November 20, 2015
You wouldn’t write a poem to instruct users on how to use SharePoint, would you? Identifying and utilizing the correct medium directly impacts how information is communicated.
An infographic has the capacity to present information in a concise, visual and exemplary way–but it also has the capacity to confuse and obscure information. Using pre-made infographic templates can make the creation process a whole lot easier, but they can also produce some weird looking, ineffective infographics if used incorrectly.
The key is to choose the correct infographic template for the kind of information you present. Choosing the wrong template shows a lack of understanding of data visualization and storytelling. It can discredit you where a well-designed infographic would render your information more credible.
Here are some infographic template blunders to avoid:
The wrong charts or graphs
Nothing can derail a perfectly good infographic like confusing data visualization. If a template uses a pie chart but your data would be better suited to a bar graph, change it. The template is meant to guide your design, but not at the cost of cogency. Take the time to evaluate your data and decide what kind of visualization would best communicate it, in the clearest and most straight-forward way possible.
Also, make sure that your values add up logically! It’s always uncomfortable to read an infographic and find that the values in a chart add up to 250 percent. This is common sense, but many people let oversights like this slip through the cracks. Check your charts before publishing your infographic.
Respect negative! Respect negative. Respect. Negative. Space.
Sorry to come on so strong. But this is a mistake that novice infographic designers make time and time again. It’s not uncommon to come across an infographic with so much information jammed into it that it becomes an impenetrable wall of text and visuals.
If you’re using a template that doesn’t provide enough space for all of your information, you might be tempted to fill up the empty spaces with text. It can be very difficult to know what information to keep and what to cut. Paring down your text is essential, however, if you’re going to create an infographic that is easy to read. This means saving space for negative space.
Negative space is the space between objects on the page. Giving the reader pause between each point not only makes it easier for them to digest information, but it also gives each point more importance. That’s why you need to choose only the key information to include on your infographic. Look at this as an opportunity to get at the heart of your story.
Hard to read color schemes
An infographic template will likely have a nice color scheme. However, you may want to personalize it by switching up the colors. That is perfectly fine as long as you do not compromise the legibility of your text.
Here are two very basic rules that people often fail to follow: 1) do not put dark text on a dark background, 2) do not put light text on a light background. It’s essential that your text be easy to read. To do this, use either dark text on a light background or light text on a dark background.
Choose complimentary colors, like blue and orange or purple and yellow. Colors like those will be easy to read and won’t strain the eyes. Whatever background color you choose, make sure that your visuals don’t clash with it. You want your design to look polished and cohesive.
Inconsistent font style
You might be tempted to use a different font for every point. Fight that urge. Consistency is the key to a professional design.
Again, an infographic template will have consistent font style already. If you do choose to change them, just make sure that you maintain the same principles of consistency and legibility. Use one to three font styles, and only that many. For example, you could choose one font style for titles, one for subtitles and one for body text. Any more than that will appear cluttered, and clutter is one of the top things you want to avoid.
And while you’re at it, use a font that is easy to read, like Oxygen or Arial or Verdana. Avoid fonts where the letters are squished together or overly stylized, like Dancing Script.
Remember, an infographic template is just a guideline. If you get a stroke of inspiration while you’re creating your infographic, follow that idea! The goal is to communicate information in an interesting and exciting way, so look for opportunities to do just that. As long as you follow basic design principles of consistency, legibility and aesthetics, there is no reason why you can’t make an infographic template your own.
Image Credit: Pexels
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