consultant Karen Haller states the following:
“You may think colour is just child’s play. You may think colour is just a visual experience. In fact, colour is an incredibly powerful phenomenon used to influence us every day of our lives. It can influence our mood, behaviour and feelings; making us move quickly, feel relaxed, take action, eat more and spend more.”
While empirical data is required to create stunning graphs and charts, sometimes it’s also good to include witty and incisive quotes from relevant thought leaders. Quotes not only serve as proof elements for your argument, but they can also help to spike emotions and keep people engaged throughout. Additionally, featuring quotes from industry experts in your infographic is an excellent way to open a dialogue with them and hopefully encourage them to share the infographic with their followers. In the aforementioned infographic about veganism, we decided to use quotes from vegan athletes, not only to add a human element to the infographic, but also to validate veganism as a healthy lifestyle. Judging by our feedback, we believe this was one of the reasons the infographic received so much attention on social media.
Some businesses prefer their infographics to align with their company’s branding, however this is often unnecessary (unless it’s being used for internal purposes). While it’s important that the infographic doesn’t look completely out of place on your website’s landing page, the aim of the infographic should be to appeal to your target audience rather adhere dogmatically to a color scheme and typeface. That being said, people will inevitably repost your infographic without giving you credit, so it’s important that your company details are featured on the infographic in order for people to find you. Usually, all that’s required is your logo and website URL posted discretely in the footer of the infographic, right next to the sources.
If you’re looking to create an awesome new infographic, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and tell us your requirements. Infographic design is a process that can’t be rushed, so we like to take our time to get the facts straight during the initial consultation. This helps us to create an infographic which not only meets your vision, but also makes the right impression on your audience and cultivates huge engagement.