Five tips for creating effective infographics

Over the past couple of years the infographic has become an important weapon for publishers as they seek to share sometimes complex messages about their brand in a simple, yet attractive format. Like everything else though there are quality infographics, which are impressive not just to look at but also in the way they communicate the data, and infographics that clearly haven't been properly thought through. To ensure that the infographic you produce isn't in the latter category here are five top tips.

1. Work out what you are trying to say - A little planning goes a long way. Infographics are premium content, like a video or a long article. They need to be thoughtfully prepared. The most important thing is to work out why you are producing the graphic in the first place. What is the core message that you want to share with your audience? How can this be communicated simply through the infographic? Sometimes it is best to work backwards with infographics. Come up with your striking conclusion and then map out the journey by which you get there. Ultimately you need to be constantly considering how the infographic will reflect on your brand.

2. Get the data/knowledge - Even the prettiest looking infographic is only as good as the data that it contains. Most infographics tend to feature quite a lot of data and you need it to have collected or curated this before you start. For many infographics the data is internal and already has been collected by the brand. If not though don't be afraid to share other people's data as long as you credit them - this is usually fine if the information is already in the public domain. Though of course you will need to get brand approval for this. The most impressive infographics share data in a fun and engaging way like this one.

3. Decide on the design/format - Creating an infographic should come naturally to a designer who spends their days putting together pages for either print or online. The elements are fairly similar, it is the format that is different. If you have a big or a complex project then there are specialist agencies who can create them for you. There are also tools which enable you to make your own if you are feeling brave. Your designer also needs to think about the size and the shape of what they are producing. A common mistake is to produce infographics that are too busy (like this one) or contain too much data. Infographics need to be eye catching and incorporate attractive graphics, images and more, but the pictorial elements must not swamp their core message. If it looks messy or confusing then it will reflect very badly on the brand. In many instances it is best to keep it simple - here are a few that are effective without being too complex.

4. Think about sharing it online - From the off it is worth working out where you think your infographic will be hosted. Is it designed solely for your brand's website? Or do you want it shared in as many places as possible. If the latter is the case then it needs to be embeddable (some tips here). Ensure that it is easily shareable via social media and if it is a large and especially complex infographic maybe consider adding it to sites like Scribd. There is some useful technical information about sharing infographics on Facebook here.

5. Tweak it for print - In the same way that much branded content is now created for print and tweaked for online - and the other way round too - make sure you work out how you can use an infographic via print. Can you edit it so it fits to a magazine format? Maybe it could be used horizontally in print when it was originally vertical online? Like all premium content you should try and get as much use from your investment as possible.

Posted by: CMA

Posted in CMA blog
6thAug 2013

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