You’ve been reading plenty of blog posts and noticed that everyone is making use of infographics. They seem to perform very well and you can’t help but wonder if you should be incorporating infographics into your own content marketing. The only issue is, you don’t have a huge budget, so you can’t really hire a designer, but you yourself aren’t particularly skilled in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. So what do you do? Don’t get stressed out just yet. There is hope for you. Read on and soon you will have all the knowledge necessary to create your own beautiful infographics without anyone else’s help!
1) Find the right infographic tool
It should come as no surprise that there are plenty of online infographic tools available for use. Most have free trial versions so you can test them out before you decide whether or not to commit wholeheartedly. I use Venngage* because not only is it free to use for life, but you can share your infographics privately with anyone, even if they are not a Venngage user. There are hundreds of templates available and also plenty of great resources on their infographic blog in case you are struggling with the tool, or are facing any basic design challenges. The premium version removes all Venngage branding from the infographics you create and lets you download your visual content as a high-quality PDF or PNG. There is also the option to add multiple pages to a PDF in case you are hoping to make a visual ebook.
Once you have found the right infographic tool for you, you will need to familiarize yourself with it. Have patience, because most of these tools require at least an hour of testing before you really get the hang of it.
2) Pick out the best infographic template
Since you are making an infographic without a designer, it’s important to note that different types of content require different style templates. There are approximately nine styles of template that you can choose from:
Statistical Infographics: This style of infographic depicts a summary or overview of data and contains one or more charts, tables or lists. This style is perfect if you are attempting to visualize the results from a survey or census.
Timeline Infographics (time-oriented): A timeline infographic outlines information in a progressive fashion over a period of time. If the theme of your infographic is to highlight the influence of a historical event, or to depict a chronological process, you want to stick with this style of infographic.
Process Infographics: Process or list-based infographics are often used to demonstrate a list of steps, or the flow of an event. If you’re trying to depict how something works, or to visualize a guide, this style is your best bet. Process infographics are some of the most common styles used by marketers. Here’s an example of a process infographic outlining how you can get your site indexed on google. Click the image to see the full infographic on Hiverhq:
Informational Infographics: If you have a text-heavy topic you are trying to repurpose into an infographic, you might want to go with an informational infographic. This style is used primarily to summarize a topic or theme and provides some added insight for the reader. The National Geographic uses a lot of informational infographics to provide a more visual explanation of various animal species, or to teach their readers about the design of a certain buildings.
Geographical Infographics: Geographical infographics are often used to display location based data, and usually include maps. Again, the National Geographic uses a lot of geographical style infographics. These are useful if you are showing trends across the globe, or you want to depict demographic information. Geographical infographics can also be cross-referenced with statistical infographics.
Compare/Contrast Infographics: Pretty self-explanatory, but compare and contrast infographics are used if you want to- well, compare two or more opposing viewpoints. For instance, you might use it to compare apples to oranges, or Moz to Ahrefs.
Hierarchical Infographics: This style of infographic is usually used to demonstrates a chart with levels, or to depict a flow of authority or power. Usually this is done using a funnel chart or a pyramid chart. They can be used in conjunction with timeline infographics.
Interactive Infographics : Interactive infographics aren’t particularly popular as of yet, because they can be a bit tricky to put together. Some tools do possess interactive elements like embeddable videos, gifs, polls and forms, or animated charts and maps. They give viewers the control to modify the infographic and are usually web-based. Ceros and Neomam are examples of two companies that make use of interactive infographics.
Word cloud Infographics: You’re probably familiar with a word cloud, but in case you aren’t let me refresh your memory. A word cloud displays a cluster of words to show associations between different words and concepts. More influential and common words stand out as larger amongst the cluster to depict dominance or authority. Here’s an example of a word cloud infographic I made using Jason Davies’s word cloud generator, which is based off of this exact section on template styles:
Great, so once you’ve decided on which style of template is appropriate for the type of content you plan on including in your infographic, it’s time to move on to the next step: the design process.
3) Designing your infographic
If you’re starting out with a premade template like the example below, you will still want to modify the design to your tastes, or to match your brand style.
The trick with designing your infographic does not depend so much on simply changing the colours and icons, but knowing which colours function together, and which icons are appropriate representations of the text you are using.
It may come as a shock to you, but in a study that analyzed how people responded to serif fonts versus sans serif fonts, serif ones performed better, particularly in terms of believability. This fact comes off as particularly mind boggling since sans serif fonts are a much more modern style, and used more frequently in infographics than sans serif fonts. Maybe the infrequency of use has something to do with their popularity, but nonetheless, serif fonts remain the font of preference for many.
Colour selection is one of the more challenging parts about infographic design. There is an infinite possibility of colour pairing options, but the trick is to find combinations which the human eye finds harmonious. How can you do this? Well generally colours that are contrasting, ie. fall on opposite ends of the colour wheel, tend to achieve this.
There are also many colour picking tools that exist, like Paletton, which provides you with various colour schemes to use.
Another thing to keep in mind is the layers of text over coloured backgrounds. Avoid using dark text on a dark background and light text on a light background. It makes it very difficult to read. You want the text and icons to jump and pop, and contrasting colours will do just that.
Spacing and layout:
For many non-designers it’s not always easy to understand the importance of negative space. What is negative space? Well it’s the area around the object of interest or focus. This infographic on the design principles from Star Wars perfectly sums up everything a beginner should know about spacing and layouts.
For a more detailed approach to infographic design for beginners, check out this article on Maximize Social Business.
Creating your infographic
Now that you have the basics under your belt, you’re ready to create your own infographic without a designer. Remember to have patience, because becoming a pro at infographic design takes practice. I recommend looking at Pinterest or other infographic curation sites for inspiration and try to mimic the style and layout (to a certain extent). Sometimes that can help you see something you weren’t aware was an option. Of course, if you have any questions about infographic creation or promotion in general, feel free to contact me.
*Disclaimer: I am the Director of Marketing for Venngage