They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and that can certainly be true with infographics. A properly designed and presented infographic is a great way to communicate complex ideas simply, gain understanding and encourage action. But if you’re going to harness the power of infographics properly, there are a few things you should take time to consider.
Get the data right
Your infographic needs to be built on solid data. This doesn’t just mean checking that the data is correct (which it needs to be). It also means choosing exactly which data to use. Which makes your point most clearly? Which can be left out? You will probably have to do a lot of pruning to get to the crucial numbers.
Find your story
Once you have decided on the data to use, you need to think about the story you are trying to tell. What is the message of the piece? This should be simple but compelling. Trying to tell too much will result in a complex, confusing infographic. Journalists are often taught how to tell even the most complex story in just the opening line of an article. Does your infographic do that?
Think of your channels and audience
Today there are almost countless different media channels. Where will your infographic be going? In a magazine? Sales collateral? Newspaper? Nowadays the vast majority of infographics will end up online in some form. Infographics work well with social media channels but they need to be designed to maximise shareablity. This means getting your message out there, beyond your followers. To encourage people to share, your infographic must be emotionally engaging. Is it surprising? Funny? Empathetic? Does it say something about the world or the human condition that people are going to identify with? That’s how to build in shareability.
Decide on a creative route
Now you have your data, know your audience and have decided on the message, you need to think about presentation. This could include graphs and charts or something more abstract. Try out a few different approaches and get a feel for what works best with your data, audience and message. Testing your approach on a sample audience will help.