In our vastly digital world, sharing information visually is paramount to content success. Because of this, we’ve seen a pretty cool content creation come about that combines data and visualization in a fun and creative way — the infographic.
Infographics can take on different layouts, but generally, they include charts, visuals, icons and brief sections of text to convey an idea. Infographics should contribute to your reader’s overall understanding of the topic rather than simply being an addition to your existing content. Understanding the purpose of an infographic is easy. However, knowing how to make an infographic isn’t so simple.
How to make an infographic
Because we get how difficult it can be to know how to make an infographic, we’ve created this easy 7-step guide to help you build and develop your infographic with as little hassle as possible. By following these seven steps, you can create effective infographics.
1. Determine your audience
In the first step of our guide on how to make an infographic, we recommend that you determine your audience. Knowing who you’re creating this content for can help you determine where the infographic will exist, such as social media platforms or an email newsletter. Additionally, your audience can help you choose the right data visualizations (more on this later) and which types of infographics to use. To illustrate, imagine if you create an infographic on rockets. How that infographic looks will be very different if produced for children vs. rocket scientists. Generally, your audience will come from all of your consumers or a small sect.
2. Determine your goals
There are several reasons for creating infographics. Narrowing it down to just one goal will give you a clear direction to move forward. Here are specific goals you can choose from:
Explain and simplify a complex process
Summarize a report or lengthy blog post
Provide a quick overview of a topic
Compare and contrast multiple options
Display survey data or research findings
Raise awareness about an issue or cause
3. Collect data
Once you’ve determined your audience and goals, the next step in making infographics is to collect data; if you have your data to start with, great! If not, there’s tons of public data you can get your hands on by following a couple of simple strategies.
Search existing data repositories
Dig through a couple of these data repositories to find data that is ready to use:
US Census Data for Social, Economic, and Health Research: Census data from 1790-present.
Pew Research: A spot to find research on public opinion, demographics, media content and more.
Statista: Market research.
Kaggle: User-uploaded datasets on everything from startup funding to chocolate bars.
Google Trends Datastore: Curated datasets from the Google News Lab.
US Government’s Open Data: A place to find data on climate, agriculture, health, public safety and education.
Google Scholar: A user-friendly search engine for academic publications.
Refine Google searches
This strategy is a bit less refined but still a great place to start with getting your data. You can refine your searches with symbols and data-specific search terms like these below:
Append ‘data’ to your search phrase
For example — product design data
Append a data-specific file format (e.g., CSV, Xls, tsv) to your search phrase
For example — product design Xls
Use quotes to search for an exact phrase
For example — “product design process steps”
Use a minus sign to exclude terms from your search
For example — product design -jobs
4. Create a copy outline
The next step in learning how to make a good infographic is to create a copy outline. Creating an outline will help you focus your topic and stay concise. Your outline should include the following:
Objective: what do you want to achieve with your infographic?
Audience: who is the content for?
Bullet points of the content or data you want to include
Selected fonts and color palette
A couple of examples of infographics for inspiration
Promotion channels: where will your infographic be published and promoted?
Once your outline is finished, you can start creating an infographic.
5. Create data visualizations
A common use of infographics is to visualize data, but creating useful and easy-to-read data visualizations can be difficult and frustrating. You should select the correct chart for the dataset you’re displaying; doing so will make it far more effective. Here are a few types of data visualizations you can pick from:
As you create your visualization, remember only to include the necessary data and avoid complicated visuals with multiple lines and charts. It’s also essential to create a chart with one specific takeaway that’s immediately obvious and avoid any overuse of data labels.
6. Select a template layout
Designing the layout of an infographic can be overwhelming. As with most other types of content, infographics follow typical formats and structures. To make this step in how to create an infographic extra easy for you, you can instead pick from a bank of infographic templates rather than designing from scratch. Choosing the right layout will depend on the type of information you want to convey. Here are nine different template styles you can pick from, along with what information they’re best for.
This layout is best used when you’re showing the history of something, showing the steps of a project or placing events in chronological order.
A comparison infographic is best if you’re helping your audience make a decision, especially between two different options. Use this template layout to help a customer understand the differences between products or compare your product to a competitor’s.
When putting to use this particular infographic style, you can easily illustrate or help visualize anything with a noteworthy start and endpoint, such as project milestones or the steps of a process.
A list infographic layout has myriad uses. You can use this style to create a checklist of things to do, make a list of the top 10 best vacation spots (or the top 10 anything!) or explain how a process works.
A geographic infographic is best suited for any dataset or comparison specific to a location.
This infographic layout combines several types of charts and graphs to tell a story with your data. You can use it to synthesize data to support an argument, summarize a research report or share data that’s insightful or entertaining.
Article summary infographic
An article summary layout is best for providing a brief overview of an in-depth article or a long blog post. This is a great option for repurposing content to post on social media or send in a sales email.
As hinted at by its name, this infographic design tells the story of a person’s professional skills and work experience visually.
Visual backbone infographic
This layout uses a single large image as the infographic’s central backbone, with each data set or point breaking down one visual component. It’s best to use this style when visualizing parts of a whole, such as interesting facts about the human body.
7. Follow infographic design best practices
To ensure that you create a professional-looking infographic, follow these design best practices.
Font and color palettes
Keep your font selection and color palette simple. Stick to one font for the headline and one for the body. Pick a color palette that has:
One primary color
Two to three secondary colors
A neutral color such as white, black or gray
Make sure your icons match your color palette and are similar in style to each other.
Two columns and a backbone
If you’re designing your infographic, divide it into two columns with a large title card on top. Your columns don’t need to be symmetrical. Next, pick a background with a simple design element. A backbone can consist of icons, visuals or a line.
Any charts or data you add should be clean and straightforward. Stick to your color palette by using different shades of your chosen colors. Remember to include labels with your charts.
White space is an area free of a design element or text. Make sure you have plenty of space around headlines, between sections and avoid extensive text.
Divide your infographic into specific sections based on the topic. You can distinguish each section by breaking them up with alternating colors, borders or lines. Include the main subtitle or label and accompanying icon or image for each section.
Once you have the first draft of your design, go back through and check that all of your main elements align on the same vertical or horizontal axis and that all spacing between each section is the same.
Creating an infographic
By breaking down the steps on how to create infographics, we hope we’ve transformed this daunting undertaking into something less scary. And don’t forget, if you’re still unsure how your infographic should look or where to start, try our infographic templates for free!