In our blog, we praise quality content and encourage readers to create engaging and informative content. Today we wish to encourage you to take one next step: a step into visual content. Our graphic experts provide you with 10 tips for the perfect infographic that will enhance your content’s performance.
No one doubts the fantastic added value that good visuals can give to your content. Infographics are one of the most popular ways to enrich textual content and make it more compelling and shareable. The reasons for that are many:
- People pay more attention to visuals. In the sea of text, it is hard to stand out, and an infographic can boost your article’s visibility.
- A picture is worth a thousand words. An infographic can say in 1 minute what you have been trying to explain for 3 pages on text.
- Visuals break the text and make it easier to digest. In a long article, full of text, in small font, the reader quickly gets lost (or falls asleep). An infographic can be the perfect wake up.
- Infographics allow you to be outstanding. A visual presentation of data allows you to do things you couldn’t dream of doing with text. With an immense amount of available tools, all you need to do is to get creative!
Want to make the perfect infographic? Here’s how!
Since infographics make such an important part of good content, we decided to help you create the perfect infographic. For this purpose, we assembled a council of experts, composed of our graphic designer at Boost the News, Paulina, and our friends at Venngage, who are true infographic pros.
Together, they gathered 10 essential rules that you must implement if you want your infographic to kick ass. As a bonus, they provide two examples of how these rules come into practice. Ready? Here they come:
- Determine the message
A good infographic has a determined goal: to make a point, to pass a message, to demonstrate a phenomenon. Make sure you determine your message clearly. A bad infographic leaves the reader with one big question mark – “what was that all about??”
- Make a clear headline
Deriving from the main message is the headline of the infographic. The headline makes sure the reader understands what is going to be presented. It needs to be big, prominent and bold, otherwise the reader won’t know what the infographic is about.
- Write a narrative
A bad infographic is just a gathering of random data and numbers. A good infographic creates a narrative, a storyline: it starts in the headline, and then builds a set of arguments that slowly lead the reader to understand the main idea.
- Validate your data
An infographic that presents wrong or partial information jeopardizes the credibility of its creator. Make sure to double check the information you present and provide sources and references. Remember: to edit an infographic after it has been published is much harder than to edit text.
- Be creative
An infographic is not a mere repetition of the text, but an amplifier of its message. Use the infographic wisely and creatively to look at the data from a different angle. Don’t be afraid to use metaphors, symbols, and other artistic means.
- Take it easy on the text
The former point reminds us that an infographic is not an article – it shouldn’t be loaded with text. Focus rather on the visual.
- Represent data through form
The medium is the message, and the infographic is a visual medium. A good infographic expresses the text and communicates the message through its form. If something is bigger in numbers, it should be bigger in form; if something is shocking, it’s appearance should be shocking.
- Emphasize main points
Make sure the most important elements of the infographic are emphasized, so that the reader gets them straight away. Enlarge and bold keywords and numbers to clarify your point.
- Keep it clean
Make the infographic uniform and coherent. Bad infographics look like a pastiche of different graphics and create confusion and visual rejection.
- Take it easy on the colors
Make sure you choose one simple palette and go with it throughout the whole infographic. Too many colors will also create confusion and take away the attention from the data.
Study-case: the good, the bad, and the ugly infographic
To help you understand how these ten rules come into practice, our friends at Venngage provided us with two infographics. Both present the same data, but differ in quality – one follows the rules, the other does not.
Let’s first have a look at the not-so-good infographic:
Wow! What a mess! I need to give my eyes a moment to adjust!
Joking aside, here is what our panel of experts see as problematic in this infographic:
- There is no uniformity of colors and fonts. There are 6 different colors and 3 different fonts appearing interchangeably in this infographic. This causes a feeling of visual chaos and prevents the reader from concentrating on the information.
- The headline is unclear (is it an infographic about poverty or about math?)
- The infographic is loaded with text, sometimes really small and unreadable. Main facts drown in the sea of text and are left unnoticed.
- Figures are not always scaled in form (250,000 has the same size as 1,000,000).
- Text boxes are mixed in size and location, which means there is no flow of information. There is no coherent narrative, and numbers appear randomly.
- The use of graphic elements is poor and does not contribute to the understanding of the data. There are only two elements: random drawings of graphs, and an unclear form in the top-left corner.
Now let’s have a look at the good infographic, and see what we can learn from it:
This infographic gives a feeling of harmony and order. It is reader-friendly, and there is a coherent flow of information. Here is what we like about it:
- The headline is clear, prominent and oversees the whole piece. The “Math” part was erased, to make it clear what the infographic is really about.
- There are only three colors and two fonts, used systematically in repeated patterns.
- The flow of information is clear. There is sequence in the text, which is even further strengthened by the presence of arrows.
- Important numbers and keywords are bolded in the text, and draw attention to what is really crucial. Without even reading the whole infographic, I immediately notice that it is about: welfare, small businesses, investment in human capital, impact. Combining with the knowledge from the headline, I conclude: bringing adults out of poverty and welfare through investment in small businesses has a great impact. Bingo!
- A rich use of graphic elements (icon and tables) supports the main message and enriches it, without overwhelming the main message.
These two infographics showcase how the same information can be presented in two distinct ways. In one, the infographic fulfills its role and supplements the text with interesting insights and compelling form. In the other, its gives no added value but confusion. Follow our 10 rules to keep on the winning side of infographic creation. For more information on marketing your infographic, check out this free Ebook from Venngage and Hubspot.