February 8, 2017 Chess No Comments on The Ins and Outs of Designing an Infographic
The Ins and Outs of Designing an Infographic
We all know that an infographic is used to visualize data, especially those involving numbers. It represents information or data in an interesting way.
However, more than adding style and imagery to liven up content, University of Miami infographics and visualization professor Alberto Cairo says that “an infographic is a visual presentation of evidence, not just a pretty picture… the goal of a graphic is not to make numbers interesting, but to transform those numbers into visual shapes from which the human brain can extract meaning.” Cairo also added that an infographic is more of a “cognitive tool for understanding, an extension of our visual system.”
With that said, data visualization works as a way to present the information clearer and to let readers understand the data better. The infographic stimulates the audience’s (or the general human visual system’s) ability to recognize patterns and trends. An effective infographic supports the narrative of an article.
Before we had infographics, there were isotypes. Isotypes were developed to serve as vivid pictorial representations of statistical information. Initially known as the Vienna Method of Pictorial Statistics, isotypes were developed by Otto Neurath, an Austrian social scientist and economist, together with Marie Reidemeister and Gerd Arntz. Eventually, isotypes would evolve to contemporary infographics.
Infographics are mostly used for communication and information dissemination. They help immensely when trying to convey information or data quickly to the masses. Among the types of infographics include various types of charts like line chart, bar chart, pie chart, along with histogram, scatterplot, boxplot, to name a few.
With the continuous evolution and popularity of using imagery to support ideas, we have reached the golden age of infographics and we need to wield all the advantages of the trend. But how to start? What do we need to know to create a great infographic?
First, you need to identify the purpose of your infographic. Why are you making an infographic? Maybe you want to back up your story with supporting data and or just to spice up the information without making it too hard to understand and interpret? Each infographic has to have a point or has to have the ability to prove a point or tell a story. In short, the design aspect of the infographic helps support the data.
Second, you’ll want to gather all the data you need. Do not rush this process since it needs to be accurate, and the data you gather will serve as the backbone of your infographic. Just make sure you have enough and that you have the CORRECT data. Some sources can include public records or information that you have collected on your own, such as interviews and surveys.
Third, use the data to help with telling the story. In a perfect scenario, the data you have perfectly fits with the story you want to tell. Sometimes, there are unethical teams who will falsify or doctor the data just to make the information fit with their story and present the infographic in a misleading way. The correct and ethical way of doing things though would be to look at the data from another point of view, then present the data that way.
Fourth, create the design that best fits both the infographic and the story. Finding the best design to present the information is a bit tricky; designers may go for turning raw data into graphs and charts, some go for illustration and symbolism. When choosing to create the design with graphs and charts, ensure to make it simple. Utilize colors, shapes, and symbols, and use the legends and representations accurately, in a way that readers would easily follow. As for going with illustrations and metaphors, this approach would require the design to be more visually appealing. Here designers can have more freedom, but make sure to stick with the purpose of the infographic so the graphics should accurately represent the information. This approach can get more complex and more research needs to be done.
Publishing the Infographic
After publishing the infographic, this is often not the end. In some cases, the first data visualization of a subject can follow with updated versions, with more details. When publishing it on social media, followers sometimes provide insight which could serve as another perspective of the subject.
For infographic projects, our designers at MicroCreatives can help! Just send us your data and requirements, and we’ll do the rest! If you need help organizing information and additional research, our copywriters will also be glad to help.