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Bad infographics: we have all seen them. They feature dozens of colors, graphics, and charts you didn’t know existed. But it’s confusing to follow them. They have so many elements that you end up with more questions than answers by the time you see it all.

Companies should apply the following nine best infographic tips. Without them, they risk producing an unclear infographic that doesn’t meet their business goals.

1. Invest in original research

Investing in original research helps position your infographics as a source of reliable industry expertise. Each time a competitor, partner, or member of your audience shares your infographic, they unconsciously tell leads that your brand is worth trusting.

You need to determine the type of data you want to know where to find it. If you want to include personal stories and people’s reasoning behind a stance, invest in qualitative research methods like focus groups or interviews. While quotes take more space in your infographic than statistics, readers find them more relatable.

 

 Image showing an infographic created by Adweek. An example for infographic tips #1, investing in original research. 

Infographic by Adweek

If you want to add statistics to show trends or relationships between variables, invest in quantitative research methods like probability sampling or surveys. These results are more objective and measurable than those coming from qualitative research.

2. Confirm third-party data

When you use misleading or incorrect third-party data, you risk severing the trust between you and your customers. According to Edelman, 67% of consumers that bought products from reputable brands are willing to stop if they don’t trust them. Therefore, you should validate the veracity of third-party data before adding it to your infographics to maintain your brand’s reputation.

There are many ways to check the relevancy and integrity of third-party data.

First, check the study’s sample size. Small sample sizes don’t give an accurate view of a population because outliers can skew results. You can use SurveyMonkey’s sample size calculator to determine if your source’s sample size is big enough to provide accurate predictions.

Second, verify the source’s reputation. Personal blogs are a handy way of finding industry statistics. But they’ll never check the data with the same professionalism as a reputable database, as Statista would. If you can’t access databases, only add findings from primary sources to your infographics.

Third, understand the context behind the study. You risk making wrong assumptions when you don’t know the study’s background. Learn about its goals, research methodology, and audience. With this context, you will know if a finding is relevant to your infographic’s audience.

3. Create a brand style guide

A brand style guide is a document that defines the visual and written elements you should add to every company-made graphic. Adding the same elements helps viewers associate them with your brand and distinguish your infographics from your competitors’.

First, define your infographic’s color palette to build a brand style guide. The color scheme you use for your infographic affects how people perceive your brand. For example; infographics with blue as their primary color transmit seriousness and trust. Meanwhile, those mainly using green convey playfulness.

Second, write words and phrases you want people to associate with your brand into your brand style guide. Using a recognizable vocabulary helps viewers identify your infographics, even when someone else cuts off your logo by mistake or when viewers skim your infographic.

Third, make a note to include your company’s mascot or logo and its location. Should it be in the top left corner, or should it remain as a small watermark at the end of the infographic? Add the answer to your brand style guide so that if someone else creates an infographic, they can still include recognizable elements.

4. Target a specific audience

Viewers are more likely to share infographics discussing their specific needs and problems than ones targeting several audiences. When you include information that an audience finds valuable, you improve your chances of convincing them to buy your product or spread the word about it.

To target a specific audience, define the segment of your client base that you want to educate or persuade. Segmenting your audience will help you focus on a particular individual’s interests instead of trying to appeal to every customer. For example; if your product targets developers and writers, you can choose to only target developers in your infographic.

This Vyond-made infographic video uses language and shares information that the target audience—employees—understands.

Once you settle on an audience segment, revisit sales calls or customer profiles to discover this segment’s interests and challenges. You can then use this data to create an infographic that helps your audience solve their needs and problems.

5. Discuss a single topic

Infographics have limited space. Discussing a single topic gives you more space to cover the relevant problem in detail. You can use this space to add more examples, anecdotes, case studies, and statistics that back your topic’s overall claim or angle.

Too many topics can overwhelm the reader and make the infographic unhelpful. With so many things to focus on, there’s little time for viewers to process what they are reading.

You can center your infographic around one topic by defining your infographic’s goal and then filtering out any data that’s not supporting your goal.

 

 image of an infographic created by BCG. Example of tip #5, discuss a single topic. 

BCG’s infographic revolves entirely around how companies can better decarbonize upstream oil and gas operations.

Let’s say your goal is to prove why your company is better than your average competitor. In that case, you would add awards that you have won and comparisons of your product versus your competitors’. But you would exclude information related to your industry—even if it’s valuable— that’s not helping position your brand as the better option.

6. Emphasize important information with visual cues

Pick your elements’ sizes, colors, shapes, and positions based on their importance. For example; if chart A is more important than chart B, it should be brighter or more prominent. Following this principle reduces the odds that viewers miss your infographic’s essential data.

Some infographics help expose your brand to new leads, while others position your brand as an expert. While arranging your infographic, think about the stats more likely to support these goals. Then, use visual cues to emphasize their presence.

image example tip #6, emphasize important information with visual cues.
This Vyond-made template uses a high-contrast background to emphasize the bar chart.

Let’s say your infographic’s goal is to position your brand as an expert in one topic. In that case, you could use a more prominent shape or position for your original research findings than for third-party data. Emphasizing your original data increases viewers’ possibility of seeing it and identifying you as a trustworthy source of industry insights.

7. Follow design principles to compose your infographic

Following design principles while creating your infographic will help you make an appealing image that clearly shows your findings. Infographics with poor font, bad element alignment, and little negative space don’t encourage readers to share them, as the information is unappealing and hard to process. Excellent design makes your data more trustworthy, as it shows you are professional enough to invest in how you present information.

You can follow the alignment principle to compose your infographic. It states that groups of elements should follow a shared horizontal or vertical axis. For example; let’s say your infographic has three headers. In that case, you could position them so that their bottom portion is on top of the same invisible horizontal line.

Aligning your infographic’s elements creates a visual composition that viewers can easily follow. Once you master horizontal and vertical alignment, you can use more complex composition methods like the Golden Ratio to organize your infographic’s elements.

image of an infographic created by Designmantic. En example for tip #7, follow design principles to compose your infographic.
Designmantic aligned every text box, list number, and icon box.

Another element to consider while composing your infographic is negative space, the area between and around your elements. The more elements in your infographic, the closer each graphic or text will be to each other. Infographics crammed with data are unappealing and unclear because viewers don’t know where to look. So, remove any visual element that isn’t 100% necessary to cover your topic.

8. Use metaphors to simplify complex information

Some statistics can be unrelatable or complex. You can add a visual or written metaphor next to these findings so that viewers can understand what you’re trying to say. Without a metaphor to visualize complex data, viewers will struggle to find value in your infographic.

To find confusing areas in your infographic, look through your third-party and original data and search for findings that your audience would have difficulty understanding. If you can’t find any, show the data you’ll use to a colleague outside your department. Their lack of familiarity with your work allows them to spot complex data.

Next, think of metaphors that could simplify this data. A character leaving a city through a train station to depict an employee’s departure? A ladder with labeled steps symbolizing your company’s progress toward a given goal? Adding visual metaphors will make your infographic more engaging without reducing the significance of your findings.

9. Measure your infographic’s impact

Tracking the impact and performance of your infographic enables you to see how readers are reacting to the information you are sharing. You can see the areas they skim, where they focus, and the part of the infographic readers see before they leave. Knowing this data allows you to improve existing or future infographics that better engage your target audience.

You can use website heatmap tools to see how readers interact with infographics from your website. Tools, like Hotjar’s, record website sessions to show where users are scrolling, clicking, or leaving.

You can use this data to A/B test various versions of your infographic. For example; suppose people are leaving before seeing a vital statistic. In this case, you can test how users respond to an infographic version where this statistic is larger, shown earlier, or uses a color that contrasts more.

Social media metrics also provide valuable data to make your infographics more helpful for viewers and profitable for your company. For example; an infographic with a low share count could mean that you are presenting it to the wrong audience. You could test this hypothesis by posting your infographic on a different platform and seeing if it performs better. If it does, you can modify your distribution strategy and raise your odds of attracting clients or a fan base.

 

Create a video infographic for your brand

Video infographics carry the same benefits as static ones. But they also benefit from using music, visual effects, and movement to engage viewers and drive their attention to essential data.

You can create video infographics using Vyond, a web-based animation software. Our template library has pre-designed stories, infographics, and charts that you can edit to present your data how you want, but without the need to start from scratch.

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