Infographics started off as illustrations back in the 1600's, when Christoph Scheiner used them to demonstrate the sun's rotation patterns. Since then, needless to say, we've come quite a long way. Especially since the advent of the internet and mass distribution of media, our understanding of what infographics are capable of has evolved by leaps and bounds. These days, we produce infographics to help describe just about anything: from graphical interpretations to the types of food we should eat. We've even created infographics about how to create infographics!
So why the buzz? Aren't they just pictures with words on them? We'll, yes to an extent. But they're so much more than that.
Infographics help us visualize data in a way that no amount of words and pictures can alone. The fact of the matter is we appreciate infographics, and according to the Wharton School of Business and Search Engine Journal, there are statistics backing that up:
- When conducting a presentation, 67% of the audience was convinced by the first presentation, which included infographics. This was compared to a 50% "convincement" rate for the purely verbal presentation.
- Infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than articles that contain text only.
- People searched for the term infographic(s) on Google 67,000 times per month in 2013. So the figure is likely to be a lot higher today.
- Publishers that feature infographics grow their traffic 12% faster than those who don't use infographics.
- The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than it does for text.
What's Important When it Comes to Infographics?Although we know why infographics work so well, not all of us are entirely sure what makes them work. It's not just about the data provided, nor is it just about the quality or relevance of the images used. Heck, it isn't even about how well the content is written. It's actually about all of these things put together, how well each component flows into the next, and the style in which the infographic is designed and laid out.
Here are the main points to think of when producing an infographic:
- Good infographics always contain data, which has to be rigorously processed, organized, and collected from a reputable source.
- The best infographics always convey an extensive amount of information in a lot less space than it would take to accomplish the same with a textual and/or graphical article.
- Good infographics are always focused on the subject at hand, information provided is always relevant and never strays off topic.
- The best infographics also make good use of white space. This makes them far easier to digest and makes each component stand out from the background.
- Good infographics always contain rich graphics that tie into the data like maps, graphs, charts and other data visualization techniques.
5 Examples of Totally Awesome InfographicsBy now, you should already know what makes an infographic successful. So without further ado, here are 5 examples of a job well done that you can learn from (click images to view them in full):
Men's Dress Codes Made Simple - by Samuel Windsor
What makes it great: The main reason this is such a successful example is because it's simple, and straight to the point. Not only does it adhere to all the conventional rules of a great infographic, it uses as little textual content as possible without losing the informational appeal. One might consider it as a simple cheat sheet to men's outfits and the graphics support the infographic's intention completely.
The Blogging Food Groups: A Well-Balanced Diet of Content - by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
What makes it great: From the get-go, this infographic makes use of metaphors to describe blogging using a topic that most of us are very familiar with, "food and dieting". Apart from the attention grabbing headline, the actual infographic maintains the theme, using images of different food groups to illustrate the need to create different types of blog posts that are valuable to your audience. What makes this infographic stand out is its use of real pictures rather than drawn images. This immediately sets it apart from most others, making it more surprising visually.
UK Road Accident Facts That Could Save Your Life - by FeelGood Contacts
What makes it great: This example is both visually appealing and full of useful information for readers, as it uses clean, relevant graphics to raise the subject of road safety, something that affects us all. Much of the information displayed is statistical, and each point has related visual material to make it easier to comprehend at a glance. The most impressive aspect of this infographic is that it's creators used the subject of road accidents to advocate the need for good eyesight, promoting their cause in a responsible manner.
Cheetah: Nature's Speed Machine - by Animagraphs
What makes it great: Right off the bat, this is a highly appealing infographic visually. Although it uses a limited color scheme, black text and graphics stand out clearly against the yellowish background, which is dotted with spots, synonymous to the look of a cheetah's fur. You'll also notice that this is an animated infographic, making it immediately more compelling to read because the audience's eyes are drawn to the moving features. This example takes what could have been a relatively uninteresting topic (because we all already know that cheetahs are fast) and turns it into something truly amazing to consume.
Cost of Living Around the World - by MoveHub
What makes it great: In this example, one point stands out overall: there are basically no words. The infographic is almost completely imaged-based, making it easier to digest than virtually any other infographic I've ever seen. It uses colors to denote various levels of cost per region and includes the actual figures at the bottom for reference like an annex. Most of the visuals are maps, making the infographic inherently full of rich content. It draws readers in with its use of contrasting color schemes and presents its data in the simplest way possible, on a color scale.
What We Can Learn From These Awesome Infographics
If you're thinking of producing your own infographics, you should use these as prime examples to make yours as valuable and interesting to your audience as possible. Before you go out and start designing it, you should think about the topic and whether or not it is relevant to your target audience. For example, if you're creating one for B2B businesses, the topic of dressing up fashionably for work might not be something they'll be too interested in.
Notice that all the examples only use textual content when it's truly needed. And when they do, it's always written in short, bullet-like points. Remember that your brain processes visual content 60,000 times faster than text, so make sure you don't overdo things with the wording. You should always ensure that your graphics are completely relevant to your topic. Infographics aren't for beating 'round the bush, you should be focused and purposeful at all times.
If you're relatively new to the infographic production game, there are a few simple tools that even beginners can use to create compelling designs. Check out Canva's tool as well as Venngage's infographic creator. Spend a little time on mastering design aesthetics and soon, you'll be creating awesome infographics all on your own.
If you've got any other ideas for creating infographics, I'd love to hear your thoughts.