Infographics are a fun, useful medium which are used to deliver a message by breaking down the important points into clever visualisations; using icons, fonts, and colour schemes to enhance the meaning. Most infographics are used for presenting statistics, describing processes, or contrasting and comparing ideas.
There are a few key elements to making an effective infographic which can often make them a daunting and overwhelming prospect to graphic designers. It can be much like starting to solve a jigsaw puzzle with all the tiny pieces in a huge pile. I suggest setting a timer on your clock to keep you on track with the different stages of brainstorming and designing, and keep you from over thinking.
Below are all of the stages you’ll want to cover in your brainstorming and initial design session.
Establish your target audience. Before you even begin designing your infographic, make sure you know your client’s brand and to whom they will be presenting the infographic; keep in mind your target audience’s gander, age, and location. Knowing your target audience will help you ensure your infographic will connect with the audience.
Figure out the key points of information. Whilst sometimes clients will be nice and send you the exact copy for the infographic, other times, they will just hand you an article and it will be up to you to break down the information. Get out your sketchpad and write down a summarised version of the key points of the article – make sure you include any statistics! This stage should take around 45 minutes to an hour (depending on the length of the article).
Visually interpret the information. Whilst you’re completing the previous step, you may have already begun to imagine how you’ll visualise the key points. Doodle these as soon as you think of them and make it clear which key points they relate to. This process should take 15-25 minutes, so quickly jot down or doodle whatever comes to your mind. All you’re doing at this stage is visually interpreting the details of the message.
Take a step back. You’ve been focusing on the visuals of the details, so now it’s time to focus on what the big picture should look like in regards to theme and order. You might have had an idea about the visual organisation of information after step one, but after step two – examining the details – you will be able to determine if that organisation is best. This step can be tricky as sometimes you have to rearrange the information from the original article, because the translation of information from an article to a visual format influences how the reader reads the information. Thinking of this step like a comic book page helps; find out what the overall message is – whether it’s comparing, contrasting, or listing information – and this will help you determine the layout of all the details in the article. Sketching out different layouts in your sketchbook keeps you from wasting a lot of time. Spend around 25-30 minutes on this stage.
Use design elements to help the visual flow of information. Use space on the infographic wisely. With all the statistics and icons, it’s easy for visual clutter to happen. Make sure the spacing between sections and elements is wisely divided, limit your colour palette, and use no more than two or three typefaces. While infographics should be visually appealing, they should also be practical.
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