A happy boy coloring walls

Infographics are relatively new; new enough for the word "infographic" not to be recognized by my spellchecker. As with all things "new" on the interwebs their comes a near obsessive, cult-like following that insists that this phenomenal new thing will be the massive change to overtake the online world and alter the way we computer forever. So here's a very blatant attempt at trying to capture some of that traffic.

If you've been reading our blogs (and I know you have) you've been seeing our infographics cropping up. They're amazing aren't they? You're jealous aren't you? Well prepare to kick your infographic jealousy to the curb my dear reader for I am about to teach you to create your own infographics in five (relatively) easy steps.

Before we get started you're going to want an infographic creator of some sort. We us an online application called www.piktochart.com (no, we're not affiliates - we're just good folks that pass on good information when we're happy with a good company). This isn't the only tool available for the task but, so far, it's our favorite.

I'm assuming for the sake of our exercise that you already have the "idea" for your infographic or are capable of conjuring one up when the time comes. I assume this because teaching people how to generate ideas is a far more lengthy process than five steps and an endeavour I'm not interested in undertaking.

Step 1: Breaking it up

Infographics are valuable because they take high value information and deliver it in a way that allows users to focus on the primary take-aways without having to do something as boring as, say, read a blog. Realizing this, its important that you break up your subject matter in a manner that is easily displayed in a graphic. I wouldn't recommend having more than fifteen "components" to your infographic though there are many a good infographic with more than that. Here's a great example of a high value infographic that has twenty components

Step 2: Storyboard

Before you tackle the arduous task of drawing up your infographic just to play the "scrap it" game and start over from scratch trying sketching out what you think your infographic should look like. Make sure the similar information is grouped together, higher value information is given prominent placing and that you're able to "tell a story" through the use of your infographic. There's a point you're trying to make or information you're trying to convey - what's the best way to convey that information?

Step 3: The Graphics

Generate the "bite sized" pieces of the infographic first. The single components are more important that the graphic as a whole because each individual component is what truly delivers the core value - for this reason the single components should be generated first and then pieced together accordingly. "That which matters most should never be at the mercy of that which matters least."

Make sure to use relevant graphics for each facet of information. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Is a pie chart more appropriate where you've inserted a bar chart?
  • What is the most visually stimulating way to communicate each piece of information?
  • What graphics will elicit the most emotion / interest?
  • What type of graphics will my target audience relate with?

Step 4: Piece it together

Now that you've prepared each component pull it together as closely to your initial storyboard as you're able to do. Chances are you'll need to make some modifications which is a good problem to have because it meant you got creative! That's fine - don't stick to the plan for the sake of the plan, make changes that are necessary to the improvement of your infographic as a whole.

Make sure that when you piece your infographic together you focus on the potential narrative at hand. Not all infographics can tell a story but the ones that can are almost always the most effective.

Step 5: Promote it!

Infographics are made to go social - start by posting the graphic on your blog so your site has the earliest occurrence of the infographic. Then blast it out across your social media properties: facebook, twitter and pinterest! Pinterest specifically is a perfect place for infographic promotion and is sure to get your media re-pinned in the shortest amount of time. The best part about infographics is that you can choose to conjure them back up and re-promote them over time (assuming they're still relevant).