Let's be real; reading a wall of text about complex ideas and processes can often be excruciatingly dull.
That's why so many writers use images to supplement their article text with a visual element.
But an image should serve a greater purpose than just breaking up paragraphs of text.
Ideally, your images should make the content of your article or the thesis of your argument easier to understand. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through the use of infographics.
The many infographic types are a great way to present complex ideas in a simple, visual format. So, if you want to get noticed online, infographics may be just what you need.
If you're active on social media or read a lot of blog posts, you've probably seen many types of content with infographics or infographic elements before. That's because brands have realized the power of informational infographics and are using them more and more.
Beautiful infographics are easy to share, look great on your feed, and contain great facts and information.
Using icons, images, color coordination, and other elements, designers can use this type of content to keep their audience engaged and entertained.
This article will discuss the types of infographics, infographic examples, and how you can create your own with an infographic template. Of course, we'll use infographics to explain everything.
By the end of this article, you might be sick of looking at infographics, but you'll certainly know how to use and create them, and hopefully will be inspired to create your informational infographic that is ideal for your target audience and its needs.
What is an infographic?
An infographic is a visual representation of data or information meant to present facts quickly and clearly through accessible visual communication. They can improve a viewer's understanding using graphics to enhance the human eye's ability to see patterns and trends.
And, of course, we have an eye-catching infographic design guide to explain what infographics are.
When creating a simple infographic yourself, the first thing to know is that your information should be interesting to look at but still functional.
A fussy type of infographic can sacrifice readability for the sake of design.
You don't need a design background or years of graphic design experience to turn your compelling content into contemporary infographics, and an online infographic maker will sometimes suffice. However, we’d strongly recommend that you make your own, which is why we put this piece together!
This type of communication is increasingly popular because it has several advantages over traditional written material alone:
- It allows you to include more visuals in social media and blog posts which makes it easier for readers to understand and remember rather than simply reading words alone
- Images help bring your content to life and convey ideas quicker than writing does
- Infographic content allows greater flexibility in conveying complex messages
Infographics have become hugely popular on social media because they make it much easier to absorb information. Brands that want to appeal to a technologically savvy generation that is prone to short attention spans need to get on board with infographics.
The history of infographics
Infographics have become one of the most effective ways to communicate a complex process or data quickly and effectively. That's the beauty of infographics. Like video marketing and graphics, they make complicated topics easy to understand.
Let's look at the history of infographics, explained with an infographic.
This infographic takes things all the way back to cave paintings to explain how infographics were created and why they've remained so popular throughout history.
Here's the gist: infographics are a fun way to consume information. And everyone likes fun.
Reading thick blocks of text can be pedantic if the information is formal and dense. However, splitting this information up and adding graphics can make it a fun and informative experience for viewers.
Infographics have been around since the early days of print media and editorial content, but they are more popular today than ever. They are perfect for visual learners and for quickly expressing a large amount of information and content blocks.
Let's talk about how they can be used as a design element.
How are infographics used?
A solid marketing strategy should include all different types of media, social network graphics, videos, advertisements, webpages, and of course, infographics.
Effective designs make people aware of your brand and help them understand what you have to offer. Infographics are a great way to do this.
Wondering how to best use infographics? Yep, you guessed it, there's an infographic for that.
As a designer, you can use bar charts, pie charts, icons, and colors to communicate facts and statistics without having to spell everything out in words.
Infographics are perfect for social media and are a great way to go viral. People can easily reshare your infographic on their story or social media page and spread your information like wildfire.
They're also perfect for collateral like brochures and posters. If you know your audience might only spend a short time looking at something, why not make it as easy as possible for them to understand?
Now that you know how and when to use infographics, let's talk about the different kinds you can create.
Types of infographics
There are many different infographics types out there. Some are simple, while others are very detailed.
The most common types of infographics show data visually. This means that instead of just having text on top of each other, there's some sort of graphic element at the bottom of the page.
The reason why these work well as infographics is that they make information easy to digest. They also give us something else to focus on rather than just relying on text only. Here are some common ones:
This type of infographic goes through a timeline and uses graphics to explain each section.
It's a perfect way to walk an audience through a process visually and in a straightforward manner.
This particular infographic does it well, with visual elements that lead your eye through the piece and clear separations of time marked by the clear indication of months.
Complex ideas are hard to express in an entertaining and informative way.
That's where statistical and informational infographics come in handy.
This infographic uses icons, large text for important information, and color to emphasize the most vital statistics to take away.
Another great way to use statistical infographics is to show off some statistics from a survey. You can easily place different results all in one place with fun visual features to make it easier to digest.
Process infographics are a step-by-step guide on how to do something or how something works.
You can easily illustrate a series of steps with an infographic while making it easy to follow.
This infographic looks sharp but also explains the creative process comprehensively. We love the colors and font the designer selected.
Infographic content can also be great for making comparisons.
It's an easy way for people to visualize how two things compare and contrast.
This infographic compared SEO and PPC (something marketers are very familiar with) by using two columns to show how the two terms differ and compare.
Another creative way to use infographics is to create a resume in the form of an infographic.
This approach will make your resume more interactive and easier to read through quickly.
This brief and accessible style is an excellent method if you want to stand out from the crowd and make sure your resume is seen.
Look at how sharp and engaging this example is. It will easily stand out from other black and white, text-only resumes.
Heads up: this type of resume is perfect for a graphic designer or visual job but might not be a good fit for other positions.
Videos are more effective for marketing than static images or text.
Who wouldn't rather watch a video about a complex idea rather than read a ton of text?
But why are we just telling you with words? Let us explain it using an interactive infographic.
Here's an excellent animated infographic that perfectly demonstrates how interactive and fun animating your infographic can be.
We love how the designer combined infographic design elements with animation to make a usually dull topic (financial services) more exciting and easier to understand.
Now, it's time for some examples.
Infographics examples and why they work
A compelling infographic can be a perfect way to present tons of information in a snappy way.
Now that we know all about the different types of infographics out there, let's look at some stunning infographics and talk about why they work so well. We gathered up this list of some of our favorite infographics so that you can get inspired.
Use these examples of infographics as design inspiration for your own infographic creation, and think about what makes them stand out to you and what makes them effective infographics.
Watch for certain visual elements, color combinations that work well together, and icons and charts that make full use of space.
Two-wheeled technique bicycle
This is a detailed infographic.
There is so much information to take in, but the simple graphics, lack of distracting elements, and cohesive colors make it work.
The designer didn't go overboard with bright colors in this engaging infographic, but it is still a creative and beautiful design.
Save the whales
Okay, we're blown away by the creativity of this educational infographic. Eye-catching, unique, and interesting to look at.
The designer of this piece knew how to use their space and color combinations.
One cow describes 8 business models
This is one seriously well-designed infographic. We love the playful nature and strong copy the designer used.
This is an excellent example of using copy in an infographic, not just statistics and icons but still making it easy to read and understand.
This eye-catching and detailed infographic uses the illustration of an iceberg as its centerpiece and designs around it creatively. We love the cohesive color palette and the content marketing.
The informative icons and mix of charts make the information easy to understand and allow for a lot of information on the page without overwhelming the viewer.
The visual web: a love story
It's hard not to pick favorites with designs this good.
This educational infographic is fun, modern, and interesting to look at. It covers a ton of statistics on digital marketing without being boring and tedious.
The designer preserved space by posting a link to sources instead of listing them all individually.
San Francisco as seen by a cat
This infographic is proof that you don't need fancy software or top-notch design skills to create an impactful infographic design.
We love the storytelling aspect of this infographic and the amateur but organic design style.
The background behind the design is that a beloved cat, Tibby, disappeared in San Francisco but, luckily, was eventually found. This is the imagined story of his time away.
Her owner said of the experience, “We were overjoyed he was back, but where had he gone? We decided to strap a GPS unit to his collar and find out where he spent his days.” – Caroline Paul
Social network of jazz in 1920s New York City
This is an incredibly creative infographic design about a fascinating topic.
The designer uses their design skills to teach a history lesson about the 24 top jazz musicians in New York during the Roaring Twenties.
The size of their silhouette tells the viewer the number of recording sessions that musicians had during their lifetime. Then, the connecting lines represent joint recording sessions.
Okay, who else is suddenly craving some Miles Davis music?
How to design an infographic
We've got a lot of great resources here for inspiration, so if you're ready to start designing your first infographic, then let's get started!
By now, you probably know that you can explain pretty much everything with beautiful infographics. So, here's an infographic explaining how to make an infographic.
There are tons of options out there for creating your own custom infographics, like an infographic creator, but we recommend using Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator).
With a pre-made infographic template, you can create an infographic in minutes; simply plug in the information and customize.
But first things first: what are we actually trying to achieve?
Set your infographic goals
Are you looking to create something that tells people about your product or service in general terms? Or do you want them to understand a complex topic better? Do you have a ton of statistics and facts to share but want to make it fun and engaging?
Before we can think about any design elements, graphs & charts, or even the background color, you need to decide precisely why you're making one. Whatever your reason for creating an infographic from a blank canvas, your mission will define how you design and create it.
Infographics can be used to:
- Provide a brief understanding of a complex topic - No one likes sifting through complex information. Infographics are a superb way to present and summarize difficult topics in a fun and engaging way
- Simplify a complicated process - Sometimes, visualizing its steps is better than reading about them if you want your reader to get to grips with a new method. A step-by-step-focused infographic can also be used as a cheat sheet
- Display your survey or research results - While you probably want to present the valuable outcomes of your research in detail, an infographic helps set the scene of your surveys or studies. You can use an infographic to make a story out of your findings
- Summarize a lengthy report or blog post - Rather than placing a “TL;DR” section, why not make a creative and attention-grabbing infographic summary of your piece? Not only does this outline the most vital parts of your writing, but it can present the main points in the most digestible and impactful way possible
- Contrast and compare numerous options - Decision paralysis is only too real. Sometimes, presenting one’s choices in a fun and accessible manner can help the reader overcome their blocks and intelligently land on the best option
Once you have a clear idea in your mind, it's time to start researching.
Get your data together
Even if you make your infographic to enhance a “simple” topic, you need to ensure that you’ve got your facts straight.
Now that you know which questions you would like to answer, you can go about putting the most relevant and enriching information together. Of course, if you have already written your piece then you don’t need any further reading, but your future pieces might benefit from these tips.
Clarify your Google searches
You will rarely miss the plot when you use Google to get your information, but you can further refine your searches with a few easy tricks.
For example, did you know that if you add quotation marks to your search, Google will isolate that exact phrase? If you search “charities with sustainable practices” then Google will pull up articles and blog posts containing that phrase.
Consider data repositories
You probably don’t need to be reminded that not everything you read on the internet is correct, factual, or properly ordered.
Thankfully, there are plenty of accredited online data repositories that have conveniently organized all manner of data for your ready usage. These include:
- Statista, for a wide range of incredibly insightful market research
- Pew Research, if you need some public opinions, demographics, or media content
- Kaggle, for a variety of user-uploaded studies on topics ranging from coffee price changes to the current top 10 Netflix shows
- Google Scholar, if you need to consider some academic publications for your research
Once you’ve got all the information down, it’s time to get creative and actually design your infographic!
Design your infographic intelligently
This process could just involve drawing up a few sketches, but it typically requires research into the topic and your content marketing strategy as well, especially if you're covering some difficult concepts or need custom visuals.
Take some notes of the common type of material you want to include, and gather up your statistics and facts before getting started. Remember that your blog posts or social media posts will be turning your data into a visual story.
Then, you should start thinking through all aspects of the project and the type of infographic you would like to make. The creation of common infographics involves thinking about the layout, style, color scheme, and typography you'll be using. If you're designing for a brand, get that brand kit ready.
And, as always, keep in mind the basic rules of visual hierarchy and principles of design. We've got some great resources on these topics on our blogs and some design tips you might want to check out before getting into the nitty-gritty of the design process.
How to nail visualizations
We’d also recommend that you get the right data visualizations down so that you can present your findings in the most effective way possible. Visualizations are especially important if you want to make a statistical infographic.
Remember the intent of your information - would you like to inform your readers, organize your data, or compare your findings with your custom infographic?
If your goal is to inform your readers, then numerical stats are helpfully suitable. Put in some big, bold, and vibrant stats, and don’t be afraid to pair them with illustrations or icons!
If you’re going to organize your data, then you can order, group, rank, or make patterns out of your research. You can then make lists, tables, flowcharts, Venn diagrams, or mind maps.
Charts are your best friends if you’d like to make a comparison infographic template, and you can choose between bar charts, bubble charts, column charts, pie charts, and so on.
How to create your infographic step by step
Alright, we’ve done all our homework and we’re finally ready to actually make our infographic! While you could use an infographic maker, creating one from scratch allows you to present your information as originally and accurately as possible.
Here are some basic steps you can take to create your own infographic using Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator), our free design software.
- Choose your template size and do some drafting to make sure it is large enough to fit all the information you need to include. You can even play around with an infographic maker or premade templates to get a better idea of what you want. There are tons of infographic sizes, so be sure to find the one that works best for you and your subject matter.
- Customize your design with our Pen Tool, gesture controls, and brush tool. Add in symbols and icons to make your facts and figures easier to comprehend.
- Take some time to be aware of spacing. You want to fit as much information in as possible without overcrowding the design.
- Use our unique fonts to create a title for your infographic and other text. Make sure to put the essential elements in a large, bright font.
- Get some feedback for your beautiful content. Send your draft (or drafts) to some people you trust, like a seasoned designer or copywriter, and get their opinion on the design. Make sure they're able to fully understand everything in the piece and that they enjoy looking at it.
- Finalize your design: Make some final changes and tweaks based on your feedback.
- Save, share, and print your file. Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator) supports a wide range of file formats for importing and exporting your documents.
And voilà! You've got a DIY infographic that can be shared on socials, printed on your collateral, or used in PowerPoints and presentations.
If you feel bold, post your infographic to socials and tag us. We'd love to see what you come up with.
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Cover image source: Unsplash
Ben is a Content Lead for Linearity living in Berlin. His hobbies include board games, cooking, reading, and writing.