The use of infographics as a means of displaying information is now so widespread that writing about it might seem rather like missing the point. There is a chance, however, that an infographic in the form of some images pointing out that an image is worth a thousand words might contain at least a few layers of self-reference too many, so we’ll stick with a brief written examination of how and why the use of graphics can get your point across.
The degree to which the web, through an ever multiplying number of access points, has come to be the main platform via which almost all information is shared and distributed, has had a massive impact on the ways in which that information is presented. If this were a printed article, for example, it would be several hundred, if not thousand, words longer. As would the individual paragraphs. And sentences. People tend to skim web pages rather than ploughing through them in depth, as any web designer worth their salt will tell you; you might find everything about the product you sell or the service you provide fascinating – nobody else will, so you have to tailor your message, and tailoring it via visual cues will allow you to include only the most exciting and important bits of the story you want to tell.
Put bluntly, we humans are simple creatures and are easily distracted by bright shiny things. Our brains are designed, on the most basic biological level, to process visual information far more quickly and more effectively than any other kind, and that’s why graphic presentations cut through so effectively. In many ways, the average brand image is an infographic presentation boiled down to its very essence. A set of shapes and colours designed to capture the personality of a product or business, with perhaps one or two words thrown in for good measure. Of course, the world’s most famous brand images are the work of experts with years of graphic know-how behind them, which is why simply chucking together a few pie charts, some statistics and a bit of clip art doesn’t amount to doing infographics properly.
The fact that an infographic contains less text means the content of that text becomes even more important. People ‘having a go’ at infographics tend to neglect the text on the basis of a belief that infographics are all about visuals, but the simple fact that the written aspect is pared down to the bare essentials makes it all the more important that every single word and number is made to count. In terms of the visual make up of an infographic, an understanding of the psychology of colours, and of the effect that different shades can have on the person viewing the page, is absolutely vital. You can achieve this understanding via study and research, or through long term hands on experience. What you can’t do is guess and hope you’ve got it right, because the chances are that you’ll get it wrong, and the piece of work sent out into the world on your behalf will be giving out all the wrong signals.
Infographics are undoubtedly a vital tool in the fields of marketing and the dissemination of information. There increasing use and growing popularity can make them seem like the easy option, but the truth is that creating a bad infographic is easy – too much text, over complexity, poor typography – as the briefest tour of the internet will confirm. Getting it right, on the other hand, can be very tricky. If it wasn’t, I’d have said all this using 25 words and some razor sharp illustrations.
At Cuckoo Design our design team have the know how and brand creation experience needed to craft statements which capture the message you’re trying to convey and send it out into the world. Our infographics combine the practical necessity of transmitting the right amount of information with the marketing style required to attract and retain potential customers. We’ll find out what you want to say, and we’ll tell you exactly how to say it, then we’ll say it for you.
Get in touch on 0161 660 8352 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to us about infographics.