The Anatomy of an Infographic
Words can be powerful, but images pack a real punch. They can convey a complete idea while keeping the content concise and easy to understand. That’s probably why infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than a text article. Infographics can be used to compare multiple topics, show a process, or simply break down complicated or dry topics.
- Easy to share
- Content eye candy
- Fantastic for link building
- 40% more convincing than plain text
- Make you look like you know what you’re talking about (a.k.a. credibility)
In the infographic arena, the competition is stiffer than ever. It’s important to build yours well from the very beginning. Here’s a walkthrough of how to do just that, along with an infographic for easy reference!
What is an infographic?
It is just a map. You read that right! Allow us to explain. An infographic is a visual representation of information. It uses image patterns to help our brains absorb that information more efficiently. Therefore, it is a map of information. Today, we are looking at vast mountains of data and need a way to cope with that. Infographics have become a great solution! Let us dive into how we can fully take advantage of this awesome tool.
Plan, plan, plan
First, you need to decide on your goal. This is the ultimate purpose of the whole shebang. Think carefully about who you’re making this for. This should be solving one of your audience’s burning problems and encouraging them to do something. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who is your audience?
- What pain point are you trying to solve for them?
- What advice/solution are you offering?
It’s time to gather that data! Look for compelling datasets and figures that are relevant.
You’ll likely notice some trends along the way that will help inform the overall structure of your infographic. Do not fudge these numbers, folks, as you may want to provide sources.
While the length is ultimately dependent on how much content you need to include, there is a good rule of thumb to follow. Have you heard of the 5:9 rule? It refers to the ideal width-to-length ratio of an infographic. Interestingly, people prefer infographics that are 9 times longer than they are wide.
Sure, it seems a bit arbitrary, but the data speaks for itself!
Overall, keeping the content simple is key. Now is not the time to write your latest ebook. Think about how much handwritten text you can write on a post-it. That’s the max amount to include in each little text blurb throughout the page. If you use any more than that and you’ll risk crowding your whole layout or worse *gulp* losing your readers. Most infographics have the same basic structure: Title, Introduction, Primary Content, Call to Action, and a Footer. Let’s dig into each of these.
Title or Topic
The title or topic is the first thing a viewer will see when they look at your infographic, so it’s crucial it encourages them to read on. Keep it short and concise. Great infographic titles incorporate numbers (ex: Mark Cuban’s 12 Rules for Startups) or alliteration (ex: The Exercising Entrepreneur), while some excel at humor. The choice is yours!
You can see in our own “Anatomy of an Infographic” Infographic, we have a simple 5-word title that perfectly describes the contents.
The introduction leads to the primary content of your infographic. Again, keep this short and sweet! It should only be 1–2 sentences maximum while touching on exactly what the viewer is about to see. Be topic-specific! Sometimes, a simple subtitle will suffice. As long as it gets to the heart of the topic at hand, you’re good to go.
The primary content should contain 5–6 points maximum and support the topic of the infographic. We recommend short, easy to read statements. Provide examples, facts, data, and any other information that can be represented visually.
Mix it up! Don’t feel like you need to list only data or statements. In the infographic on the left, you’ll find a variety of content including figures, steps, and even a numbered list. You can even do something fun like a flowchart (see the right). Who doesn’t love a good flowchart? Whatever form your primary content takes, make sure it’s digestible and low on jargon.
Summary & Call to Action
The summary should be 1–2 sentences maximum (noticing a theme, here?) and tie up the content of the infographic while leading into the call-to-action. If your infographic is interactive, a 2–3 word one-liner and CTA button goes here (if applicable).
The footer contains any important company, legal, and contact information. Does your infographic have sources for your facts and data? You’ll put those references here.
Now, let’s make it happen
Aside from the structure we’ve outlined above, you’ll need to make sure it’s up to standard design-wise. Using on-brand colors, illustrations, and typography is essential to creating effective collateral. Of course, you’ll need some expert designers to help with the visuals, in which case we are here for you.
Oh, and just in case you’ve spaced out and didn’t retain any of this information, you can download that handy little infographic on the Anatomy of an Infographic. Enjoy!