With a few thousand projects under our belt, we’d say we’ve got a pretty good hang of this infographic thing. But a process this smooth doesn’t come without some growing pains. We assembled some of our most seasoned project managers, copywriters, and designers for a rundown on things to look out for, whether you’re working with us or crafting your very own infographic.
Preparation tips from Jade
If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably perused our work page for a while, gotten inspired by all the beautiful illustration work our designers do, and started dreaming about how awesome your own infographic is going to end up. But hold everything!
Before thinking about how your project is going to look, it’s important to consider its purpose. We answer questions about each project with our homemade tool, Ingredients, before thinking about the creative. These questions include:
- Who are you talking to?
- What do you want them to take away from the visual?
- When and where will it be posted?
- Is there a piece you’d like to draw inspiration from?
- Who needs to see and approve the project at each stage?
Putting the purpose and goals of your project in front of all else will help you craft your story with the appropriate structure, length, and specs in mind.
Example: You shouldn’t design a traditional infographic if you plan on posting it directly to social media. Full infographics look terrible on Facebook! Try this instead.
Project management tips from Emily
Now that you’ve laid down the groundwork, it’s time to hit that seedling with some visual nourishment. Project managers (or the person on your team acting as one) should give writers and designers ample time to conceive, revise, and bring ideas to life, but should never totally take their hands off the project. It’s up to us to make sure every piece follows our proven path while ironing out points of confusion and turning feedback into executions.
One of our biggest pieces of advice is to consolidate all your team’s feedback through a single gatekeeper. Doing so prevents contradictory feedback, makes sure all your suggestions are seen and applied, and facilitates discussion that leads to achieving the project’s goals. (See why getting those goals sorted out first is such a big deal?)
One more reminder: Be sure to share any brand standards and/or visual ideas before design begins. “I’ll know it when I see it” isn’t a strategy that ends up working out very often in our experience. And switching directions, whether visually or conceptually, isn’t exactly an efficient solution, as it can often lead to extended timelines. If you had something in mind from the beginning, don’t be shy! It’s most helpful for designers to be fully equipped from the get-go.
Copywriting tips from Maddie
What began as an idea is starting to come to life! Now it’s time to decide what your infographic has to say.
Much like the project as a whole, writing copy for an infographic goes a lot more smoothly if you go in with a plan. Start with an outline that covers your main “thesis” and each supporting section, subsection, and so forth. Filling in a template is a lot less intimidating than staring down a blank page. (Remind yourself about your audience and the project’s purpose at this point, too.)
I know it’s tempting to let your inner Hemingway shine. But most often when writing infographic copy, it’s best to stick to the high-level stuff. Think by the bullet point — short, specific, and significant writing keeps readers focused and makes your information crystal clear. When you think you’re done, go back cut any extraneous details or flowery, overly descriptive language. Your job is to do the heavy lifting. Let the designer worry about wowing ‘em.
Now is another one of those times that preparation comes into play. When it’s time to wrap things up, include a call-to-action so your readers aren’t left thinking “so what?” Learn more about the topic you introduced, schedule a demo for the product or service you explained, etc. Someone could think your infographic was the greatest thing they’ve ever seen, but its potential for impact suffers if there’s no clear next step for the reader.
Once you’ve gone through a few rounds of self-edits, let a friend or co-worker run a fresh set of eyes over your document to catch any simple errors and make sure your story makes sense. Then, it’s time for the fun part!
Design tips from Brett
The finish line is in sight! Last, but definitely not least, comes the design phase.
Good infographic design follows many of the same principles as any other form of graphic design, so the most important things are to practice, expose yourself to artists who inspire you, and keep honing your craft.
Rather than diving head-first into illustration, each Lemonly project begins with a wireframe: a black-and-white blueprint that focuses more on how an infographic will be laid out than the way it’ll look. It’s much easier to focus on maximizing the effectiveness of your content when you aren’t initially distracted by colors, typefaces, and illustrations. (Plus, it’s easier to adjust grayscale shapes and placeholder elements than re-illustrate fully designed elements if edits are needed.)
You’ve probably heard the whole “a picture is worth a thousand words” thing, right? Definitely something to keep in mind while you design an infographic. If an idea can be expressed visually rather than using a chunk of copy, do it! Humans are wired to be visual creatures, after all. Always keep in mind, though: All pieces of the infographic — from story to layout to design — are there to serve one thing: the goal of the project. You may be the best designer in the world, but if all you’re doing is making art, you’re doing it wrong.
That about covers it! You’re well on your way to becoming an infographic master. Before you shout it from the rooftops, pick up a few more tips on design basics, step up your graphic game with some animation advice or check out the storytelling potential that infographics provide.
Hope some sweet visuals enter your life soon! (We can help with that.)