We all know what an infographic is – they are plastered all over our social media feeds and are featured as resources on websites.
infographic – (noun) a visual image such as a chart or diagram used to represent information.
Again, you already knew that. Infographics are everywhere.
What makes infographics so popular among content creators? Ultimately, infographics make complex data more accessible to non-experts, increasing awareness into topics that might seem insurmountable otherwise. There is something about the way an infographic conveys content that holds people’s attention and keeps it. Infographics correlate with significantly higher content engagement compared to blocks of text. Now, it’s time for you to create your own!
How to: Create an Infographic
Step 1 – Identify a topic that your target audience will be interested in.
This is just like how nobody can “write in general” – you need to have a purpose! To create a killer infographic, the first step is to come up with an original infographic idea. How do you do that? Well, you figure out what your audience wants.
One mistake that is commonly cited when creating an infographic is that people try to choose something that is generically popular rather than specifically relevant to their audience. Which is fine! But, keep in mind that the more popular a topic is, the more content is being created in that area. You might have a better shot creating a specific infographic for a specific demographic, and letting it play out from there.
Step 2 – Simplicity is key.
Another thing I learned wading through infographics online was that you can usually always tell when an infographic is made by a beginner. Sometimes, beginners try to load their infographic with tons of information in an effort to translate their data into visual form. Instead of being informative, their infographic becomes intimidating.
“Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities among Communities of Color Compared to Non-Hispanic Whites.” Families USA. September 22, 2014. Accessed October 21, 2018. https://familiesusa.org/health-disparities.
This infographic, published by Families USA, does a really great job of illustrating this point. It breaks down health disparity statistics among racial groups using a very clear and well-organized design. The simplicity of this infographic is key: it is used as a supplement to draw the reader in, and then transition to more text heavy resources later on the website page
Step 3 – Keep it visual.
Use the strengths of the medium in your favor! One of the best parts about an infographic is the freedom to play around with fonts, layouts, colors, spacing, and icons. This is something I had a lot of trouble with when creating my infographic – I could not for the life of me stop writing. Instead of focusing on relaying my data through visuals like charts and graphs, my first instinct was always words. I worked like I was creating a summary of data for an essay instead of an infographic, which made my infographic clunky and visually unappealing.
“LinkedIn – A Well-Balanced Blog.” Column Five. Accessed October 21, 2018. https://www.columnfivemedia.com/work-items/infographic-a-well-balanced-blog.
This infographic was created by LinkedIn’s marketing team to assist bloggers in creating content that has high engagement, especially in a time where there is high content saturation. My favorite part of this infographic is that, instead of providing a list outlining when to post certain types of blog content, LinkedIn uses a visual metaphor to present the information. This makes the subject matter significantly more exciting and eye-catching.
The conventions of infographics are hard to pin down. The foundational terms of a good infographic seem to be simplicity and originality (like most things). Because infographics get significantly higher engagement on social media compared to good ol’ text, we run into them a lot more often than we do academic papers. Infographics have a more casual, approachable tone compared to a block of statistical percentages in text form. I think the fact that they are so much more accessible is a chance to take information from academia and transition it to more general consumption.