When thinking about infographics and how they are designed, I often recall a not-so-famous quote from a very famous author (and a favorite of mine):
“Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay!” — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Data play an important part in any business, but to truly understand the data your company has compiled and collected, they must be represented and displayed in the right way. This is where infographics can serve an important role in making sure your audience receives and understands the data you are presenting.
Infographics, essentially, are a visual representation of compiled data, put forward in a graphically appealing and easy-to-understand way.
The best and most effective infographics use the data they have as a foundation and let the design flow around that. They are clear, concise, and to the point—while staying within brand guidelines if such constraints are required.
Below are eight examples of some excellent infographics:
1. Internet of Things and the Mobile Future
- The data are clearly represented, using large fonts to show the standout numbers/facts.
- The infographic is easy to follow, and the visuals (particularly the road) lead your eye from point to point.
- Clean design with good use of colors.
2. What Do Your Glasses Say About You?
- Great use of fonts to capture an overall style for the infographic.
- Use of illustrations over photos.
- Again, the data are clearly represented, with each section having additional style examples and an overarching fact.
- Great use of color to break up the sections; this helps the user process the data from each section more efficiently.
3. The 411 on Unwanted Phone Books
- Great use of visual cues to guide the user through the information.
- Important data are clearly represented and draw the user’s eye.
- Clean design, and even though there seems to be a lot happening on the page, there is a good use of space between each data point.
- This example also ties in a call to action (CTA), which brings some interactivity to the user.
4. 20 Most Important Design Principles Illustrated
- Great separation of elements with good use of space.
- Data broken up into small segments for easy digestion.
- The illustrations fit perfectly with the data to give a clear visual representation of what is being talked about. In this case, the infographic is great for people who are not familiar with design.
5. Save the Bees
- The use of colors and shapes relates to the topic and ties the whole infographic together.
- Again, the important statistics are clearly highlighted and well-separated within the design.
- Overlapping elements bring a sense of depth to the visuals.
- Although there is no CTA at the end, there is a takeaway question for users to contemplate, which keeps them thinking about the infographic and its contents after it has been read.
6. How to Beat Jet Lag
- The designer has cleverly broken the infographic into three sections using different times of the day and weather patterns. This brings a relatable element to the design while creating smaller chunks of data.
- Again, the user is guided by the “flight path” of the plane, which ties into the topic of travel well.
- Although the design is flat, the use of texture adds depth and brings certain elements of the design forward for the user.
- This designer has taken a different approach to the key facts, but using a numbering system over large/bold type still offers the appearance of data.
7. Evolution of the iPhone
- The data are broken down into statements of one to two lines that make it easy to read and take in.
- Color is used to break apart the information—in this case, into years—so that the user can quickly jump to a particular section. There is also a clear visual path, which is important, particularly for these long infographics.
- Clever use of iconography ties in with the design subject, which can make the data feel more relevant and relatable to the user.
- The use of only two to three fonts prevents the design from feeling cluttered and busy.
8. 50 Interior Design Hacks
- This infographic has plenty of data, and though the layout is long and there is no clear visual path, the information is still easy to read and take in, because each data point has its own boxed-off section with an accompanying visual cue.
- Color is used to transition from one section to another to create the separation needed amid a lot of data and information.
- The layout lends itself well to the topic, as it feels much like a scrapbook or a digital pin board for ideas.
- Section headings are clear, which allows for structured separation.
- Different shades of the same color are used to ensure the user can distinguish between each data point within each section.
When designing an infographic, it is vital to keep the key data points clearly represented while guiding the user from point to point, using colors and fonts to break the design up as you go along. Build on those data by tying the overall design to your company brand, or if there are no brand requirements, choose colors and fonts that fit with the overall theme.