Image for The Power of Infographics to Show What You Mean

Showing what you mean can be daunting. Many people simply revert to word explanations out of fear. The reward for overcoming the fear factor is great. Studies show 90 percent of the information transmitted to our brains is visual and infographics are one of the best ways to impress and influence an audience.

This blog is intended to pump up your courage to innovate and try your hand at creating an infographic.

Infographics are visual images to present information or data. The objective of infographics is to attract eyeballs to consume well-packaged, easy-to-navigate information, including complex data. There is no single formula for a successful infographic. They can range from charts to diagrams and can be as simple as pages with integrated text and imagery.

The payoff for effective infographics is creating something distinctive that conveys information or a message in a memorable manner that sells a product, informs an audience or burnishes a reputation.

The objective of infographics is to attract eyeballs to consume well-packaged, easy-to-navigate information.

Neal Schaffer, a digital marketing consultant, describes five common infographic layouts – step-by-step, roadmap, comparison, statistical and informational. He doesn’t advocate templates, though they are abundantly available online. He thinks examples help inspire creative juices needed to take on the challenge of visual information.

Step-by-Step Infographic
This design gently guides viewers through a process, such as the steps to build a brand, plant a garden or repair a toilet. A step-by-step infographic, often punctuated with icons, is the visual alternative to a list of bullet points. Think of this infographic style as a cousin to infomercials.

Roadmap Infographic

Using the motif of a pathway, this design helps to explain elements of a strategy, extended vacation or outreach campaign as opposed to extended (and tedious) text explanations.

Comparison Infographic

This commonly used form of infographic cuts through verbiage to afford a vivid, visual comparison (actually a contrast) between brands, candidates or anything competitive. This infographic form adapts well to photography as well as iconography.

Statistical Infographic

This category includes charts, graphs and diagrams that translate data into something visual and comprehensible. The New York Times has mastered this type of infographic, often featuring them on its front page, as it did recently with a set of four charts showing the strong post-pandemic return to work. One of its best infographics showed how to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19.

Informational Infographic

Text-based information without visual design can be foreboding, even off-putting to readers. This form of infographic is less a picture than a design concept that employs imagery to walk readers through a garden of words, reinforcing the context and import of those words. A good analogy are children’s books that use illustrations to add charm and meaning to the words.

Creating an Infographic

Creating an infographic involves the same steps as creating any kind of content. You need to know your audience, master your intended message and arrange your data or key points in a logical order. Then you need to stop and consider the best way to show what you mean. Ask what kind of infographic would do the job. Doodling is not only okay, but can stimulate creativity.

Once you have a picture in your mind, search for a template that matches what you visualize. Templates come with paint-by-the-numbers explanations. You aren’t stuck with a template, however. They can serve as an inspiration image for your own creation or a guide for a content designer. With a little practice and trial and error, you can surprise yourself on what you can create on PowerPoint.

Whether it’s a DIY or a customized template, the goal is visual storytelling so your audience sees what you mean.

Appropriate to the topic, here are infographics on infographics: