Infographic Magic

An infographic's job is to turn complex information into a simple visual. That may be obvious to most of us, but it's not the only thing you need to consider when making a great one.

As a designer, I need to understand the content before I can visualise it. This means thoroughly reading source material (several times), taking notes and working out what can be turned into a visual and what can't. An easy mistake to make is thinking that anything that can be written can be also be realised visually. Some things are best written – where this is the case, don't be afraid to leave them as text.

Secondly, you need to prioritise. Just like any good story, you need a beginning, middle and an end; a narrative. But you also need to let your readers know where you're taking them. If you have lots of things to say, arrange your information by order of importance, create some diversity in your scale and organise content with clear labels and titles. If your infographic is short, try to create a story behind it or an unusual way to travel inside it.

Once you have your content sorted, you can start thinking about the visuals. Here again, the decision of how it looks is not entirely up to you. Because a good infographic understands its audience, you must take the time to develop the correct style. Infographics are made for everyone and can communicate any subject but they need to be accessible for their target audience. Will they prefer colourful or minimal? Can you use pie charts for children? Is humour allowed? Is there an existing brand for the client that must be followed?

I first experienced infographics at school, aged 6. During a maths lesson, a teacher described percentages by drawing a pizza, cut into 6 slices. That was my first experience of pie charts and I can still remember that lesson to this day – that's the power of an infographic.

An infographic isn't only about simplicity. It has to look appealing too. Infographics are here to help people enjoy complex information, so add a pinch of fancy. Be bold but stay professional. In the end, what you really want is for people to absorb your information and remember the content…

Put the power of infographic to the test, by taking a peak at our infographic on the IE team. How much can you remember at the end?

Interested in find out more about IE's infographic work? Check out one of our latest projects for Goldman Sachs, and selection of interesting infographic stats on Instagram, G+ and Twitter, and Liking us on Facebook.