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ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated

Infographic Design 101: Learn How to Tell a Story With Data


Among the many ways to tell a story or convey information is the use of infographics. An infographic is an image that transforms data from an article, report, or table into a visual representation that can help your audience understand and get more excited about the information you are sharing.

Infographics are a popular method to convey ideas in lectures, on web sites, and in the workplace. An infographic story incorporates text, data, and visuals, all of which work together to help your readers comprehend your message. They can create interest through color, shake up the text with visual interest, and even incorporate a little humor through illustrations.

To determine which kind of infographic is right for you, consider the elements below:

Who is your audience?

Consider the people who will be viewing and be interested in the data. Are you appealing to students? Keep your info simple, engaging, and informative. Is your targeted audience your colleagues in the office? Focus on clear and concentrated information. Will general Internet users be accessing your image? Ensure that your infographic grabs viewers' attention and delivers a solid source of data.

What is your objective?

Are you marketing a product or service? Set the tone of your infographic to match the attitude you'd like to set with your images and text. If your message is fun and insightful, keep the images and text bright and cheery. Conversely, if you'd like to maintain a tone of warning, create a format that matches your message.

Creating your Infographic

An infographic uses minimal text; the graphics are what shine in your infographic. Even if you have the best, most informed data in all the land, not everyone is going to read it, and that's not effective in terms of communication. The infographic is a great way to disseminate your info. The first step in creating an engaging infographic is compressing your message into digestible pieces.

Less is certainly more when it comes to text. Let's say you're working from an article about wellness in the workplace that is about 1000 words. Try to remove the filler and fluff and reduce your article into 250-300 words of text that includes only the most important points. Do this by reading through the text and highlighting the most important and informative items. If you're struggling with this task, imagine that you're trying to summarize your article for a friend; what would you include in your summary?

In our example on workplace wellness, you'll want to convey the reason your audience needs this information: many people feel burned out at work. Why is this important? Stress leads to sick days, which cost companies money. What can companies do about this? They can incorporate elements that help workers feel more active and fulfilled, etc.

Once you've identified the important points, split up your text into bullet points. This is a good step firstly because it enables you to review your ideas without being caught up in transitions, and it also helps you to see if you have any redundancies within your points. Secondly, it will help you to establish some visual hierarchy. Visual hierarchy is the idea that when we see things on a page, we see some things as more prominent than others, and they jump out at us more significantly. When you identify your hierarchy, you can organize your data into an order and progression of ideas that you want to convey through your infographic. From here, you can start to formulate how you want your infographic to look.

Now you're ready to determine your sequence of information. When working out your sequence, pay attention to how your information relates to the other ideas within the section. Identify how to order the big pieces of information in your image. Does this info belong in a list? Is there an obvious place to put in a picture? Do the ideas flow one after another or do they need to split into two (or more) avenues of content? Organize your content in a way that makes sense to you and your audience. It can be helpful to create a table to organize your thoughts.

Now, create a title that expresses the main idea. This should include (at least at first!) 1-3 sentences that present the main idea of the infographic. You can condense this later if needed. Next, produce section headers that enable viewers to skim through the message and find ideas that interest them. Make these headers descriptive and informative. Lastly, list the body text, which explains the section subjects and provides the meat of the information provided. Once you have a strong, organized summary, now you can start creating your infographic!

You have a couple of options available for getting started: you can create your infographic from scratch using an infographic editor, or you can input your text into a premade template.

Creating your infographic from scratch

Editor programs enable you to paste your text into the program and bring your ideas to life exactly as you picture them. When using an infographic editor, you can start working with your text on your blank canvas. Make sure to center your elements in place to create symmetry. Maintain your visual hierarchy and organize your most important texts to highlight them first. Use shapes and borders to make everything look pretty and nice and to pull together related ideas. Use lines and arrows to connect elements and draw the viewer's eye to follow your line of logic. They can also create a sense of progression and maintain an information flow. Consider where you want to add elements like boxes or shapes to provide context or clarify relationships between ideas.

  • Polish and style: When your text is laid out, you can play with fonts and sizes. Try to stick with just a couple of fonts to achieve coherence. Keep the background a neutral color and use highly saturated, bright colors to highlight your visual items and main text.
  • Add icons: An icon is a very simple visual representation of a widely recognized concept. You can find these simplified symbols on cell phone apps for settings or telephone or in public spaces to indicate bathrooms or food centers. Within your infographic, you use icons to indicate ideas and illustrate your points. Infographic creators can use a bunch of icons lined up together to form a visually interesting graph to indicate percentages and other statistics. Use of icons can help your audience identify the specific information he or she seeks and can help make the infographic engaging and attractive.

Here's an example:

Infographic Example
A finished infographic using our example on workplace wellness.

Creating an Infographic Using a Template

If starting from scratch is too intimidating for you, there are lots of templates out there to help you input your text into a visual representation.

Venngage provides several template options for you to choose from that can fit the type of infographic you want to create. Choose something that fits your stylistic preferences and the structure of your text. Many people focus too heavily on style and not enough on structure. Don't just pick something that looks nice; it should also fit with the data you are portraying.

Venngage categorizes its templates to help you find one that works with the information you are trying to convey. It has several options, so you're bound to find one that fits your specific purpose.

  • Statistical templates include those infographics that tell a story using numbers and data. Informational templates offer more information and facts. Infographics of this type are usually more text heavy.
  • Timeline templates map a story or process through time using a line with different points indicating specific time points.
  • Process infographics outline a process using well-defined steps. Process images are similar to timeline graphics, although they offer some different options and pathways as opposed to a linear path.
  • Comparison images help viewers choose between two or more options. The comparison type is often rather text heavy and provides a more visually appealing version of a table.

In addition to the categories listed above, you can select infographics specifically designed for flyers, invitations, or coupons. Once you have the right template, you can paste your text into the template and customize it to your needs and preferences.

Finally, when you're all done creating your infographic, Venngage offers several options that enable you to download your infographic in various formats or to share your image directly with your team.

Infographics offer an engaging and visually appealing way to communicate your message to your audience, and the design options are wide-ranging and virtually limitless. With the template and editor program options available, it's never been easier to deliver your message to your target audience.

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