So, you want to make an infographic?
You’re in the right place.
Sure, the “World’s Best Infographics” on our office door was self-awarded, but we haven’t gotten any showdown invitations in the mail, so for the time being, I’m going to go ahead and say there’s literally no better place on Earth to learn about the basics.
From microcontent to microsites, we’ve seen it all — and no matter what form they take, the best infographics seem to have a few things in common. Like…
The best infographics have a reason for existing. An immediate answer to “What’s the point?”
The power of data visualization makes infographics a great tool for sharing new perspectives, changing behavior for the better, bringing attention to a new discovery, and telling a wide assortment of other stories. But if they aren’t designed with a solid thesis in mind, they aren’t set up for success.
When you’re ready to get started on yours, run through this blog post for a robust look at making sure you’ve got a top-notch topic.
Clear, Consistent, Concise Copy
Infographic copy employs similar principles to choosing a topic: Basically, everything that isn’t a “need-to-know” gets left on the cutting room floor.
Great infographics are structured like an outline: They begin with that thesis we mentioned, a-like so:
Then, they support the thesis with a few main points, and support those points with relevant facts or statistics. Sticking to a structured approach helps make sure each piece of text is relevant in convincing the reader that the thesis is accurate.
The next part is obvious: No self-respecting infographic enters the world rife with grammatical errors, and the greatest contain nothing that could take attention away from their content.
When you’re jamming on yours, edit with a watchful eye, and if you’re not well-versed in the written word, consult a friend who can ensure your spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, etc. are spotless.
High-Quality, Optimized Design
Another no-brainer. Eye-pleasing visuals are as important as any other part of an infographic, and Lemonly has tapped into talent from across the world to keep ours fresh — getting every last pixel in place isn’t quite as simple as just downloading Illustrator and going to town, after all. You’re going to want to put in some practice and/or follow a few tutorials before diving into illustrating your infographic.
The best examples aren’t just beautiful, though. They’re designed from the ground up to provide a tailored experience that only infographics are capable of. An attractive header is an-oft used tactic to visually clarify the topic, and each section should lead the reader’s eye to the next key point. Our favorites also tend to be short and sweet — much like a four-hour movie, infographics that get suuuuuper long can come across as daunting and overly dense.
While designing, be mindful about the platform on which your audience is most likely to see your infographic. For example, the most effective mobile-focused pieces have larger text and accommodate differences in screen dimensions from user to user.
Call To Action
You already know great infographics tell you why they exist.
But the best ones also have an answer for “What now?”
Infographics have a gift for inspiring action, and the cherry on top is telling readers the best course to take.
“Make a donation.”
“Download the app.”
Even my old friend, “Learn more.”
You could come up with a compelling thesis, make sure every visual element fits together perfectly, and write some killer copy, but if your readers don’t have a next step, they’ll probably just get on with their day. Including a call-to-action is one of the easiest and most important parts of the process, meaning there’s no excuse to miss it.
I had to get written permission to reveal this company secret, but here it is. Ready? No one will remember what’s in your infographic if they don’t read it. Don’t go tweeting that, now.
It seems obvious, but the best content grabs your attention with a compelling preview before you see it in its full form — sort of like a movie trailer. And still, this step seems to get put on the back burner compared to the others involved in bringing an infographic to life. Before you go gung-ho, though, consider where you’ll be sharing your piece. Each social media platform has its own dimensions, hiccups, workarounds, etc. to consider. Luckily for you, we know a thing or two about dealing with them.
This much to worry about before somebody even reads your piece? Don’t panic. A great preview image doesn’t have to be made from scratch. Adapting an existing image from within your infographic is usually a solid choice. Clean up some text, remove distracting elements to accommodate dimensions and voila! You’ve got an awesome image in just a few minutes.
A few examples for you visual learners:
This quaint lil’ brewhouse became a lovely cover image for our South Dakota Breweries infographic.
And a map came together with a couple strolling along the street to preview our guide to the neighborhoods of Charlotte.
That about covers the basics! If you’ve got any more questions, or just want to send us something these tips helped you whip up, feel free to drop us a line.
In the first case, we’d be happy to assist. In the second, it’ll go straight on the fridge.