Infographics have become one of the biggest marketing tools in the past five years. From HubSpot to Behance, everyone is coming out with infographic templates for businesses. However, if you don’t think a template is quite right for you, or want to tackle creating an infographic on your own, here is my step-by-step guide on funneling your content into a visual display.
1. Acquire Quantifiable Data. To put it simply, an infographic takes quantifiable information and makes it visual. If you are trying to make an infographic out of plain text, I suggest trying another design. You need data, numbers, locations and ratios. For instance, here at Cheshire Academy, I had the pleasure of revamping our 2015-2016 school profile. We had a simple, four-page sheet listing all of our school’s information. However, why waste all this visual gold? We transformed it into an eight-panel foldout infographic that can be used for both print and the web.
2. Break down the data. Once you have a good set of data, go line by line and break it down. For instance, this was a paragraph of our school profile before it was placed into our infographic:
Founded in 1794, the Academy is an independent, coeducational boarding and day school enrolling 418 students in grades 8-12 and a postgraduate year. Known as The Student-Centered School, the Academy provides a challenging yet supportive academic environment for students. With competitive athletics and a wide variety of arts offerings, students receive a well-rounded and engaging educational experience. Our 104-acre campus provides students with a variety of enriching opportunities.
Here are bits of information I took award from the paragraph that will visually stand out:
- Founded in 1794
- 418 Students, Grades 8-12 and PG year
- Boarding and Day students
- 104-Acre Campus
3. Expand on the data. Once you have picked appealing data, stretch yourself to figure out how to visually make each piece stand out. I like to include different graphics, fonts and icons that relate to the information I find. Here is how I transformed the initial paragraph into an infographic.
I chose to highlight the number 1794 since Cheshire Academy is one of the oldest boarding schools in the United States. Next, I combined all the data on students. I realized I did not have a clear visual element for this section, so I found the percentage of boarding vs. day students. Do not be afraid to dig for data. Finally, I used the 104-acre campus fact as a way to highlight Cheshire Academy’s unique ropes course and lighted multipurpose turf field.
When choosing graphics, note how I chose one font and simple graphics. You want your data to shine and the visuals to enhance. Make sure you leave room for the information to breathe. Choose graphics that enhance your information rather than distract. Finally, pick one versatile font where you can play with sizes, boldness, italics, etc.
Not every piece of text can be turned into infographic gold. However, if you have facts and figures to work with, chances are you can create a visually-pleasing piece to make your data shine.