7 Must-Read Articles for Developing Killer Infographics
Over the past two years, content has become a critical component of many B2B marketing plans. The proliferation of content marketing has brought (back) to life one of the more visually appealing forms of content: the infographic. Information graphics, or infographics, are graphic visual representations of data or knowledge. When done well, they present complex information quickly and clearly and in a visually engaging way.
Much has been written about how to design an infographic (there are even infographics about infographics). We have gone through the morass and identified seven articles that we feel provide a solid foundation for getting started. We hope you find them insightful.
1. Find the Narrative.
This article from Co.Design takes us through the process of transforming data into a visually compelling graphic. The key insight: find the narrative. Is it possible to tell an interesting story with the information at hand? Is this a story worth telling? Boring data will become a boring infographic unless you turn it into a great story – whether that is done by bringing clarity to a complex set of data, highlighting a trend, explaining a process, or supporting some kind of argument. One good litmus test: are you interested in the subject matter? Chances are, if you are interested, others will be as well.
2. The Power of the Three-Color Palette
The use (or misuse) of color can make or break your infographic. With all of the data that goes into an infographic, it’s critical that the reader’s eye easily flows down the page. Therefore, you need to select a palette that doesn’t attack the senses. This article from Smashing Magazine offers a helpful solution: stick to the rule of three, specifically three primary colors. One color (usually the lightest) should be used as the background and the other two should be used to break up the sections. Importantly, do this before you start designing, because it will help you determine how to visualize the various elements.
Read more: The Do’s and Don’ts of Infographic Design
3. First things first: Start with the Data
In this follow-up to the original article from Smashing Magazine, Nathan Yau, the author of Visualize This, makes the case (and provides some tips) for leading infographic development from a data perspective. His well-made point: data, not design or aesthetic, is the foundation of the infographic. Identify what makes your data interesting and unique and design the infographic around that.
4. How to Make Data User-Friendly
This post offers a designer’s perspective on how to make compelling and effective (read: user friendly) graphics. The examples provide concrete do’s and don’ts for infographic design.
5. Have the Right Tools at Your Disposal
Here are seven easy to use tools for creating or generating infographics. The best part – they’re free! This post gives a quick run through of each platform, ranging from simple online chart makers and tools for generating word clouds to more advanced interactive maps. No matter what your need, you will likely find at least one suits your infographic goals.
6. How (and Why) to Leverage Infographic Thinking
If finding the story for an infographic begins with the data, this article from Co.Design argues that telling the story must be lead with great design. ‘Infographic Thinking’ refers to that narrative language. It goes beyond aesthetically pleasing pictures and creates an entirely unique and engaging reading experience that promotes, you guessed it– thinking.
7. The Infographic Bible