Infographics Guide (Part 2): Before you build

Scott Willan
May 4, 2017

This blog follows on from Infographics Guide (Part 1) which covered when you should use an infographic, and when you shouldn’t.

Things you’ll need.

There are certain things almost all infographics will have. The most important two are purpose and target. You need something to say, and someone to say it to. As part of the purpose, you might have a brand. That could either be your own, or your clients, or it may even be specific to you story; if you’re making an infographic about breast cancer for example. The brand you might be working with can either make the next step easier or harder. Broad statement, I know, but I’ll explain soon. Something that indirectly affects your graphic is the tools you have at your disposal. At OptimalBI I am fortunate enough to have access to Adobe Creative Suite. Out of all the programs available I use Illustrator the most by a large margin. This is because of the use case for Ai and vectors, in general, are very similar to the use cases of infographics. They are scalable, with simple shapes and the text is easy to read. The branding may specify a font. This may seem small but a key to good design is using appropriate fonts. A square, blocky font should reside on a strongly structured graphic. Something more delicate or intricate will reside on a more dainty or detailed graphic.

This is a combination of the two previous blunders mixed with a poor implementation of a text-only infographic. This information would be better presented as a list, or more variation in graphic styles is needed. It may seem nitpicky, but the use of fonts in this infographic is unnecessary and inappropriate. I am a big fan of mixed fonts, serif and sans serif especially, but the number and variation of fonts in the infographic do not lend itself to effective design. The fonts would be passable if they provided theme or context to each of the points but alas, they do not. A point that I have yet to mention but that is very important is,  s p a c e  .  The stylised list above has none, and this is bad.
For my infographic, I will use the OptimalBI branding. The makes a few decisions for me already. My primary colour will be orange and my fonts will be Montserrat and Josefin Sans. Top tip: If you are restricted in what colours you can use, add textures to mix things up and create interest. As mentioned above, I will be using Adobe Illustrator.

If you enjoyed this blog or found it useful, keep and eye out for part 3 where I will cover the early decisions you will need to make when building an infographic.
In the meantime, we have another blog on infographics by Kathryn Greenbrook – How To Make an Infographic. You can also read Part 1, Part 3 and Part 4 of this series.
From hard data to fluid design – Scott.

Scott blogs about how design and making things look good no matter if its a website or data. He is great at making data consumable and therefore valuable.

Connect with Scott on LinkedIn or read his other blogs here.

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