In a presentation, tables and charts can be dangerous. Use too many, and you’re likely to leave your audience bored, tired or confused.
Infographics can help solve this problem. When executed well, an infographic can turn complex data into a story that’s entertaining and easy to understand. Here are some tips on how to design the ideal infographic — one that’s clever, creative and clearly gets your message across.
Study the content carefully
Resist the temptation to start designing your infographic before you thoroughly understand the content it contains. Study all data, charts, graphics and copy closely. Get a firm grasp on the narrative you want to tell and how you want to tell it. If you’re dealing with a particularly complex topic, it’s a good idea to contact a subject matter expert — or the person that supplied your data — and talk through some ideas for presenting the information.
Use scale to communicate
Our brains are remarkably adept at absorbing and analyzing visual information. In an infographic, you can use that ability to your advantage. For example, if you have a data point that’s three times larger than another data point, make the distinction visible by using a font size that’s three times as large. You’ll get your point across faster than if you were to only use words.
Create a visual hierarchy
Establishing a visual hierarchy within an infographic will make it easy for your audience to parse through data and see the big picture. Use scale, brightness, color and position to assign prominence to different pieces of information and guide the eye of your viewer from start to finish. If you don’t do this, your viewer is likely to get lost in a sea of information.
Apply color strategically
Color can serve as a powerful tool for differentiating information — but it needs to be wielded carefully. Use too many colors, and you’ll create visual noise that confuses the viewer. Often, it’s best to start with a restricted palette and then use a splash of color to establish a focal point or bring attention to a particular point. You can use different hues, but just be deliberate in your choices.
Say more with less
Too much text in an infographic is a turn off for your viewer. Try to distill copy down to its most basic essence. For example, instead of writing out the months of the year, you might turn them into three-letter abbreviations. That said, beware of using too many acronyms or industry jargon. The goal is make your viewer understand, at a glance, what you’re trying to say.