How to Design Visually Attractive Infographics
Infographics are useful because people often learn better using visual cues. As a result, visual images can be used to present information in a simple but elegant manner, while language is used to supplement the image and help fill in the details. An attractive infographic is more than simply an appealing image because it needs to balance both elements in its design.
Here are four tips to keep in mind during the process of designing an infographic:
An infographic is more than a graph done up in color. Under ideal circumstances, an infographic incorporates the information that it is designed to tell into an image or number of images that are relevant to the topic of the information. For example, a map of public transportation routes with each station labeled on the map is an effective infographic because it communicates all of the relevant information in one glance using both images and phrases in unison.
Create a Focus
Although having multiple images in an infographic can sometimes be useful, having an excess number tends to divide attention and cause viewers to waste time cross-referencing each image with the rest. In general, a good infographic should have a single central image incorporating the most important elements of the information presented, with other images serving as supplements at most. Bear in mind that this is not an universal rule, since there are scenarios where the information is better presented using two or more images rather than one. For example, a collection of otherwise unrelated statistics about a common event should almost certainly not be compressed into a single image.
Do Not Sacrifice Accuracy
Statistics can be presented in a manner that creates misleading impressions. For example, the angle at which a three-dimensional pie chart is tilted can create misleading impressions because it is manipulating the perspective of the viewer and thus the apparent sizes of certain slices in the pie chart. A sloppier version of this problem, where the image is simply not drawn to scale, is a common problem among infographics. Although it might be tempting to sacrifice accuracy in order to use an appealing image, doing so can cause immense and immediate backlash from people who notice the inaccuracies.
Show Rather than Tell
The entire point of using an infographic is so that its visual elements can help pass on the information to viewers in a more effective and efficient manner. Infographics that present the information using stand-alone phrases and sentences rather than incorporating them into images render the choice of format useless. In extreme cases, infographics that fail to show rather than tell are no better than graphs presented alongside images that may or may not even be relevant. As a general rule, use phrases and sentences to pass on the details, while making sure that the main message can be discerned using the images alone.
A simple method to gauge the effectiveness of the infographic is to consult the opinion of others. Infographic designers are not in the best place to review their own creations, meaning that they should never assume that other viewers will share their responses.
David Kendall has extensive experience consulting with businesses on their marketing needs. His articles mainly appear on website marketing blogs. When looking to employ an infographics agency, it is always good to see which clients they work closely with.