5Ss of a Successful Infographic
First things first; what is an infographic? An infographic is a visual representation of data, simplified to make the information within the content easier to digest. Pikto chart provide a great article showing 10 examples of good infographics.
Infographics have become more and more popular for the use of sharing content and promoting certain aspects of a brand online. The fact that they incorporate both text and visuals means maximum effectiveness in reaching both visual and text base learners. As well as this, the opportunity for creativeness and adding emotional factors into an infographic makes them a much more versatile technique for sharing content.
One thing not to be misunderstood, however, is that an infographic is not just a set of pretty pictures. Equally, it shouldn’t just be a piece of content filled with irrelevant information. There is a huge element of design and planning that needs to go into the creation of an infographic in order to effectively communicate your message.
So what does it take to make the perfect infographic? I have put together a list of factors I call the ‘5Ss’ that need to be looked into when creating an infographic:
The purpose behind any infographic is to communicate a message through telling a story to your consumer. By this, I don’t mean read them a fairy tale, it should be a play-by-play of what you want to express to the audience. You should be asking yourself what story you want to tell. What message are you trying to put across? Will your target audience respond well to this? Who are you telling this story to? Does the story fit with brand values?
You need to make sure the story isn’t solely about you. Instead, revolve it around your audience. Listen to feedback they give you on blog posts, research into where most traffic diverts to and look deeper into understanding what your audience will want. From this, you can create a complex story that will interest your consumer.
Having previously mentioned “complex story”, don’t take this as me asking you to write a sequel to “inception” in your infographic; it just means create a compelling idea that works on different levels so as to keep the reader interested. I reinforce this statement due to the fact that your infographic should be kept as simplistic as possible and not complexly laid out.
The more clutter you have on your infographic, the harder it will be for a consumer to scan your content. Jeff Bullas suggests that a minimalist design is an art form that limits the types of fonts, shapes and image styles, thus avoiding confusion and creating a flow. By incorporating a sense of simplicity into your infographic, the reader’s job is made easier, thus they are much more likely to continue reading and may even share your content.
Speaking of sharing, you should be making sure your infographic is easily shareable. You need to be providing the correct widgets and code to make the sharing of your new content as easy as possible; due to the fact that a consumer may be interested in your content but will most likely not go the extra mile just to share it.
One thing to ensure you are doing is promoting this infographic to your social media influencers. If you can successfully generate interest with your influencers, then the promotion will be half done for you. With this in mind, make sure you are providing industry experts with a compelling read and something they think will benefit their audience…which leads me to my next “S”.
One of the most important components of an infographic is providing accurate and relevant data. When targeting certain industry readers, it is vital you are giving them something they either haven’t read before, or already know but still find an interesting read. By providing interesting facts and figures, this not only interests the target audience, but influencers will find this information valuable to share with their audience. What you need to make sure though is that all of your data is well credited.
Envision puts this factor in a great way: think back to the high school days when you had to write essays and reference credible sources; an infographic is exactly the same, you need to ensure the data you are providing is relevant to the reader, as well as from a credible source. So make sure you are crediting your statistics within your infographic, as uncredited information can lead to mistrust within readers.
To clear this up straight away, I don’t mean dress your infographic up in sexy clothing. ‘Sexiness’ is basically referring to the infographic having a strong appeal to its consumer through its design and layout.
For example, the design of the infographic should be largely based around the story that you are telling, and the consumer you are telling it to. For example, if you are creating an infographic about race cars, implement some quirky ideas regarding that same topic. For instance, create an interactive infographic, incorporating a race car leading you to each main point (just an example).
Make sure the colour scheme you are using fits well with the overall concept. In terms of the fonts, I would never go with more than two separate styles. Make sure you are also using large headers to break up information, to ensure that the reader doesn’t have to read the entire piece of content to get to the section they want to read.
Finally, another great way to break up text is to make use of graphs and charts within your infographic. I don’t mean boring old excel graphs, but quirky, “sexy” images that convey the statistics in a simple yet appealing way.