Designing an infographic can be a difficult and research-intensive task. From all the research that is involved to making sure the design conveys the right message, some say it’s art, others would say it’s a science.
Infographic design falls somewhere between web-design, print design and data visualization and research. Let’s see what makes a great infographic, shall we?
1. Defining The Concept & Goals
Just like any other project, whether it’s web-design or print, defining goals and careful planning are the first keys to success.
Before you dive in and start researching the topic of your infographic or open up Photoshop, ask yourself this:
Are you trying to make it go viral or are you targeting to a specific crowd? What’s the ultimate goal?
Obviously if your goal is to inform people working at a big corporation, the information and design will be very different than if your goal was to make your infographic go viral on the web. Same goes with age, gender, cultural difference, location, etc… your client should be able to provide you with some guidance about this.
Then, in order to better define the concept, it is safe to assume you can use the same methods you usually use when you design a website or a brochure—planning is key.
I usually write down a list of things the project needs and then as I work on the project I’ll check items off the list as I complete them. There’s a lot of lists and tools out there, just pick the one that best suits your needs and roll with it.
2. Reliable Sources & Authority
Once you’ve settled on what the goals are and have a rough draft of a plan or checklist, it’s time to start gathering information and data.
This is probably the most important part of the whole process. It’s more important than the actual design if you ask me. If your data and information is wrong, the design itself won’t matter much. Only use reliable, authoritative, and trusted sources.
Forum posts, Yahoo Answers and quick Google searches are not reliable sources. They can certainly take you to the real authoritative sources or provide leads, but don’t rely only on them.
Tools like that should be used only to strengthen your research, do not use the information you find via those tools as is— always back everything up by crediting sources like Wikipedia, Government pages, established publications and blog, and trusted survey results for example.
3. Flow of the Data & Design
The data you chose to display on your infographic needs to flow very well. It should read effortlessly and be very easy to scan.
A lot of infographics seem to be all over the place and display one thing here and one thing there without any kind of flow. The design of the infographic needs to scream the client industry. Creating a cartoonish, fun and vibrant infographic for a bank or a financial institution probably won’t work. So keeping in mind who the client is extremely important.
For some inspiration, I would highly recommend having a good look at the portfolio of companies who specialize in infographic design such as oBizMedia or Infographic World, or blogs and publications like datavisualization.ch or Mashable.
4. Client Feedback
It’s no secret that the customer isn’t always right, but remember that their feedback is extremely valuable.
You have to remember that you got hired to design their infographic because you are the design and research expert, never forget they’re the ones who probably know the most about their company or industry though—there’s nothing wrong in asking your client for feedback and even to provide some industry-specific information or resources.
Always trust your judgment though. If something they suggest wouldn’t yield them the best result then it’s best to not do it.
Your Turn To Talk
Have you ever designed an infographic? Care to share your own tips and tricks? We’d love to hear your stories and how you go about designing infographics. Of course if there’s any resources you think would benefit the community make sure you drop a link in the comment section.