The Basics of Effective Infographics

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The Word Infographics is a blend of the 2 words Information and Graphics.

What Are Inforgraphics?

Have you ever seen your friends sharing informative posters with graphs and/or tables? If you are like me and love to read blogs or browse social media, you more than likely have seen a few of them here and there already. These days, those educational visuals are called “Infographics.” The word itself is a blend of the words “information” and “graphic.” This simplicity reflects how infographics are able to share knowledge in a condensed and visually engaging manner.

Basically, Infographics are about simplifying and packaging facts into an easily digestible and shareable format. When an infographic is attached to a blog post it increases the likelihood that people will share it with their friends and family.

Infographics Will Get You Through

People’s appetite for visually condensed information come from our brains’ desire for graphical instead of textual information. The numbers show the reality: our retention rate for visual information attains 65%, which is a huge leap from a mere 10% for text-based content.  Our eyes and brains are inundated with much more information now more than ever before. The first ever website was launched in 1991 and we jumped to 29 million in 2001 and then to 346 million in 2011.  And now, there are more than 1.5 billion websites online. This fact creates a massive challenge for marketers who are wanting to be heard through the huge clutter of online content.

Here is where infographics are able help you cut through the mix. You can use them to capture attention for your social media campaigns and to improve your probability of reaching your audiences.

Get the Best by Going Back to the Basics

Get the best by going back to the basics.

The Basics of Infographics

Infographics are no doubt very useful. But the question remains: how will you be able make them consistently effective and most of all, beautifully stunning? This is the point where we start discussing the fundamentals of design. By recalling the basics, it helps refocus and refresh your mind. It will help you to identify what makes a good layout and to avoid common infographic design mistakes. When applied correctly, it will provide a useful foundation for making eye-catching visuals.

Six Ways These Building Blocks Will Help You Create Slick And Gorgeous Infographics:

1. Emphasis

Emphasis will put more focus and attention on the essential and important parts of your infographic. It is related to the concept of hierarchy in design. This is placing the order of your elements from most important to least important. Depending on where you place a component and how large you make it, the effective use of hierarchy will show the viewers what they should look at first. For example, titles and headings are usually the biggest element in most posters.

With any layout, it’s very important to set up an order of emphasized and subordinate elements based on your primary points and supporting information. This is especially important for infographics with so much information that is packed in. The more text your viewer has to absorb, the more you should use emphasis as a guide to differentiate the significant from the insignificant information.

To determine your hierarchy, you need to list all of the elements that are required for your infographic. This will include everything from the text, shapes, logos, headers, and footers. You then rank these parts in order of their significance, and then the resulting list should help you choose what parts to emphasize.

In the example below, both the overwhelming size of the main text and the use of the color red in a mostly unsaturated layout, will tend to emphasize the headline.

The color red in a mostly unsaturated layout, will tend to emphasize the headline.

RED Color in Web Design

 

It’s important to remember that Emphasis will depend on the relationship between the different elements. If you emphasize everything, then you end up emphasizing nothing at all.

2. Contrast

Contrast will rely on how easily your viewer is able tell two or more elements apart from each other. It is closely tied with Emphasis and it can primarily be controlled by manipulating the size and color of the objects in your layout. This will assist in emphasizing and subordinating those particular elements. Infographics that contain strong Contrast will have elements that are distinctive and clearly defined . The title, main points, supporting text, and call-to-action will be easily recognizable and distinguished from one another. With weak contrast, they will appear to be blended together, with no clear element that stands out.

An extreme example would be a red-colored logo placed on an orange background which would be hard to make out. By putting it on a green background (green is a complementary color to red) it would help make it stand out better. In the example below, a complementary color scheme of blue and orange was used to help contrast with the text.

Infographics that contain strong Contrast will have elements that are distinctive and clearly defined

Blue Text With Orange Background

By having optimal visual contrast, it makes for a striking design. Thusly, by differentiating and highlighting your key elements from the rest of the page, it will suggest variety, it affects visual style, and it will avoid staleness.

3. Balance

Balance is connected with distributing the visual elements in your infographic by relating to the concept of visual weight.

In our real world, the understanding of weight is how hard gravity pulls on a specific object or how heavy it is. But, when you are working with a two-dimensional plane, we interpret this same logic by determining the elements by characteristics like size, color, position, and orientation. A design will be off-balance when too many of the elements are concentrated on one portion of the layout. For example, if you were to place all of them in the upper half of your design, you would be leaving a lot of unnecessary white space in the lower half. This would also tend to make it harder to discern the individual parts above.

In the following example, you can see the four statistics and their accompanying elements equally spaced along a horizontal plane. Other than preserving a sense of symmetry to the screen, it also makes it easier to go from the left-most statistic to the right-most.

You can see the four statistics and their accompanying elements equally spaced along a horizontal plane.

Balance In Infographics

By having a balanced layout, it keeps the reader’s eyes glued to screens. Consequently, it keeps audiences from wondering how exactly they are supposed to start reading your infographic and then what part they are supposed to go to next.

4. Alignment

Alignment refers to how the arrangement of the elements match up with natural lines and borders that are not visible to the viewer. In simple terms, our eyes see and understand unity from seeing things that are lined up with each other. This is usually achieved by placing objects in the space of a defined grid. Most designers will usually divide their layout into thirds before beginning the layout. However, there are other means of dividing the page that may also work. By working within a mostly invisible grid system, it will impart a subtle, yet important sense of visual conformity into your infographic. Actually, putting this to work is more simple than it sounds. You are able to see this in newspapers and magazines. This happens when the tops of two columns match up with each other or when the width of an image conforms with the body text.

In the next example, notice how the height and width of the statistic and text on the left matches with the right. Both of them consequently align with the top banner element. The fact that all of them match up suggests that a great deal of thought was put into the placement and adds sophistication to the layout.

The height and width of the statistic and text on the left matches with the right.

Alignment Of The Elements

These may look like easy and obvious examples. However, there are more sophisticated ways to both utilize and subvert alignment in order to accomplish visual unity for your Infographic.

5. Repetition

Repetition is handled by how visual elements are used more than once throughout a design. You can accomplish this in a few ways. Simple examples of repetition will include color, shape, line, or placement.This will also work for an infographic series by having elements put in the same and familiar places. It makes it easier to understand the information at a quick glance.

For example, in a long and information packed infographic, you can promote comprehension by consistently putting the statistical information on the left side of the layout and placing explanations and facts on the right side of the layout. Doing this prepares the viewers to expect similar elements to be in the same places. This lessens the chances that they will have to look for them in the first place.

In the following example, there are a lot of repeating elements that order the layout. Specifically, the repeating pattern of the inset television screens draw your attention.

There are a lot of repeating elements that order this layout.

Repetition In Infographics

You can also support the recognition of your brand by using characteristics among your various works such as a common color design, identical illustrations, similar design motifs, and shared themes. This will make it easier for the reader to see that your infographics share the same creator.

6. Flow

Flow is the route your user’s eyes will take through your infographic. This is going to depend on how well you put together the previous elements. Usually, a person’s eyes will go from left to right and top to bottom when they are scanning a page or screen. This is natural for most viewers, and by putting your elements in this common path will make your infographic more fluid. Since Flow is described as a strategic blending of the previous five fundamentals, it also can tend to be easily overlooked.

Here is a good guide question to confirm how ideal the flow is: “Is there a logical order to the route that my eyes are taking?” You are easily able to answer this by taking a good long look at your design. After you have laid out and placed everything, step back and imagine that you are viewing your layout for the first time. Note where your eyes are drawn and observe if they are getting attracted to the right places.

  1. Are you comfortable looking at it for a long period of time?
  2. Are you able to see all of the parts clearly?
  3. Is your main message easily understandable?
  4. Are the supporting data and the statements overpowering and visually reinforcing your point?

If you can answer these basic questions with a yes, then your infographic has good flow.

In this last example, you can see a simple Start to End flow pattern.  It enables the reader to easily navigate the visual.

Flow is the route your user’s eyes will take through your infographic.

Flow In Infographics

Ensuring that your design is as fluid as possible will ease communication. Flow will guide your viewers’ eyes instead of causing them to bounce around your layout. This is a critical requirement for an overall cohesive look

In Summary: Infographics, If Done Well, Work Well

SUMMARY / WE ARE ALMOST THERE

In Summary: Infographics Work Well, If Done Well

Infographics dominate the world of social shares with their effective and compelling visual and textual communication potential and appeal. They are easy to understand and at the same time can be fun to share. And, if created the right way, they will even encourage sharing among users which will further increase exposure.  By taking only the most important bits of data on a specific topic and presenting it in a visual manner, infographics will prove to be the best way to spread information and encourage your viewers to pass it on. This can have enormous benefits for you and your brand by giving the boost to spread your message farther and faster.

With the right use of Emphasis, Contrast, Balance, Alignment, Repetition, and Flow, you will be able to have yours stand out from the rest of the pack. And it will highlight your company and brand in the face of tough competition. The building blocks of design can help build great marketing foundations for your company. And now the best time cash in on the trend for yourself. Infographics aren’t only great to look at. They are incredible at communicating your brand to possibly millions, or possibly billions of online users. These are the users who may just fuel your next big break.

Finally

THE END

Thanks for taking the time to read my post on The Basics of Effective Infographics. I hope that it was informative and provided useful tools for your online business. If you have Comments or Questions, please feel free to leave them below.

Best Regards,

 

Mike

 

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