What’s the Buzz with Infographics?

Infographics hit the scene in a big way around a decade ago. They’ve enjoyed a meteoric rise in use ever since. However, it would seem that many golden rules about infographics are being broken. Preface infographic with worst (or bad, terrible, ugly) in a search engine and you’ll see what we mean. So we thought it was high time to revisit the subject of infographics, and to point out a few big no-nos when it comes to creating one.

What is an infographic?

Infographic is a word mash-up of information and graphics. They are also known as data visualisations. Put simply it is visual representation of information, data and knowledge.

A good infographic is eye-catching yet easy to understand. It is concise and something the viewer can quickly comprehend. If it is also entertaining, then that’s an added bonus.

A graph or chart alone is not an infographic. These are elements which can form part of infographic along with the other elements used to tell the story you think your audience would like to hear.

An infographic can be static, moving or interactive. For more information on this see our blog post Infographics: The Useful Business Tool.

Why use an infographic?

When you need complex data to be understood quickly then an ideal way to present it is to create an infographic. It can improve comprehension and cognition as it assists the viewer’s ability to discern patterns and trends.

An infographic doesn’t have to always be a distillation of complex data; it can also be used to relay a simple message in a visual way. Often visual clues can trigger emotion and motivate learners more powerfully than words alone.

In these days of information overload, there is a tendency to skim material searching quickly for key points. An infographic can grab attention, pique interest, and provide a unique way to present your message.

“Processing print isn’t something the human brain was built for. The printed word is a human artefact. It’s very convenient and it’s worked very well for us for 5,000 years, but it’s an invention of human beings. By contrast Mother Nature has built into our brain our ability to see the visual world and interpret it.” – Marcel Just, director of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University in an interview with Nieman Reports editor, Melissa Ludtke.

Where to use an infographic

Infographics can, and are, used in various presentation mediums. You can add them to annual reports, investor reports, tender responses, press releases, presentations, your website, social media, brochures, your advertising – anywhere you want to make an impact and have your message understood quickly.

You might also like to review our blog post Infographics: How To Use Them and Why.

Top five no-nos

  1. Text heavy – Text can form part of an infographic, but it shouldn’t overwhelm it. Too much text will defeat the purpose. Remember to show, don’t tell.
  2. Size and layout – Size matters. It can be short or long. What’s important is how relevant the information is and how easy it is to follow. More important than length, is the layout. If the information is not well organised, lacks a flow that makes sense and tells a story, then you are bound to lose the viewer’s interest sooner than rather.
  3. Colours – The use of colour is a powerful marketing tool (see our blog post Colour Psychology) and one that should definitely be taken into consideration when designing an infographic. Use colours that are appropriate to the message, and to your brand. Ensure that the colours don’t clash, instead complement.
  4. Relevance – Incorrect use of visuals can be detrimental. If they are off-topic, unnecessary, hard to comprehend, or the visual clues are making the wrong message pop, then the viewer quickly perceives the message as irrelevant. Give the most important point the most visual weight, and make sure the message is helpful to your audience – otherwise it will simply be forgotten.
  5. Lacking attribution – If you don’t attribute the information correctly then your message appears untrustworthy. Remember to name the source.

Infographic examples

Here are some infographic examples that have captured our attention:

  1. GMO Your Right To Know
  2. The Time Invention Poll
  3. Facebook Psychology: Is Addiction Affecting Our Minds
  4. The Remembrance Poppy
  5. Behind the Internet Curtain

The buzz about infographics looks set to continue. Why not consider creating one to use in your marketing?

If you’d like to know more about infographic design or are looking for an infographic designer, get in touch with the team at Ideaseed. We can help you bring your business infographic visions to life.