Here at jWeb Media, we give a lot of advice on written content. While word-based content is the foundation of many company’s online marketing strategies, rich media is quickly becoming the most popular type of content. Users are more likely to share, comment, and just spend more time with your content if it deals with image-based “infotainment”, like videos or photographs.
Over the past few years, infographics have gone from a “new thing” in rich media to a mainstay of any good design and content arsenal. These graphics provide an opportunity for companies to grab customers’ attention and inform them about their industry.
However, as with all trends, not all iterations are a guaranteed win. There are ways to mess up a perfectly good infographic. There are also ways to stay on the right track and keep the viewer informed and entertained. By following a few simple guidelines, you can catch and keep viewers through the use of a fantastic infographic.
Do Your Research
If your entire reason behind creating an infographic is to inform viewers and potential customers, then it must be firmly grounded in facts. Not only would it be pointless and dangerous to present false info (you could lose followers or brand authority), but understanding your subject will make the design process easier. The more knowledge you have on a subject, the more content you will be able to design.
Don’t Forget to Plan Ahead
Sketches and wireframes are an absolute must. You wouldn’t right a speech or an essay without an outline, so don’t skimp on it here. Without proper planning, you risk losing your voice or completely missing the point you’re trying to convey. Your infographic needs to a visual flow to guide the viewer through your graphics. Failing to outline could lead to placing information in the wrong place or not properly establishing your information in a way the viewer can understand.
Establish a Color Palette & Stick to It
The beautiful thing about infographics is that they allow you to display a substantial amount of information in the cleanest and simplest way possible. Too many colors can turn a simple image into an overwhelming one. The best way to avoid overcomplicating your graphic is to establish the color palette you plan to use and stick to it. Generally, limiting graphics to three or four dominant colors is a safe bet.
Construct a Visual Hierarchy
When a viewer first glances at your infographic, he should be able to tell quickly—and without reading—which bit of information is the most important. If they can also tell what the graphic is about without reading, that’s a plus, too. By varying the size and color throughout a graphic, the designer can help lead the viewer through the information, all the while telling them which pieces matter the most without coming right out and saying it with occasional text.
That Said, Limit Text
The idea behind creating an infographic is that the visuals will do most of the work. If someone wanted to read a lot of text online, they’d find a blog, article, or whitepaper. Loading your graphic with large blocks of text will cut down on your ability to create hierarchy and can intimidate a viewer.
Be Sure to Know Your Audience
Much like a writer needs to a voice that fits the intended audience, a designer needs to find the proper visual style that fits the intended viewer. There are so many options for colors, typefaces, and imagery for your style and voice to drown in. Knowing who you’re designing for and what will appeal to them will make those minute decisions easier. It will also help you create a more coherent design, which sends a stronger message.
It’s obvious that infographics won’t be going anywhere. They’re a fantastic way to express ideas and share knowledge while keeping an audience’s attention. When done right, an infographic can have viral potential. It’s a chance to take what could be boring for even the most familiar viewers and turn it into something new and appealing.