Infographics are graphic representations of data designed to be understood from the get-go. They are designed to grab your viewers’ attention quickly and easily. While there is no right or wrong way of making an infographic, this post explores four elements that will help you get the most out of creating your visual story.
Identify Your Topic
The Bauhaus movement is famous for preaching the form follows function philosophy. This concept certainly applies when making your infographic. Rather than head diving for eye candy and nice visual displays, we want to first identify the focus or topic we want to focus on.
The reason for this is because the message is going to give drive to make a compelling story. If you’re not sure what topic to choose or where to start, try the following:
- Gather your team and write down as many ideas as you in post-its.
- Then cluster all ideas together on a board and see if you can spot any patterns
- Categorize the ideas into themes.
- Let everyone vote for their favorite idea. You don’t necessarily have to go with one from the get go, but can do a series of voting eliminating the unwanted ideas until you get to one that everyone can agree with.
Once you have the topic identified you need to identify data sources and understand the data. Flowing data has an amazing resource library for data.
The data is going to help us drive the story. Therefore, instead of focusing on the entirety of the data, we are going to look at key data points that will drive the story.
Visualize The Story
The next step is designing the structure of the story. Using pencil and paper will help give an idea of how the story is going to look like. This helps for various reasons. When making the infographic you have something to reference to. Moreover, it gives you an opportunity to feel the story out before committing to a final version. This gives room for iterations and making necessary adjustments along the way.
So now that we have the challenge identified, and have the data source with key areas that we want to focus on, and have a basic idea of how we want it to look like, the next step is combining all of these elements together. We want to give expression to the data by incorporating it into the page.
Get Someone Else’s Perspective!
This part is all about getting feedback. Getting someone else’s perspective will help uncover things that you may have missed along the way and lets you test your story before sharing it out with others. Asking questions like “what strikes you first?” “is there anything difficult to understand?” “what is the thing that stands out the most” will let you get someone else’s perspective. It’s best to get as much feedback as possible so having different perspectives will let you get a more rounded perspective on what you are presenting.
When finalizing your infographic you want to make sure you are citing your sources. Revise and continue to revise until you are ready to publish. While there are many great examples of infographics on the web, remember that the key to making a great infographic is to practice.