The Ultimate Guide to Infographics

What is an infographic?

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” as the old saying goes. While that can be true, it’s still not enough.

It’s the purposeful combination of visuals and text, in the form of what is commonly called an infographic, that makes the most powerful tool for learning, marketing, and engagement.

Infographics combine words, visuals, and data into easy-to-understand graphical presentations. They’re superb communicative tools when designed to be quick and easy to read. Studies show that infographics help people learn information faster and retain that information longer than if they’d received it by other means. Companies that use infographics can both clarify and diversify their messaging, enlivening learning for employees and customers. 

You might think of infographics as long-form graphics on blogs, bite-sized visuals on social media, or animated explanations on YouTube… and you’d be right. Infographics have become common teaching tools in recent years and they do take a variety of forms. A subway map is an infographic. So is an org chart, a weather diagram, IKEA instructions, and the Periodic Table.

Used effectively, infographics quickly communicate new or complicated ideas, give context to complex data, and bring even dry subject matter to life. So, sure, a picture is nice—but an infographic is worth so much more than a thousand words.

people-wave

How can organizations use infographics?

Showcase your position, expertise, and brand

Today’s companies are lucky.

Just a generation ago, information on corporate changes, new product offerings, and competitive advantages were largely relegated to internal newsletters, plain brochures, or boring press releases. When a firm could afford it, their important outward-facing news might make it into ads in traditional media. Still, companies had nowhere near the marketing opportunities we have today to reach customers without great expense.

The Internet has been a game changer, to say the least. Any business now has its own instant printing press and distribution system, able to reach countless potential customers around the world. And one of the most interesting and effective ways to reach all these people is through infographics.

This is because a good infographic adds a layer of visual storytelling to compelling narrative. At Tremendousness, we don't just slap some numbers on a 3D pie chart and include a big dollar sign icon—we tell a story using artful and interesting combinations of pictures and words.

The pictures and words that make up an infographic can then be reformatted and repackaged in so many ways: from static images to fully interactive websites, from snippets and series on social media to in-depth storytelling animations on YouTube. A well-produced infographic is a versatile gift that keeps on giving, helping to showcase a company’s position, expertise, and brand across a variety of channels. Best of all, compared to traditional advertising, infographics are inexpensive to produce and can be published on intranets or the Web for free or at low cost.

A few case studies

What’s the process for creating an infographic?

Discover > Concept > Blueprint > Production

Tremendousness has a collaborative, four step infographic process. It works for companies large and small, helping them to achieve their strategic communications goals.

Tremendousness - process image

  1. Discovery

Infographic design starts with a Discovery phase, in which a creative team connects with clients, subject matter experts, and other stakeholders to brainstorm ideas worthy of an infographic, and to identify audiences and key content. Often an infographic introduces something completely new related to change communications or new products and processes, but other worthy ideas can include past blog posts, white papers, and company reports that could benefit from distillation into infographic form.

 

  1. Concept

The discovery phase naturally leads to an initial Conceptual phase. Quick, iterative napkin sketches flesh ideas, and clear and impactful frameworks begin to emerge, along with a sense of what medium might be best. These days, many infographics debut on company Facebook or Instagram pages, though this is by no means the rule. Of course, they also can be printed large and hung in offices or shared via email. If the project is a video, the script would be created in this phase.

 

  1. Blueprint

This second part of the conceptual phase includes something akin to a storyboard that major motion picture houses use for film productions (and is exactly like that if the deliverable is, in fact, an animated video). The proposed infographic is sketched in detail, including the flow, visuals, branding, fonts, and text. Much like the blueprint of a house, everything is finalized here before real construction begins.

 

  1. Production

By this point, 99% of the conceptual work is done and it’s time to illustrate the final piece. The visual style is a concern here, as well as brand adherence. The Production phase of a good infographic is about bringing to life the preceding three phases; it’s important work that ensures you’ve created a high-quality infographic with a long and useful life.

An in-depth look

What are the different types of infographics?

Systems, Processes, & Comparison

As we discussed earlier, an infographic unites text, visuals, and data into a cohesive design. Infographics predate the Internet, in fact every map ever made is essentially an infographic. That said, there are specific types of infographics that companies can leverage online in their messaging, depending on what they need to explain.

  • Systems infographics show components and how the elements of an ecosystem connect.
  • Process infographics illustrate key sequential steps in activity or construction.
  • Comparison infographics illuminate differences between things (products, ideas, competitors).

All types of infographics can be well-suited for summarizing and repackaging both internal information and sales-oriented messaging. Perhaps a company has written a 50-page white paper, detailing how its solution outperforms others. A one-page infographic with featured key findings can be highly effective for improving click-through rates on the white paper.

Aside from their structural form, infographics can also be differentiated by their technical form. An infographic might hit the Web as a PDF or JPG file that gets indexed by Google. These days, though, it’s paying off to create animated infographics to be published to YouTube or even embedded directly onto company websites.

More than likely, as technology continues to improve, it will only get easier for companies to make use of the various types of infographics to connect with both internal and external audiences, and gain a competitive advantage.

A few more examples

About Tremendousness

We’re a collaborative creative agency

We’re a creative agency that uses information design to help businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations explain complex ideas, innovations, products, and processes. 

We collaborate with our partners—who range from startups to Fortune 500 firms—throughout the creative process, helping them discover, conceptualize, blueprint, and produce impactful infographics. These can take a variety of forms, from static to animated, and from illustrated stories to data visualizations. Regardless, all communicate information quickly and clearly, helping better serve employees and partners, as well as existing customers and new ones.

Team up with Tremendousness today to enjoy the many benefits of infographics, versatile tools that are well-equipped to help businesses both large and small.

Before you leave, check out this cool infographic!