Great content almost guarantees online success. While text, audio, and video are all great ways to develop content, there’s also the phenomenon of “big data” that begs for attention. Since consumers, readers, and almost everyone else on the web thrives on information and because data is a rich resource for knowledge, there has to be a way to present this otherwise intelligible data visually.
So, Infographics rose up to the occasion. Long-winded graphics that present incredibly useful data visually (complete with other graphic elements, data, and textual information) all crammed into a single infographic.
Infographics are a great way to show information right off a single graphic representation of data. They are also a great to disseminate content while every infographic is also a potential viral piece of content that fits right into your online marketing strategy.
Infographic design, however, was thought to be the playground for expert graphic designers backed by painstaking research. While the “research” part still remains as the crux when developing infographics, it doesn’t have to be on the expert side of graphic design. Beginners in design also have options to create infographics. Here are some ways to do it:
Understand Data Visualization
Data – created, shared, and stored – on the Internet is constantly on the rise. Most users (both end users and those who share data) find it overwhelming to present, crunch, analyze, and assimilate, visualize & present data. Therefore, infographics are a great step towards making using, sharing, and making sense of all that pertinent information.
Bloggers, business owners, and designers who’d like to create infographics cannot start without basic understanding of visual data. One great source for understanding Data Visualization is Nathan Yau’s “Visualize This: The Flowing Data Guide To Design, Visualization and Statistics”. You might also want to subscribe and read Nathan’s blog at Flowing Data.
Start with the tools
If you are a designer looking to create infographics, you’ll eventually start using graphic design software in combination with other tools such as excel spreadsheets to crate database driven infographics.
Yet, a good place to start learning how to create infographics is to actually play with tools that complete non-designers or those without any technical skills whatsoever might use.
For instance, Cindy Mock of Orion Marketing uses Piktochart and Easel.ly to create great looking infographics. Pick up one of these tools, input the data, and see how infographics are created. When you see this in action, you get a great front-and-back perspective of data presentation that you could use later when you create your own infographics from scratch.
Gather all your Infographic creation options
Pro-designers might like to use Adobe Photoshop while some others prefer other design tools to create Infographics; and you can get there eventually. Basic users without any design skills prefer web-based tools as mentioned above. As you can see, there options when it comes to the actual tools you’d be using.
As a first step, even before you jump in with loads of data and creativity, figure out your options. What else is available? How else can you create infographics? Anum Hussain of HubSpot wrote a post on how you can create infographics with something as basic as PowerPoint. Did you know that you could create Infographics from Google Docs and Infogr.am? Once you begin working with all the available avenues and tools available to create Infographics, you are in a better position to figure out your tools of choice.
You cannot come to a conclusion about the tools of choice when it comes to creating great infographics when you try just a couple of them that are available to you.
Know Your Purpose
Agreed that infographic design is different from research that goes behind every infographic. Further, to create great infographics, you’ll also need to ascertain the target audience, gather the data you want to present, and decide what exactly you’d like to communicate using your visuals. There’s a process for it although it’s not etched on stone. Matthew Scharpnick wrote out a detailed post on Net Magazine on how to create great infographics by throwing in quite a few great examples.
As the name goes, “Infographics” are designed to communicate meaningful data accurately and clearly. After you determine your intended audience, you’d work to create graphic elements while tying data wherever appropriate to make sure that you pass the message.
Here’s what’s difficult for a designer when it comes to infographics: designers aren’t necessarily great communicators. Designers focus on “graphics” and not on the actual information, which in essence, is at the crux of Infographic design. So, typically for designers, every infographic might demand a certain degree of sacrifice. Trim down on the graphic elements if they take up space that was meant for information. For infographic design, it’s the information that takes priority over visual design.
Never create an infographic because it’s known that they are great for content sharing. Much like the old wisdom goes, “Never say a thing if you don’t mean it and if your message doesn’t add any value”.
The nitty-gritty on Color, Typography, and Design
Infographics aren’t too different from other kinds of design, except that you present data in a visually appealing format. As such, the basics of design pertaining to color, typography, and general principles of design still apply. Start by taking courses on minutiae related to design. Read blog posts related to design, creativity, applied design, etc.
There are free courses everywhere or you could learn from real experts on platforms such as WizIQ and Udemy.com. Alternatively, you could also arm yourself with specific skills on web design, typography, elements of design, and even dig hundreds of books have been published already and there’s an avalanche of new eBook releases on these topics. Read, practice, and work.
All pro designers start as novices. Infographics is new and while you are at it, there’s already more coming your way: this includes video infographics, for instance. The web is always changing. Infographics are an exciting new addition to the growing list of types of content for you to create (or even specialize in, if you like). Unlike text (and much like video), infographics are also great sources of viral content, which gets a business a tremendous amount of coverage, build links (which works for search optimization), and obvious attention that’s priceless.
It’s time to dress up that data and create infographics that work. What will you create next?Design, designers, Infographic, typography