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Effective Infographics: Home

What is an Infographic?

"Infographics use striking, engaging visuals to communicate information quickly and clearly." - Venngage

Guidelines for Effective Infographics

  Find a story

An infographic isn't just a bunch of data on one piece of paper. In every set of data, there's a story. Infographics use data to tell that story in a compelling, visual manner. Before you begin designing your infographic, think of the story you are trying to tell. Ask yourself:

  • What is the main message you want to convey?
  • What's the "hook"? What is the most compelling fact or figure?
  • What's the narrative? What information/figures tell your story and how do they flow together? How are they organized?

  Create an infographic outline

Before diving into your design, create an infographic outline. In your outline, include your headers, data, and any design details you don't want to forget. Be aware of visual elements, like arrows, lines, or color schemes, that can be used to lead the viewer's eye through your narrative.

 Write a compelling title

Come up with a title that is catchy and descriptive. Readers should get a sense of what the information will be, to engage them and make them want to read further.

Choose the best chart types for your data

If your goal is to inform your viewer of a statistic, a donut chart, pictograph or even just the number is appropriate. To compare data, use a bar, bubble, or pie chart. You might also use a treemap or a word cloud. To show change over time, use a line, area or map chart or a timeline. To show relationships between datasets, use a scatter plot. Finally, to organize information, use a list, flow chart, venn diagram, concept map or put the data in a simple table. This graphic shows examples of the types of charts mentioned above.

Plan!

Draw a storyboard by hand (even if you have to use stick figures and little blobs that you label so others can tell what they are). This allows you to determine what sorts of images, icons and text you need to include and what layout looks most pleasing. Once you have a hand drawn storyboard, use a tool like Adobe Color (https://color.adobe.com/create) to choose a color palette and plan what colors to use in your design. Make sure your palette has 3-5 contrasting colors - base color(s) and a highlight color, at least. Use colored pencils or even crayons to color in your storyboard to see if you like your color palette. (Pro Tip: make photocopies of your story board before coloring it in case you want to try multiple color palettes).

 Symmetrical or asymmetrical balance?

Symmetrical balance is when each aspect of the infographic has equal weight. This layout is effective in a comparison infographic or an infographic that shows linear progression. Asymmetrical balance gives more weight to certain areas of the infographic. The more weighted areas have more visual importance. A good way to create your symmetrical or asymmetrical balance is by dividing your infographic using blocks of color. You can use light/dark values of the same color (ex. light and dark blue) or you can use contrasting colors. When using contrasting colors, brighter colors, like red, orange or yellow, should carry the most weight and contain the most important information.

 Use royalty-free images

When you decide on which image and icons to use, make sure you find examples that are not copyrighted. Good free sources are: https://pixabay.com/ and https://unsplash.com/

Be consistent!

If you start out using colored-in icons, don't throw in a random line-art icon or picture. If you start out using blue line-art icons, don't throw in a random red icon just because that's the only free version you could find. (Use the red icon if that data should stand out from all the rest).

Negative space in your infographic design

Negative space is the blank space surrounding objects in a design. If your infographic design is too crowded, it can overwhelm readers and make it difficult to read the information. One element that can visually clutter an infographic is the over-use of photographs. Use photographs sparingly; choose photographs with common color palettes; or make photographs transparent background images to avoid this problem.

  Use appropriate fonts

Some fonts are academic/business-like/professional. Some are fun. Choose wisely to keep the focus on your message. Also, don't use more than two fonts. Use a decorative font or font colors to call attention to important, headline items. Use plainer fonts for bodies of text. You can read tips for choosing a font here: Selecting Type for Text

Types of Charts

All these charts and graphs can be created using Excel or Power Point.

Tools to Create Infographics

Tools to Create Motion Graphics

Infographics and Accessibility

If the information you are trying to convey is important enough to put into an infographic, it is important enough that everyone should be able to access the information. The problem with that is: because infographics are visual material, they are fundamentally not accessible to users with visual or cognitive disabilities. There are ways to make your infographic accessible. A good website to help with that is:

The CSUN Universal Design Center

 

Examples of Effective Infographics

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