Seeing Is Believing:
Infographics and the Power of Visual Storytelling
Spreadsheets? Snooze. Slide presentations? Overused. Charts? Unwieldy.
There’s no doubt that dense information and data are necessary elements of a successful business; their dissemination and evaluation are instrumental to success. But all too often, complex topics and rows of numbers are met with yawns or confusion when shared by traditional means.
Luckily, there’s an effective—even elegant—solution where data and creativity intersect: the infographic.
So what is an infographic?
Beyond the obvious portmanteau (information plus graphic equals infographic), an infographic a striking compilation of images, charts, and numbers, involving minimal text, that presents complicated information or a lot of data in an aesthetically appealing manner.
Infographics are an appealing and affordable way to approach visual storytelling. The best infographics communicate quickly, clearly, and visually, and can be a highly powerful way to appeal to visual learners—about 65% of the population—and engage viewers with content proven to be more easily remembered—adding a picture to content increases retention by as much as 65%.
Why use infographics?
The stats cited above show that infographics are relevant to an increasingly wide audience of visual learners. Infographics are also powerfully compelling in the realms of search and sharing.
Infographics can improve web traffic by 12% or more.
SEO experts recommend infographics as an organic method of boosting traffic, especially via backlinks. Keywords can be embedded in the HTML of an infographic and embed codes can be used to track performance.
Plus, adding images to your posts on social media exponentially increases their visibility and shareability.
When is an infographic appropriate?
There are several infographic categories, and multiple types of infographics within those categories.
At a high level, infographics can be broken into 3 main categories:
- Data visualization (depicting large amounts of data visually)
- Information design (graphic design specifically aimed towards appropriately conveying information), and
- Editorial (adding valuable insight to visual information).
From there, the possible use-case scenarios for infographics are plentiful.
- Use them to depict statistics, like survey results or numbers drawn from various sources.
- Timeline infographics can show historical data or evolution over a specific timeframe.
- A process infographic is an easy-to-follow, often step by step, visual representation of a process. Since people following directions with text and illustrations are 323% more successful than those who follow directions with text alone, these can be particularly valuable in organizations that are highly process driven.
- Geographical infographics combine the visual impact of a map with the educational power of regionally specific data.
- Infographics can also be an effective way to compare and contrast multiple options, illustrate where something may fall within a hierarchy, make a list more eye-catching, or even aggregate personal information, like the infographic resume.
Anything to keep in mind when creating infographics?
Glad you asked! Because infographics, by nature, are succinct and concise, it’s crucial to determine your goals, audience, and social strategy before designing your infographic.
- Keep it simple, but don’t forget the little details- like a great headline to draw in your audience, or including intentional whitespace so you don’t distract from important info with cluttered design.
- Make sure your infographic has a strong flow- you want your viewer to be able to follow your story easily and in the way you intended, whether that’s vertical, horizontal, linear, or circuitous.
- Finally, there are millions of stock images out there- don’t use them. Take the time and make the effort to create (or hire people to create) visuals from the ground up.
Here’s just one example of a well-done infographic. This one illustrates common “mythconceptions” –falsehoods that have gained a life of their own. Click on the image to clear up the myth; the bubble around the image represents just how viral it’s become. https://informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/common-mythconceptions/
Another example is this fascinating visual depicting the routines of some of the world’s most renowned creatives. This one was particularly successful, generating 656 linking root domains for Podio. https://podio.com/site/creative-routines
Infographics should be unique, stand out from a crowd, and showcase your topic or data in a compelling manner that invites attention and sharing. The most effective infographics are the ones where simplicity and authenticity share equal billing with information and creativity.