Infographics remain a valuable form of content. Learn what makes them effective and uncover how to create memorable infographics sure to drive engagement.
There once was a time, starting around 2008, when all it took to make a passable infographic was slapping together some brightly colored shapes, a jumble of buzzwords and maybe a few stats, and hitting publish.
The infographic game has evolved in recent years, though.
People are still visually motivated. Research shows that visuals help with memory retention, and that people tend to remember images better than text. This human characteristic is likely to remain unchanged for the foreseeable future.
Instead, it’s our expectations for visual information that has altered the infographic landscape. We’ve been inundated with visual information as social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest work to keep our eyeballs occupied.
This has made us more discerning as content consumers. We now demand better quality graphics and images, and expect more from brand communications. Overall, that’s a good thing. It’s helped set infographic standards, saving us from the willy-nilly ways of the aughts’ digital experimentation. But, it makes the art of making infographics more challenging for businesses, particularly those without a big marketing budget.
Still, it’s a worthy challenge to undertake. Last year, a survey by Venngage said 41.5 percent of marketers reported infographics having the highest engagement of all marketing materials.
Here are a few tips to make the best infographics that visually overloaded and digitally savvy customers crave.
Information First, Brand Second
Image via Oksana Shufrych.
Infographics are definitely a marketing tool, but that doesn’t mean your branding has to be all over it.
Take for instance this food and wine-pairing infographic by Wine Folly. The only time the brand’s name appears is as a modestly sized logo in the bottom right corner. Also check out this infographic on hacking connected cars, by autoparts vendor CJ Pony Parts. It never even mentions the brand name.
These two infographics present information that’s relevant to viewers, whether they’re customers or not, and that’s refreshing. Frequent, subtle touch points are what helps build an emotional connection between brands and customers, writes PwC: “Customer loyalty is earned by a business over time. To remain sustainable, it should be based on building an emotional connection, not a financial transaction, with the customer.”
Find the Balance Between Info and Graphics
Image via Sergey Nivens.
Recently, marketing company Siege Media looked at 1,000 of the most popular infographics and boiled down their secret sauce. Some findings:
- The most shared infographics had an average of 396 words.
- The average size of the popular infographics was 3683 pixels long by 804 pixels wide, or approximately 38×8 inches.
- Almost 73 percent of infographics had an identifiable color scheme (the most popular schemes are triadic and monochromatic). Check out our introduction to color theory here.
Clearly, a great infographic is a delicate tightrope walk. You want there to be enough information to give it value. But, if you cram in too much information and too many colors it becomes busy and unreadable. Your audience wants an easy-to-read, easy-to-follow flow of information that is relevant to their lives.
Try Out Interactive Infographics
Image via Foxy burrow.
If you want your infographic to stand out from the crowd, consider integrating some interactive components into it. This Goldman Sachs infographic is an excellent example of using dynamic elements without being overbearing or tacky.
An easier entry point to newer forms of infographics is the info-GIF. These work the same as your standard static infographic, but oftentimes animate a small element. The technique when pulled off properly can be hypnotizing and highly shareable. They’re a great solution to breathe a little life into your visual content.
If you haven’t got the time or the wherewithal to DIY, there are plenty of freelancer-for-hire platforms and agencies online that make it their business to connect customers with designers.
Experiment with Form and Function
Image via StudioByTheSea.
Keeping in mind the Siege Media results regarding size, color schemes, and word count, there is still ample opportunity to experiment. Typography in particular can add a lot of oomph to your visual materials.
Push the limits as far as you can without making the information unreadable. The sweet spot is when your typography works as a playful graphic element within your infographic. The lettering in this coffee consumerism infographic pulls that off, making it look readable, modern, and accessible.
Another way to stand out is to make bold color choices. In 2018, bright colors will carry your visual content further, but this too is a tricky balance. While bright colors can enhance your content and arrest viewers as they scroll, it can also get in the way of information presentation.
A good rule of thumb is to use bright colors for your graphics and muted colors for your text-based information. However you choose to play it, avoid placing neon text on a neon background. It strains the eyes and is difficult to read.
You can experiment with typography, color, and design in the free Shutterstock Editor tool before settling on the right combo for you.
Make Your Infographic Shareable
Image via Stock-Studio.
You don’t only want people to see your infographic, you also want them to share it. The good news is that people are likely to share visual content on social platforms. Pinterest is actually one of the more popular sites for the infographic format. That said, you should still upload your infographics to as many social platforms and online properties as you can. You can also cut your infographic up into multiple stills to use as smaller images, to help fill out your campaign’s visual assets. Share those widely, too!
Blogs and news sites are also often looking for compelling visual content. So, consider opening up the publishing rights to allow anyone to republish your infographics, with the condition of attribution and a link back to your site.
Infographics are also great for SEO, which helps bring your company up in search engine rankings. Posting your visuals far and wide helps improve visual recall and may spur viewers to share it on their own networks. As Inc. writes, “High quality infographics are especially well known for attracting organic backlinks, which help drive traffic to your site and establish your brand’s credibility in addition to providing an SEO boost.”
Do It Again!
As web browsers, we’re often hoping to find something different. As such, it’s important in your design choices to not get stuck in one lane. The current trend for visual content marketing is to mix things up.
That means mixing up design elements. One infographic can have minimalist colors, and your next, the rainbow. Try one with photos and one with illustrations. Feel free to mix and match. Thanks to modern analytics, you’ll immediately get a sense for what works and what doesn’t based on your business’s user engagement.
First and foremost, though, be patient. Like anything worth doing, it takes time to hit your stride and a playful mindset is crucial to making work that others enjoy viewing and want to share with others.
Top image via Foxy burrow.
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