Who doesn’t love a great infographic? A simple, clean way to present complex data and tell an interesting story in a visual manner that is easy to digest? Sign me up.

The volume of infographics being produced has really started to spike the last couple years as companies have latched onto them as an effective communications channel. Of course, variations of infographics have been around for quite some time in the form of simple design and pared down data visualization. As I’m constantly studying the design space and creating infographics day in and day out for clients, I thought I’d share a few tips to make sure you’re taking your infographic from good to great.

1. Start With a Purpose: Seems obvious, right? You’d be surprised at how many companies and organizations feel they need an infographic simply to have an infographic. Bad move.

What’s your end goal? Are you working to drive traffic to a blog/site to beef SEO or to serve as a pitch asset for media and bloggers? Is your best option a standard infographic or do you have the budget and would your audience be more likely to engage with a video infographic? Think through your intended niche audience and don’t try to craft a universal pitch piece that applies to everyone. As with most successful online marketing, it’s not about generating a piece that sells you but rather about creating creative content that your audience feels compelled to share and learn more about.

2. Gather Your Data -> Build Your Storyline: Data and storytelling naturally go hand-in-hand in infographic world. The most critical part of any infographic is taking ample time to do your research and cover your bases to ensure you are presenting accurate, interesting information. From there, you need to strap on your creative thinking cap and come up with a unique storyline and method of presenting the data. Depending on your intended format, visual.ly, coolinfographics.com, infographicsshowcase.com and videoinfographic.com can serve up some solid inspiration.

3. Make Your Design Dyn-o-mite: Bad design will turn readers away in a matter of seconds. On the other hand, great design will have readers sharing like mad and clicking through for more good content. Pay close attention to your careful balance of color coding, graphics/icons, and framing. Stay attuned to natural human tendency to scan left-to-right, top-to-bottom and focus on captivating attention via graphics size variance.

4. Provide a Conclusion: All too often, I come across infographics that lack any storyline and are instead merely a splattering of facts and figures bunched together into the equivalent of an online poster. Fine if you’re just looking for a creative way to present stats, but without a logical storyline, a reader is left without a conclusion, key learning or call to action that helps paint the whole picture. Don’t force readers to piece together their own takeaway.

5. Promote Yourself and Share Like Mad: Anyone that tells you that infographics are quick and easy to create is lying – or selling you on what is bound to be a disappointing final product. Great infographics take time to plan and design no matter what. As such, you should ensure that you’ve added your logo/URL to the bottom to get credit for your hard work. When it comes time for distribution, make sure you’re checking off every option possible such as the following:

  • Utilizing as pitch asset for media and bloggers
  • Posting on infographics showcase sites
  • Sharing on own site, incorporating into blog post, sharing via e-news
  • Sharing across your own and partner organization social channels

What tips do you have to share about creating great infographics?

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About Scott Meis

SVP, Digital Content Strategy @ Weber Shandwick Seattle. Outdoors. Adventure. Travel. I dig the Foto.

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Design, Online Marketing

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