As Michelle mentioned in our last design team blog post, infographics offer a quick and effective way to communicate information about your charity. But what is an infographic? Well, as the portmanteau of ‘information and graphics’ suggests, infographics are a visual representation of information and data.
Infographics are more popular than ever
Recent reports on the death of the infographic have been greatly exaggerated. Google Trends shows that searches for the term continue on an upward curve and, as of November 2015, infographics are as popular as ever. And for good reason too – researchers at Adobe found that social posts containing an image had an engagement rate 600% higher than text-based posts. Combining this with Edgar Dale’s influential findings that audiences are 200% more likely to remember what they see than what they read, it’s clear that infographics are a hugely valuable tool for your charity.
Some charities who are doing it right…
Although not a new phenomenon, infographics have grown in prevalence alongside the rise of social media. Over the last few years many charities have been utilising them very effectively in their social channels.
This example from Cancer Research UK shows how size can help get a message across. Representing percentages as comparatively scaled circles is a great way of highlighting the difference between two figures. The pictogram and colour coding help translate the message even more clearly.
A section of the ‘Tobacco vs Meat: What’s the Risk?’ infographic from Cancer Research UK.
Another good way of emphasising the difference between two numbers is by breaking the number down and literally visualising the amount. Taking a very simple icon (like the clock in this example for Macmillan Cancer Support) and repeating it multiple times to show two comparison numbers is one of the clearest ways of displaying this type of data.
A section of the ‘Cancer: A Colossal Challenge’ infographic from Macmillan Cancer Support.
This method is also useful when displaying percentages, particularly when outlining an effect on a group of people, as in the example below from Action on Armed Violence. Showing 93 of the 100 icons like this helps to highlight the enormity of the violence in a way that the basic numbers just can’t.
Syria: The Explosive Truth, tweeted by Action on Armed Violence.
Of course it’s not always possible or necessary to present statistics this way – but it can be useful to add an accompanying icon even when you’re just sharing a quick, straightforward fact. The below example from Save the Children uses simple pictograms to help enforce their message.
‘Children of Syria’ from the Save the Children website.
But what if you don’t have a designer?
Without trying to put myself out of a job, you don’t need to be a designer to create great infographics. The most important thing is to keep it simple. A complex design will complicate your message. We’ve covered this already but stick to a minimal colour palette and clear fonts. When you’re happy with what you’ve produced, run your final design by a selection of people not connected to the project. If they can understand what the infographic is trying to say, you’re doing something right.
You don’t need expensive design software
Over the last few years more and more software has become available to help you design on a budget. The following websites all offer similar services; have a look around and see which one works for you!
Piktochart – http://piktochart.com/
Vengage – https://venngage.com/
If there’s a killer tool we’ve missed, or any tips that you find particularly useful, please share them in the comments below.