Saturday, 1 April 2017

My Useful Guide: Informative Infographics

In their simplest form infographics (or information graphics) are visual representations of data or knowledge, designed to be easily understood at a glance. Basic infographics can be seen everyday in the form of traffic signs and weather charts for example, but from a marketing perspective the graphics featuring colourful illustrations, statistics, graphs and charts are the style most utilised by businesses and organisations around the world. Sometimes with a twist of humour these visual gems are perfect for sharing on social media and online.

Although we think of infographics as modern day design elements, their history actually dates back much, much further. In this blog article we look at the origins of infographics, their advantages and give you a handful of top tips.

A brief history

Believe it or not infographics arguably date back to prehistoric times, some 40,000 years ago! Cave paintings documented animals, geography and events through imagery as a result of the absence of letters and words with Egyptian hieroglyphics offering the same.

Another case bringing us into modern history, would be Florence Nightingale in 1857 using visual data in the form of stacked bar and pie charts. This early form of infographic was presented to Queen Victoria in a bid to improve conditions in military hospitals.   

Harry Beck designed a more familiar infographic in 1933, when he created the first London Tube map. Using bold colourful lines to highlight routes and stops proved a simple but effective representation of the London underground. Instigating an important step towards the infographic design that led to the iconic tube map used by thousands everyday.

These early examples are a far cry from the typical style of infographic we see today. Rising to fame in the online world, infographics are a great way to attract attention and communicate with a wide audience.

Why are infographics so effective?

It’s thought that 90% of the information the brain receives is visual, meaning that we can process imagery 60,000 times faster than written words! We respond better to visual content and are more likely to engage with graphics than text, making infographics an effective way to get a point across. Helping us to absorb more and learn faster consequently improving our understanding of the subject in hand. Infographics can have a longer lasting effect, have great impact and persuade people to take action.

This style of graphic information can be used to communicate a wide range of topics and can help to raise awareness of issues, make comparisons, state interesting facts, emphasize points, explain how something works and primarily communicate (sometimes complicated) information. Have a look at the example below, its on oldie but a goodie outlining the stats.

Having something as visually attractive as an infographic that’s easy to share on social media is a great marketing ploy. When scrolling through long social media feeds it’s the imagery that catches your attention and holds it. Using information graphics as a marketing strategy can prove rewarding through shares and likes on social media, quickly gathering momentum among like-minded audiences.

Some top tips

1.When implementing infographics as part of your marketing scheme keep them simple. Too much information can become overwhelming.

2. Strategic white space can help keep things legible and give it structure.

3. Stick to the main points and lay it out concisely and don’t misrepresent information with overzealous graphics.

4. Pick a catchy title if you need one but stay away from too much text, let the imagery and graphic elements do the work.

What is an Infographic?