- By Neil Cary
- Published 01/20/2012
The name “Infographic” in itself provides the clue to the best Infographic designs. Since they combine hard data with creative presentation of graphics, it is necessary to blend the analytical with the creative . Of course many Infographics are produced by graphic designers, and to that extent the creative element of the designs should be visually impressive. But, if the analytical element of infographics are neglected, you end up with not an infographic, but a picture. On the other end of the spectrum, neglecting the creative will result in an accurate but potentially uninteresting collection of data. Getting the balance right isn’t easy.
In most cases we have conducted a survey and are asked to produce an Infographic as part of the outputs. In many ways that is an easier exercise, because the analysts are closer to the data. But in other cases we have not been involved in collecting the data, and are less familiar with it. In both scenarios, our approach is to understand the data and find compelling ways to express an accurate representation of a larger or discrete subset of data. In short, Insight + Creativity = Infographic.
Our experience of creating Infographics points to a number of lessons. Here’s our list of top do’s and don’ts.
DO 1) Consider where it’s going as this will inform the shape, Quality etc Having thought through where the infographic will be placed will determine the parameters of the design, such as its size and resolution of graphics. For example, infographics intended to go on a website can be much longer and pack in much more data than if they were appearing in a publication. 2) Base it on a large enough data set, an infographic without any info is just a graphic If you want an infographic the data is crucial. Without data, there is no point in trying to pretend its an infographic. 3) Be clear what story you want to tell, what’s the conclusion Its important to have done the analysis first to know what your story is. There isn’t room in an infographic to explore a series of unrelated insights – it should be a coherent representation of the story. 4) Make sure your idea is easy to understand As well as having a clear story, it needs to be clear and easy to understand. 5) Be clear on any colour pallet and fonts requirements
If you have a preconceived design ideas, either in terms of particular fonts or styles of infographic it’s a good idea to share them early on in the design process.
1) Don’t be too prescriptive While there is some merit in scoping at a broad level what should be included in the infographic, its important not to be so prescriptive that it stifles the flexibility of the designer to express and interpret the data. 2) Get too wedded to replicating an existing graphic While providing examples of other graphics or infographics can be useful for the designer, it isn’t desirable to slavishly follow another graphic precisely for two reasons. Firstly, it may be that the data simply doesn’t lend itself to the graphical idea in mind. Secondly, its not a good thing to be seen to copy or clone another design. 3) Use data that is unreliable, not credible or just plain wrong
Using bad data is arguably worse than using no data!
How to write a creative brief for an infographic
When Redshift design an infographic we create a plan before we start. It doesn’t need to be a formal plan, but we do need to know some crucial pieces of information, listed below.
Who is commissioning it? Where is it going? Who will read it? What is it being used to achieve?
It needs to be something short, relevant, interesting, and creative.
3) Graphic Ideas
We need to consider the shape, colour, image, feel – in terms of words and pictures.
We need to agree or define fonts, logos, and pallets.
This is REALLY IMPORTANT! Too much rather than too little is always better. Tell us what’s Key to put in, and give us anything else as well!
All infographics need a central message or story. This is especially true of PR related infographics which is supporting a campaign.
Always state your source, i.e. survey conducted by Redshift, 2000 interviews 2011
About the Author: Neil Cary is a director of Redshift Research, a leading UK market research company.