infographic

Infographics are the latest hot ticket item in content marketing. But they are far from being a new concept. Any graphic illustration used to convey a complex idea or large set of data or statistics is considered an infographic. This can include: scientific figures, drug delivery mechanism diagrams and chemical reaction illustrations. Infographics are used for everything from mapping a bus route to reporting the local weather. They are one of the most effective…and popular methods of communication.

Between 2010 and 2012 the rise in viral and social media led to an 800% increase in the use of infographics. Infographics are easy to share and they get results. Tweets with images are twice as likely to be shared as those without. And website traffic is said to increase by 12% with the addition of an infographic.

Why are infographics so popular?

Text processes in a linear function. Your brain needs to digest the information letter by letter, line by line. Sounds time consuming right?
Images – on the other hand – process all at once. They do the heavy lifting for you! 50% of the human brain is dedicated to visual functions. So it’s easy to understand why an estimated 65% of the population learns visually.

Can’t wait to jump on the bandwagon?

To get started, think about why you are creating an infographic in the first place. Do you want to drive traffic to your website, promote your product, or educate your audience? Then ask yourself the following questions:

  • Appeal. How will you engage your audience?

  • Comprehension. How will your infographic make your complex information easier to understand?

  • Retention. How will you get your viewers to remember the information you’re showing them?

Building Your Infographic

Content

Statistics and data lend credibility to your infographic. They are the meat and potatoes of your content. To make an impact, your statistics need to come from a reliable source that is widely recognized by the subject-matter experts you’re targeting. Some resources commonly used in the healthcare industry include:

Once you’ve pulled your facts and figures, it’s time for content development. Organize your content into “chunks” that can be easily analyzed as individual facts. Identify your most hard-hitting fact and lead with that to hook your audience. 90% of people are drawn to infographics because of catchy titles and headers.

The next step is to streamline. Most people will spend a maximum of 3 minutes reading an infographic. Too much information will get lost on your audience and can scare them away. Analyze each chunk of information to see what can be deleted or translated to a graphic, chart, illustration, or headline. This is where it pays to partner with a graphic designer that specializes in infographics. They will professionally advise you on a design strategy that will have the greatest impact on your audience.

Design

Once your content is organized and streamlined, the design process can start. An effective infographic requires a specialized talent for organizing complex numbers and data into a layout that will achieve specific learning objectives. The number one design objective is to develop an image that’s easy to understand with a high recall rate.

In 2008, Michelle Borkin (doctoral student, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences) led a large-scale visualization study. The results were a little surprising. We’re all used to the design rule less is more. But her team actually found that, when it comes to memory and the recall of images, more is actually better.

  • Visualizations with more than 6 colors are more memorable than those with minimal color or black and white backgrounds

  • “Cluttered” images have more impact

  • All bar graphs essentially have the same design so viewers tend to easily forget them

  • Graphics are most memorable when they depict things people encounter everyday in their daily lives

  • Round graphics are more memorable than square

While the study did not research how well viewers retain the information itself when viewing images, it provided valuable insight into memory and recall.

Some other design tips:

  • Make your headlines bold and large to capture your viewer’s attention

  • Use different font themes to highlight important words or numbers

  • Use different background colors to “block out” information

  • Consider a vertical orientation. Most websites and mobile devices process vertical images better. Studies show that vertical infographics are tweeted up to 30 percent more than horizontal

Knowledge

Different from content, the knowledge of an infographic refers to the overall idea that your viewer walks away with. An infographic is meant to be an unbiased representation of complex ideas and data. While your artwork should draw the viewer’s eye to different data points, it should encourage your viewer to recognize trends and patterns on their own that will allow them to draw their own conclusions. Do not distort or influence your data in any way and don’t put your graphics in center stage. The information and content are the center points, not the artwork itself.

You’ve got it, now flaunt it!

The benefit to having an infographic is the accessibility. It can be shared across social media, web, and print. Web versions can be linked anywhere: additional data resources, a web form, or your website, etc. An infographic builds credibility, catches the viewer’s eye, and drives them to learn more!

Parting Thoughts

Infographics are at the height of their popularity. So of course, there are countless programs you can use to design your own, including: info.gram, Piktochart, and Eas.ly to name a few. Most include design templates for charts and graphs, robust data import options, live data feeds, and various options for sharing. Most allow you to download print-ready files that can be used in your print promotional materials. If you are going for a one-hit infographic to fulfill the needs of a one-time blog entry or social media post, these programs can be invaluable.

However, if you intend to use your infographic in your scientific presentation materials or as part of a larger promotional strategy, you’ll need one that’s customized with a look that’s unique to your branding and messages. The last thing you want in your brochure is an infographic that looks exactly like the one that just got shared by your competitor this morning on Twitter! A graphic design professional that specializes in infographics has the specialized skill set to streamline large data sets into impactful, easy-to-understand images that have a high recall rate.

Creative MediaWorks is a full-service service graphics and multimedia company. We have been providing visual communication solutions to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry for over 25 years. If you have any questions about infographic design, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Call us at (800) 737-1123 or send an email to info@creativemediaworks.com. Our Creative Services manager would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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