Storytelling through Well-Designed Infographics

/ˌinfōˈɡrafik/ – a visual image such as a chart or diagram used to represent information or data.

Infographics are trendy these days, all around us, shouting facts in oversized text blocks and simplified graphics. They’re in magazines and newspapers, on posters and billboards, and on social media, where they have flourished, becoming the perfect way to share content in bite-sized, visual information chunks. Even in the last 10 years, interest for infographics has surged, demonstrated by the following chart showing search frequency on google.

Google Trends

We like to see content displayed visually, and that makes sense. It is easier to digest brief statements and related visuals than it is to read paragraphs. The work of breaking down, organizing, and digesting information has already been done for the us.

What do (good) infographics do?

Infographics promise insight into a topic based on key facts and conclusions. If we break that down, here’s what they actually do:

  • Condense information into snackable bites to promote understanding.
  • Give form, organization, and hierarchy to content.
  • Craft a story to engage on an emotional level.
  • Make a point to convince the viewer and drive them to action.

Process of Creating an Infographic

The starting point is understanding the story. A designer’s goal is to promote understanding, engage emotions, and motivate action. This means digging into and pinpointing the focus of the content, following the thread that links the facts together, and using that to weave a tapestry.

The starting point is understanding the story.

Once the content is crafted, we discern what information is best communicated visually, and what needs text. Well placed icons and images capture and convey a great deal of information quickly, and pique interest. The goal is the make the theme and main point clear enough that if someone cannot read the language, or is giving a cursory glance, they can understand the basic idea through the visuals.

In addition, work to guard and maintain brand—colors, fonts, and graphic styles. When someone views the infographic, they need to be engaged and understand the story, but also know who is talking to them. Infographics should fit into the larger communication plan of an organization, supplementing their key messaging, so it needs to sound and look like them.

FINCA Infographic by openbox9Alliance for Peacebuilding Infographic by openbox9

Example 1» Example 2 »

Challenges in Creating Infographics

One of the biggest challenges in this design process is knowing what needs to be said, whether visually or through text, and what is getting in the way of that message. Our clients have great things to say, and a designer’s job is to make that message accessible, which means cutting out what hinders, confuses, or waters down the core message.

A second challenge is crafting a compelling story. Infographics are quick, fact-packed, and punchy, but the end result cannot be a group of unrelated facts and key words that look interesting. There must be substance, and an understanding of the beginning, middle, and end. Our job is to take the facts, and use them to motivate a viewer to act.

Why spend time and money on infographics?

Infographics are powerful and popular tools. They bring meaning and emotion to facts, enable a viewer to quickly understand complex problems, and capture attention.

They can be used in different formats, making them versatile – inserted into reports, email graphics, interactive web nuggets, or shared on social media.

Good infographics require thought…getting to the key point requires work.

There are templates out there, but don’t expect a good infographic if you go that route. Good infographics require thought. Cutting content and getting to the key point requires work. Pairing that with visuals that make sense while staying within your brand requires skill and experience.

We like infographics and you should too!

Do you have a story you want turned into an infographic? We’ll work with you to tell your story and not only will you end up with a great infographic, we’ll make sure that you enjoy the process.

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Josh enjoys getting into the weeds of design - from small user interactions to the perfect font pairing - and strives to bring beauty and functionality together in each project.
March 13th, 2015 // // ,
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Abstract images of an infographic