Infographics: I wanna tell you a story…

Sharon Tanton

Infographics are everywhere. The best examples of this increasingly popular type of visual content are not only aesthetically pleasing — they convey information that makes us sit up and take notice.

And the happy marriage of fascinating data and lovely images can trigger a powerful reaction — which means that the best infographics have the potential to go viral.

The beauty of infographics is that they can achieve so many business objectives in one fell swoop: positioning you as an expert, conveying important messages clearly, exuding your brand personality and creating lasting impressions. Above all, they are shareable.

But as with any trend, there are lots of followers of fashion and not all of them can pull it off. So how can you produce valuable infographics that your customers will love and share with everyone they know?

How to produce valuable infographics

Advice for your next infographic

For David Sloly, founder of Bristol’s Infographics Factory, it’s all about telling a story. “Once upon a time,” he says, “man used drawings on cave walls to communicate. So this is not new. But infographics have really taken off in recent years because of three things —the appetite for knowledge, the rise of big data and the fact that the internet demands that we fill it with content.”

Crafting your story

Anyone can create an infographic — just as anyone can create a PowerPoint presentation, says David. “But we have all seen terrible presentations that drag on and on. As soon as you see the first slide saying ‘welcome’, you get that sinking feeling.”

“Like presentations, infographics should tell a story — with a beginning, a middle and an end.” David Sloly

“Data is useless unless it says something,” says David. And that means ruthless editing — not chucking every fact and figure you can find onto the page.

Losing the plot

Too much information, irrelevant facts, digressions — all this will literally cause you to lose the plot. Keep your story simple and your infographic will be more powerful as a result.

David has this advice: “Don’t smother people with meaningless data. Remove everything you can’t justify and justify everything that you want to use. It all depends on the message — but one or two facts may be enough to tell the story. In a snackable world, people want bite-sized pieces of information.”

If you want to create a valuable infographic remember:

  1. Tell a story
  2. Edit ruthlessly
  3. Keep it bite-sized

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