Have you been mulling infographics for a while, trying to decide if it’s the right ingredient for your business or maybe an upcoming campaign for a client? We’ve created a lot of infographics in our time, and I can speak first-hand to their unique ability to tell a story in a brand new way when they are executed properly.
But let’s face it, infographics are only effective if people are engaged with your material and message. The last thing you want to do is create an infographic containing confusing data, as it often results in a lackluster story that no one wants to read or share. To ensure your infographic gets as many eyeballs on it as possible, make sure your story is succinct and strong before diving into the actual design process with these three infographic best practices:
Talk it out: With your infographic data points in front of you, explain your story out loud. Pay attention to the order in which you tell it, and consider outlining your infographic in a similar manner. It may help you determine if you are forgetting any relevant data. If you are missing key points, you can always do a little more digging online to see if the data already exists. If it doesn’t, consider executing a survey that reaches your target audience (this way, you get to ask the exact questions you need answered). Talking it out also helps you realize if you’re including too much data. It’s best to remove irrelevant data points before the design process begins, so they aren’t factored in to the general layout of the infographic.
Map it out: Once you’ve determined that you have the right data points on hand to create the best story possible, map out your infographic with a good old-fashioned outline. We’ve found this to be the best way to organize your content before jumping into the design work. It can be as detailed as you like, and you also may find it helpful to approach it like a key message framework with sub-bullets (data points) supporting your main message. Here’s a basic outline to get you started:
- Subheader (optional)
- Section 1 Header/Key message
- Section 1 Supporting Data Points
- Section 2 Header/Key message (may include transition between section 1 and 2)
- Section 2 Supporting Data Points
- Section 3 Header/Key message (may include transition between section 2 and 3)
- Section 3 Supporting Data Points
- [Continue sections as necessary]
- Key Takeaway/Call to Action
If you need more ideas on how to map it out, take a look at other infographics for inspiration.
Get an outsider’s perspective: Show your outline to a few people unfamiliar with your story and ask them to share what they took away from it. Their perspective will shed light on what content is absolutely necessary and where you are including unnecessary details. Most importantly, this step helps you determine if your infographic stands alone as a document that doesn’t need a lot of outside context to explain it, which is necessary if you’re hoping to use it for press or media coverage. You sometimes have little control over how much context the reporter provides, but you can specify the content within the infographic itself.