August 10, 2014
In recent years, infographics have been one of the biggest trends in online marketing. Harnessing the power of an image, an infographic takes important information about a topic and incorporates it into a work of art. Marketers have found this to be a much more effective method of presenting information than using text alone, which probably doesn't come as a surprise. After all, our brains process pictures much faster than just words.
For all the potential infographics have, many of them aren't very successful. Infographic creation is still a relatively new tool in marketing, so many businesses have not yet perfected the art of building them. There can be several reasons why an infographic may not receive much attention but the most common one may surprise you. It's not that businesses aren't trying hard enough when creating their infographics — rather, they're trying too hard.
There are many infographics out there that simply contain too much information. This makes them look murky and difficult to digest, which defeats the point of using an infographic in the first place. Just look at this infographic, which has a cool concept but is virtually unreadable. Fortunately, there are things you can do to streamline a muddled infographic. Here are some important things to consider when creating and tweaking your infographics.
Keep the Concept Simple
“Keep it simple, stupid” is an important precept to follow when creating infographics. Remember: More information won't make your infographic better — in fact, it's quite the opposite. Many marketers love to show off their knowledge of a product or service, as they have to know quite a bit about it to do their job well. If this is you, it may help to remind yourself that one of the most important speeches in American history, the Gettysburg Address, was less than two minutes long. Also keep in mind people aren't using your infographic to learn everything they can to about a topic — that's what search engines, websites and books are for.
Often the first step to keeping an infographic short and sweet is choosing the right topic. Something too broad isn't ideal, as you'll probably try to say too much. An infographic on the history of China, for example, wouldn’t be good because there's far too much information to depict in a single image. However, something covering the world’s longest walls could be interesting — you could include the Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall and even the wall Australians built to try to keep rabbits out of part of the country. This infographic, covering the largest buildings in the world, has a similar concept.
Use Only the Most Important Information
Many marketers start to create infographics by gathering all potentially relevant information on a topic. They'll then create a list of interesting or relevant facts and try to incorporate most of them into the infographic. While researching your topic is an important first step, long lists of facts do not have a place in your final product. Keeping just the most interesting or shocking facts will typically give you enough information for a good infographic. If your list of most important facts is several Word document pages, you may want to consider refocusing your topic.
Make It Easy to Follow
An infographic is as much about visual appeal as it is about good information. After all, the word “infographic” is an equal blend of the words “information” and “graphic” — accordingly; you should pay just as much attention to the design of the infographic as you to do the information. This doesn’t mean you should include images haphazardly, though. The best infographics have a design that reflects and enhances the content. To do so, your infographic should incorporate some of the basic principles artists use. Just like a painting does, your infographic should have a focal point and lines that guide a reader’s eyes through the information.
Often it is helpful to think of an infographic like a map. Looking at your infographic, will readers be able to get a gist of what you’re talking about even if they couldn’t read all the content? Does the infographic logically flow from beginning to end without any extraneous information? This infographic from Memolink on anniversary gifts is a great example of an infographic that flows well.
Creating the perfect infographic can be hard, but as long as you keep it simple you should churn out something easy to follow and understand. You may be surprised how less content can do a lot more for your marketing efforts.
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