What is an infographic? It is a visual depiction of data or information that conveys its message clearly and quickly in a creative way. It is often poster-like, relying on images more than words, and has an intuitive flow.
The growth and success of infographics in recent years can be attributed, among other things, to two important facts. First, in today’s world we are inundated with information. Second, the majority of us are visual learners. By presenting information visually in an appealing way, infographics have advantages over text and traditional graph presentations.
One of my favorite examples is 13 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Infographics designed by Neomam Studios.
Not only is it a good example of a successful infographic, but it happens to be instructive about infographics. “Thirteen Reasons” was selected by Piktochart.com as one of the Top 10 Best Infographics of 2013.
It fits my criteria for a successful infographic, namely it:
- Captures your attention
- Quickly and clearly makes its point(s)
- Presents facts and data fairly and accurately
- Holds your attention through the entire message
- Is share worthy & easy to share
Let’s look at each criterion.
Captures Your Attention. To draw attention, the infographic needs to be attractive and/or unique in its context. If in a predominantly text environment, the mere fact of using one or more colorful images may be enough to draw attention. If competing with other graphics or infographics, its clarity or simplicity may give it an advantage. Is there consistency in elements such as graphic style, color scheme, and use of type? Consistency can simplify a presentation, making it more appealing.
Makes Its Point(s) Quickly and Clearly. The elements used should help the reader not only understand but also visualize the data. Visualization not only speeds comprehension but aids with retention. The use of images and text should support each other. While the graphics typically convey the big picture, they may need to be refined by text to set up the context or pinpoint precise details. Consistency, mentioned previously, plays a role in helping the various elements to do their job efficiently.
Presents Facts and Data Fairly and Accurately. In my mind, a good infographic represents the facts fairly, without distortion. It also reveals the source of data or facts to the reader. After all, credibility is important for success.
Holds Your Attention. To be successful, the infographic must hold the reader’s attention until the message is extracted. To do that, it must be engaging. If you want to keep the readers to the end, it cannot be too complex or unduly lengthy.
Share-worthy and Easy to Share. While an infographic can be successful if just one reader gets the message, some use infographics for their potential to be shared. If you’ve done well with the previous criteria, it is likely that your infographic will be considered worthy of sharing. You can make it easy to share by providing share buttons.
Free Tools to Create Your Own Infographic
If you want to try your hand at creating your own infographics, there are tools available for free. Even the fee versions of these tools are a lot cheaper than buying high-end infographic software or hiring an expert. These are only a few of them: