Tools and Tips for Creating the Best Infographics
Which are the elements of a good infographic? I have been fascinated by infographics for a while, then I thought I would like to try my hand and create one myself. Even if I am not exactly a visual person, I am a great fun of the written word primarily, infographics are the exception of the rule in my case. I am not a professional designer, I am just a person with a sharp aesthetics sense. Back to the initial question, let’s explore a bit.
All infographic makers preach that their tool helps you build an infographic in 15-30 min, well, this is an exaggeration, only if you want to gather some elements or you are just referring to the final stage of putting together the design, otherwise is far from being that simple.
In my adventure of finding a good infographics maker I tested several apps and here is what I discovered:
Visme is a reliable tool to create the infographic you desire. There is a decent collection of templates from which you can pick up one that fits your taste, or you can create your own from scratch. You have the option to download for free the infographic created at a decent resolution.
Their distinctive advantage is the possibility to insert animations and make interactive infographics. If you share your infographic as URL your visitors will be able to see these animations.
Canva is among the most popular tools for design, if you are not a professional designer. Among its capabilities counts infographic designing. They put at your disposal a large collection of infographics, the largest among the applications I tested, a plethora of fonts and more than one million images. It has a well-organized and intuitive interface. You have the possibility to download your work in several formats or share it.
Piktochart is also a good tool to use for your infographic, it has a rich collection of templates to choose from, updated weekly. You can create your own infographic from scratch or use built in blocks, icons, charts, maps and an extended selection of photos. You can download your creation as PDF or embed it into your site or as slide-show.
And besides some good tools, I also came up on one that succeeded the exploit of offering me one of the most unimpressive user experiences I had in years. I refer to Venngage, despite of having a decent templates collection, they provide some poor client service and use some misleading advertising. They claim it’s free to test their services, when in fact it’s not, it’s impossible to export or share an infographic, if you don’t have a paid subscription. And they also have various limitations, like the number of items you can upload. All in one, a tool I will not try again any time soon.
That our brains process better images, it’s not a secret any more. And this is one of the reasons that explains the success of infographics, as they are visually interesting content marketing pieces that interpret in a simple and digestible manner, complex concepts or data sustained facts. “Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don't.” says HubSpot. It’s a differentiation element that most often stands out.
Here is an infographic that reveals why infographics work.
Anyway, simply gathering together some data and some images will not guarantee the success of your infographic. There is more than that. There are some tips, some steps to create an infographic that you should carefully follow, to see valuable results and return on investment.
Define the Target Audience for Your Infographic
To obtain the best possible results from your infographic, make it specific, tailored and personalized on your buyer personas interests and needs. Your infographic should be relevant for your target segment, not for the whole world.
The highest value leads, the highest traction, attention and even virality, will be generated by your target audience. Conceive a creative format that will resonate with your audience.
* Target your audience
Define the Topic, the Subject of Your Infographic
Choose a topic that resonates with your audience, that raise her interest. If it’s possible to be a trending story even better.
Your infographic should have a compelling central idea, be coherent and attention grabbing from the very beginning. Its primary purpose is to educate and inspire.
* Define the story style of your infographic – serious, surprising, funny, exploratory
* Insert storytelling that evokes emotions, not just numbers and data
* Keep just the relevant data and information
The Power is Hidden in the Headline
The headline makes and breaks. If your headline is not powerful enough, your infographic won’t be viewed. As simple as that. In fact, your title should be brilliant, or close to.
* Clearly describes the topic of the infographic
* Is eye catching and interesting.
* Easy to understand and under 70 characters length.
Match an Appropriate Infographic Template
The template, the format you choose for your infographic needs to be a fit for its idea and story. And should help you adequately convey the main idea to your audience. Infographic makers offer a variety of customizable templates, take your time and choose one that best match your infographic story. If you want to help your readers answer a certain question by offering various options, you will choose a flowchart not a “how to” template.
* Do your homework and check the theory if you are a beginner. Take a look at a types of infographics presentation.
* The template picked, its design, has to match the story you want to tell. If your infographic speaks about great achievements, having a dark crusty background is not exactly the best option.
* Personalize the template you choose according to the purpose of your infographic
Gather and Verify the Accuracy of Your Data
The major advantage of infographics is that they present data and numbers in an attractive and interesting way. If your infographic presents many numbers and figures, it worth to double check them.
* Use reliable, authoritative and up to date sources for your data
* Check statistics on several sources
* Present the numbers and data in an organized manner
Aim for Simplicity
As always less is more. A minimalist approach is most often the best way to create your infographic. The scope of infographics is to stylize complex ideas into simple visuals. So, just keep it succinct if you want to impress, focus on just one point without confusing concepts, jargon, long text or loads of data.
* Use short, straightforward sentences or bullet points
* Use just the most relevant data
* Highlight the most important points, make it skimmable
Aim for Visual
Infographic means an emphasis on visual pizazz. Don’t clutter it with too much text. Find the right balance between the two, but keep the written info to the minimum. Embed your infographic with attention grabbing images to make your data more interesting and engaging.
* Infographic means primarily visual, keep it like that
Aim for Legibility
An infographic is a sublimation of best practices in design. Negative space is important for the balance of your infographic layout. Effective infographic design is fluent and pleasant for the eye, not a noisy conglomerate of visuals.
* Balance the visuals with the negative space to efficiently highlight your message
* Choose one color scheme with a few colors and keep it that way
* Consider minimizing the number of fonts used, one maximum two should be enough
Aim for Fluency
An effective infographic matches perfectly the design and the cognitive information. They must flow and combine harmoniously to convey the fluence of the infographic and smoothly drive the viewer through the thought process. The best infographics tell a good story, completed by a great graphic design.
* Watch out the congruency of the information and design, their fluency
Consider Making Your Infographics Interactive
Visuals are an essential learning tool, no doubts about that. But it’s also true that kinetic learning is more powerful, human retain better while executing an activity. Thus, adding interactivity to your infographic should increase its effectiveness. It may offer control to the user and provoke imagination in ways that a static infographic is just not capable of.
Add scrolling effects to spice up the users’ experience and together with animations to engage them further. This interactive infographic is a great example. Other options to make users involve and participate are to insert roll-overs or clicks to discover supplementary information. Or to insert their own data, like in this already famous infographic comparing your revenues to those of John Paulson. It’s a great infographic idea, and also great to destroy your day, duh! (Do yourself a favor and don’t try it when you have a bad day.)
* Insert scrolling effects
* Insert animations
* Insert roll-overs
Size and Length Matter, so, Keep an Eye On
Infographics during the publishing process might suffer resizing, verify that the readability is not damaged. The smallest fonts need to be visible without effort.
Infographics are meant to be long, but too long means losing your audience on the way. Users might have a slow connection, and a heavy file translates into a poor user experience.
* Limit the length to maximum 8000 pixels
* Limit total size to 1,5 MB
* Limit the width to 600 pixels
If you are relying heavily on data in your infographic, citing sources is a must. It will generate trust and authority to your infographic. You can cite the sources at the end of the infographic or even within its body if that doesn’t disturb the general flow.
Promote and Share Your Infographic
Infographics don’t become viral and popular by default, they need promotion. You know the dictum a piece of content marketing means 20% creation and 80 % promotion, infographics are no exception. As consequence you need to share your infographic on social media, data says infographics are three times more shared on social media platforms than other content marketing types. Publish it on your site, insert social sharing buttons, reach influencers in your niche and ask them to spread the word, ask your audience to share it.
* Embed code to encourage sharing
* Insert social media buttons
* Include parts of your infographics in other social media posts
* Publish it on specialized platforms for infographics: Visual.ly, Canva Social Stream
Since visual content marketing is gaining momentum, infographics are still raising interest and bringing results. Not to mention they are a great way to stand out and engage your audience.
And these days is really possible to create outstanding infographics without being a designer, just by using a reliable infographic maker tool and respecting the tips listed above. Have you discovered any other tips or tools that you would like to share?