Infographics are tremendously popular these days. The rise of the social media platforms has led to these visually appealing informative items to go viral. They are currently the most shared things, according to a study done on over one million articles.
Even if it may seem that infographics are rooted in the modern, digitized world, they have been around for a long time and have had a great impact on some rather important situations throughout history. Traditionally used by marketers as a means to promote or advertise, infographics are visual displays of data. They are a quick way of delivering quite a lot of compact information without requiring too much reading.
Since they are designed to be visually compelling, the audience gets educated really fast about the subject of the infographic in a timely manner. This has actually been happening for centuries.
A history of infographics
The earliest infographics date back to the 11th century when they were used to show the way in which the planets moved across the sky. They became more popular in the 18th century when a lot more data began to be collected and thus there was more to inform about and by the 19th century infographics were widely used.
William Playfair is credited with the invention of the famous pie chart back when excel hadn’t been invented. He used the cost of wheat and wage increase to show that the general belief that the price of grains was increased and not salaries. He went on and used this type of infographics to educate the general public on economic issues.
Graphic illustration of gathered data also came in very handy when it came to epidemics. The ability to visually map the areas with most casualties helped show either that a certain water pipe could be the source or that the lack of proper sanitation caused carnage – Florence Nightingale used such a compelling image to convince Queen Victoria to speak to the Parliament to adopt sanitary protocols.
Ingredients of a good infographic
The internet has rendered infographics more popular and easier to compose than ever before. They are literally everywhere and only the ones that are truly well made manage to get the attention of their target audience and make a difference – the ultimate goal of most infographics is to act as calls to action, whether they encourage a purchase or a socially positive and responsible behavior.
For an infographic to be considered great, it not only has to inform and educate effectively, but it also has to be visually appealing. It has to catch the attention of its intended audience and compel them to act accordingly as well as share the infographic so that the message can be carried on.
If the infographic can’t take a complex subject and both simplify it and make it easy to understand, then it’s deemed week. Since this is all about design, a positive example of what an infographic should be like that is right here.
Buying an infographic for online training
If upon consideration you have found that a good infographic is needed in an online training module, one option of obtaining it is to outsource the task. There are a lot of talented freelancers with extensive knowledge both in design and in marketing and they can deliver a quality product in a timely manner.
You can either find a freelancer or a specialized company and give them the job or there are sites, like 99designs that allow you to host a contest centered around your design needs. You decide how much you want to pay, upload the details and then decide what will work best for you.
Even though outsourcing will surely have a cost, it will save a lot of time and ensure that the end product is what you wanted. It is, however, very important to establish from the beginning that specifications may change, and the freelancer should adjust to incorporate the customer’s feed-back. If it works out this can turn into a long-term professional relationship beneficial to both.
5 Tips on creating an infographic
If you feel creative and want to design your own infographic, here are a few helpful tips:
- Draw a really comprehensive design brief before you get started – it’s actually a very good idea to also do this if you choose to outsource the job. The „what” and the „why” have to be really clear in order to come up with the appropriate „how” so write all of it down and make sure it makes sense.
- Find the free app that works best for you. There are several options, such as Visage, Vizualize, Easel.ly, Piktochart, Infogr.am, Visual.ly, Visme.co or Canva. There are tutorials for each of them so it should be rather easy to get started.
- Choose a story by considering the big picture, then find the metaphor or theme that can tell it consistently. This way the viewers will be compelled to stick with the infographic until the end and see its point.
- Decide on a color scheme. This will have to be able to render the general mood you are going for. Generally, there are three main colors throughout, and then one or two accent colors. This makes a five-color scheme ideal for a sense of cohesion as well as rendering the important facts more poignant.
- Select the key points you want to highlight. The key to a powerful infographic is that people will remember a lot of information and be moved by it. However, there has to be a hierarchy of items and it’s best if you discern your top three and run with those as the main take-away of your infographic. The rule of thirds has been golden to western civilization for a long time and it’s as powerful today as ever so you can give that a shot.
Present-day digital design offers unlimited options to all those who want to use their imagination and create something unique and with great impact. Infographics are top trend of the day since they have been around and powerful for quite some time it’s safe to assume, they will be riding the popularity wave for a while.
Raluca Cristescu is a Faculty of Letters graduate with over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.