How to Create Infographics for Impact

The goal of an infographic is to provide a visual representation of an otherwise complex process or concept. Infographics have the power to facilitate understanding while minimizing copy and to attract attention due to visual appeal. It’s no surprise that industries ranging from retail to government and of course, digital marketing are capitalizing on the impact of visually powerful graphics to convey ideas and display concepts.

There are four core types of infographics which can be used depending on the circumstances. Current state infographics, compare/contrast infographics, resource infographics and evolution infographics each serve a specific purpose. The right type of infographic depends heavily on the information you’re trying to convey, although some types are more versatile.

Current State Infographics

Current state infographics provide an overall view of the present landscape surrounding a particular topic. Current state infographics are often used to draw attention to an increasing problem, conveying startling facts and statistics to convince readers to take a stand.

Current state infographics are most often used to draw attention to a particular concept and establish thought leadership on behalf of the company or entity commissioning the graphic. Often, these graphics are created surrounding a trending topic with the aim of gaining widespread recognition. The White House releases infographics to convey the current state of public matters and organizations such as use them to bring attention to issues facing the populations they serve.

Resource Infographic

A resource infographic breaks down a process into visually represented steps. This type of infographic is also called a tutorial infographic. A resource infographic serves as a way to display various facts related to a central topic, but most often demonstrates how to perform a task or illustrates how a specific process works.

Because there are many concepts which can be broken down into processes, tutorial infographics are actually more versatile than they seem. Some topics, such as maintaining good credit, at first appear as a random set of facts or tips. Innovative designers and copywriters can turn these topics into meaningful tutorial-style infographics by presenting the information in a unique way. This style of presenting ordinary information in a different way is what makes infographics so intriguing to readers.

Compare and Contrast Infographics

Compare and contrast infographics are great for providing a visual representation of two sides of a debate or a hot-button issue. This type of infographic can’t be used in every situation. A compare and contrast is only useful if there are two sides to an issue.

These are often displayed with a direct down-the-middle split, with facts or beliefs from one side on the left and the opposing views on the right. However, you may also see this type of graphic broken down by specific argument or point in a top-to-bottom format with opposing views displayed one after another. Any hotly debated issue within politics is a popular target for a compare and contrast infographic.

Timeline or Evolution Infographics

An evolution infographic displays a course of events over time. It’s no surprise then that infographics have been around for a long time in educational works discussing history. The evolution of man, for instance, is represented in textbooks and other documents utilizing a visual silhouette of what a human looked like during each point in time.

Timeline infographics can be created about anything that has changed over time, visually calling out each significant event during a specified time interval. The evolution of gun control, of women’s right to vote, and of the history of the United States are perfect examples of the timeline infographic, yet each carries a very distinct set of characteristics and events.

The timeline infographic is also more versatile than it appears on the surface. A timeline may not be the initial format a reader would expect to see illustrating the U.S. national debt, for instance. But depicting the information in a timeline format provides a different perspective on the topic, which is typically illustrated by Venn diagrams showing how the U.S. Government is spending money.

Bottom Line

Infographics make an impact.  They grab the reader’s attention by presenting information in a unique yet useful way, giving the reader a different perspective or way of looking at a specific issue. The visual impact of an infographic provides a deeper understanding, conveying what is sometimes difficult to explain in words.  Much information can be presented in more than one way. The type of infographic best in any given situation depends both on the nature of the discussion and the impact you want to have. Think carefully about what you’re trying to communicate visually and plan out how it would look using different graphic formats. Choose the type which will be most meaningful to your audience.



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