So you want to produce an infographic. Where do you start?
Before beginning any visual elements of design, it’s important to figure out the most effective and appropriate way to present your specific information. Not all information is well-suited to being worked into an infographic – as we say often here on The Feed, purpose trumps all else, so it’s important not to create an infographic simply because you’ve been told they’re effective.
However, there are countless ways to visually present data of any and all kinds. Combine this flexibility with a healthy dose of creativity, and we’re confident you can make infographics work for you.
Here are some of the various ways you might wish to present your information to make the biggest – and longest lasting – impact on the viewer.
Which style should you go for?
Use it to portray data over spatial contexts
Maps are quickly and easily recognisable by all. This familiarity makes the format a good option for anyone wanting their graphic to be decipherable at a glance. This map doesn’t always need to be geographical or real; you could use the idea of a drive through town, for example, as a way to represent various pit-stops on the creative process (as Virus Comics did with their fun infographic).
Use it to convey change or progress over time
This is another format that people intuitively understand – one side represents backwards in time, and the other forwards. If you’re trying to illustrate temporal data, say about the progress of your company or maybe how the Hong Kong MTR network has grown over time, a timeline might be the most appropriate option for you.
Use it to emphasise something’s relative characteristics
Very few things are absolute. Most things exist somewhere along a scale, making this format a very adaptable and flexible one. However, it’s important to note that we tend to interpret up-down and left-right scales in particular ways, so beware of inadvertently implying something with your design (for example, something towards the top of a vertical scale might be perceived as being better or hierarchically above something lower).
Use it to highlight areas of difference and crossover
These are commonly used in data illustration. They’re a quick, simple, and effective way of showing where various elements agree or overlap, and where they disagree or diverge. However, it’s not the best option if you want to compare quite a few things, as it can get crowded due to the spacing inherent in its design.
Example: Stephen Wildish’s The Ultimate Santa
Use it to take the viewer on a real-time journey through decision-making
Flowcharts – or ‘decision trees’ – are an excellent choice for anyone wishing to carry the viewer through a particular thought process, or to emphasise that there are various ways to achieve the same end goal. They’re especially good carriers of humour, so are a good option for light-hearted infographics.
Need help choosing the right format for you? Please don’t hesitate to contact us!