Creating infographics starts with the data. Or at least it should. Sure, an infographic has to look good if you want anyone to spend time with it. (Or perhaps another way to put it: you don’t want your infographic to look so hideous that it drives people away.) But aesthetics are only part of the story. Data is the more important part.
Remember, in our definition, an infographic is a data visualization with a flow to it. It’s about an idea that you’re trying to convey. And data is the foundation of that idea. So take a look at the data, understand the methodology and the conclusions, and follow the five rules of proper sourcing as spelled out on our blog:
1. Track down the original source and confirm the data.
2. Make sure you’re using the most recent data available.
3. Don’t ever source information from user-generated content websites.
4. Remember that 99% of the Web is just your starting point.
5. Limit the number of sources you’re using.
Now that you’ve got the idea, the research, the data and the analysis, let’s move onto story. This is when you create the flow of the infographic. You’re looking to present the data in such a way that the viewers are able to come to conclusions on their own, or at least understand the conclusions you’re drawing for them quickly and easily. You may be presenting a lot of complicated information when you create your infographic, and you want to transform that data in a way that makes it easy for people to interpret it.
Note that we’re about five steps into the process, and only now are we ready to think about design.
At this point in the creation of your infographic, all the standard rules of design apply. You’re going to brainstorm, wireframe, narrow down concepts. You’ll ask yourself how numbers can be visualized. Does a chart work better than a graph? Can you come up with a unique way to show relationships in a diagram? If the story you’re creating will flow down the infographic, you’ll think about borders and colors and typography.
And what are you using to do all this? Nowadays, there are plenty of web-based visualization tools that are making it easier than ever to create infographics.
And you can always follow our data visualization blog where, for example, you can learn how to create bubble charts with Photoshop or how to make choropleth maps in D3. Or read on to learn about infographics software and how to use it.