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Infographics 101

Infographics 101

With today’s society being so visually focused, infographics are a great way to share your company’s knowledge, products, and services with the rest of the world. In essence, they allow you to tell your story or share your goods in a way that is simple, easy-to-understand, and appealing to your audiences’ eyes. However, they can also cause a little bit (or a lot) of anxiety if you’ve never done them before.

In fact, I remember sitting and staring at the first infographic I was contracted to do for a ghost-client and thinking, what did I get myself into? I wondered how I was ever going to take the message that needed to be portrayed and put it into graphic form.

Since I had never done it before and I wanted to make my client as happy as possible, I conducted some research. And some more research. And some more research. I wasn’t going to stop learning about the art of infographics until I felt comfortable enough to devise one that made my client happy. Fortunately, that is exactly what happened and I got rave reviews.

So, if you want to devise your own infographics and get good reviews from your viewers, let me condense everything I learned into four main categories or points.

Think In Terms of Pictures

In order to create an infographic that people will actually stop what they are doing to look at, you have to be able to think in terms of pictures. Admittedly, this was kind of hard for me being a freelance writer who earns a living with words, but I did discover that thinking graphically can be fun as well.

Simply imagine that you are trying to relay a message to someone that doesn’t speak your language. What images and pictures and graphs could you use to get your point across without ever having to say a word?

Learn to Tell a Story

Another key point when devising a top-notch infographic is to use it to tell a story. In a TED Talk delivered by Andrew Stanton, the Pixar screenwriter, producer, and director behind movies like Finding Nemo, John Carter, and Toy Story talks at great length about what it takes to tell a great story. He says:

“Storytelling is joke telling. It’s knowing your punchline. Your ending. Knowing that everything you’re saying, from the first sentence to the last, is leading to a singular goal.”

So, think about that when creating your infographic. Think about what story you want to tell and what your goal is. In fact, the corresponding TED Blog has a great infographic titled The Clues to a Great Story that shares Stanton’s key elements of a great story, from making the audience care to delighting them so that, for one brief moment in time, they have totally forgotten about their life and are totally engrossed in the story. Your story.

Figure Out Your Layout

The next thing you want to think about when developing an infographic that has multiple pieces and parts, is your layout. Strive to pick borders and headlines that will help break up the sections so that they are visually separate but still part of the same theme.

In her piece titled The Do’s and Don’ts of Infographic Design, author Amy Balliett talks about making sure your hook—the one thing “that makes the viewer say “A-ha!”—is placed in the infographic’s center or end. Both of these spots are great for helping it stand out, making the viewer notice it even more.

Use Color and Fonts to Your Advantage

Finally, just as when you are designing any other marketing product, the colors and fonts you choose to use in your infographic can either magnetize or repel your target audience. Regarding color, Designmatic has created an infographic titled The 10 Commandments of Color Theory which offers pieces of color-based advice such as knowing what colors signify (like red means love, energy, and intensity whereas blue means stability and trust), and knowing which hues and tones work where.

And although your infographic is largely picture-based, the font you choose for your headings, labels, and explanations matters too. Therefore, Designmatic offers yet another infographic titled The 10 Commandments of Typography. This one shares helpful information such as which fonts can be combined and which ones cannot, and even spells out which ones to avoid entirely.

Address these four areas when creating your infographic and it will be better because of it. And if you’ve already done your own infographic, what pointers do you have to offer other small business owners looking to do the same? Share your knowledge and experience in the comment section below so they can learn too!

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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.