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Elliot Cowan

The Power of Infographics: How Do They Create Impact?

Elliot Cowan
The Power of Infographics: How Do They Create Impact?

It's important to create visual stories that people share. Sure, we’d love to write you a sonnet about the wonders of data, but no one would read it. That’s why we make infographics at Here’s My Chance,.

An infographic is simply data visualized. Infographics transform boring data into a captivating, memorable imagery. Asking someone to read a data report requires a lot of attention and time. Turning that report into an infographic streamlines the process while increasing the probability that your reader will retain the information.

Humans are visual learners: 90% of information transmitted to our brains is visual. Compare the difference in effectiveness between the following text slide versus an infographic.

This is boring!

Boring infographic

This is interesting!

Excellent Infographic Example

Infographics convey more information in a better way – and faster.

Data Visualization Techniques

We see infographics all the time. For example, remember learning the Periodic Table of Elements in high school chemistry? The periodic table is something that is a graphical representation of all the elements in the world, and we see it all the time. It uses basic squares with code in each of the squares explaining what the different elements are. Our example is also color-coded to show the different types of elements as well. But this a simple example.

Periodic Table

Here’s a map from the Obama-Romney election. If you used a bar chart to explain or show the different states, what the numbers were and who'd won what, it wouldn't have nearly as much impact as when you look at a map of the United States and see which states are red and which states are blue. It’s all interesting information, but as just explanatory text, it doesn't quite have the impact as a map does. A map is something that you can instantly understand and you can immediately relate to what's going on.

Obama Romney Red Blue

What Makes for a Good Visual?

So we have shapes that people recognize, maps, basic geometry…these are just a few of the things that are used on a regular basis. These are the basic elements for explaining numbers and figures. They are simple, yet effective ways to display the same information. What makes for good content within the techniques? We believe it’s the following…

  • The Right Data: Not all data can be visualized. You need the right kind of information. SEMrush is a great resource to gather keyword data for broader types of infographics. For a nonprofit organization, specific types of data such as programming information, yearly financials, and number of individuals served are all easily visualized.
  • The Right Theme: Graphics should fit the organization’s brand and overall personality. It would be weird to see a bank using bumble-gum pink and turquoise just the same as it would be confusing if a youth serving nonprofit used only gray and black tones. 
  • Simplicity: The more details that are added, the harder an infographic is to digest. It gets overcomplicated and people cannot wrap their heads around it. The best ones are direct.
  • Matching the Form to the Channel: If the visualization is something that is only being shared on a digital platform, it should be designed in a format that is very different than a print piece. Long scrolling infographics don’t work on postcards.

Are You Ready for an Infographic?

So, how do you know if the time is right for your organization to invest this effective piece of communication? Here’s My Chance asks our clients five questions to help them understand their communication needs and decide whether it’s the right time to develop an infographic.

  1. Do you have material that needs explaining? Is there something that your audience is struggling to understand? A year or financials or your latest annual report? If so, an infographic might be right for you.
  2. Do you have at least five pieces of data/information that aren’t being comprehended the way you want them to be? You need at least five to convey the story or they won’t look great as an infographic.
  3. Do you have a specific audience in mind for this graphic? For example, are you targeting donors, internal staff, or external possible partners? Knowing whom you want the infographic to be directed towards can change a lot about the end product.
  4. What’s your end goal? Are you trying to make more money or simply boost publicity? You must have a specific goal in mind to be able to measure success.
  5. Lastly, how will you distribute the infographic? Will it be print, digital, or part of a big annual report? These all change the dynamic, layout choices, and even style of the graphic as well.

When You Should Use Infographic

3 Tips for Success

If you’re ready for an infographic, the best way to bring your ideas to life is to work with a creative agency that truly understands your brand and vision. An agency can make sure the visuals are easily shareable on your chosen media channels and make your content digestible and relevant. Here are our top tips for making sure you achieve a fantastic outcome.

  • Have a clear end goal. What is it that you're going to talk about, and what do you want people to come away with? You need to tell a story and follow a path within that infographic so that people start from the beginning, get to the end of the infographic, and then they've got everything that they need that you want them to get.
  • Determine an overall aesthetic. Limit the color palette. It needs to be on brand with who you are. If your work is with children your message should be entirely different than if you're working with people in the upper age ranges. You need to have a clear message so that you have your overall aesthetic locked down.
  • Avoid special effects. Lots of drop shadows and 3D things take away from what it is that you're trying to say. Most successful graphics are flat vector graphics that use color, size, and position to help the readers see what is important. You need to highlight the numbers, figures, or stats that you want people to come away with.

Infographics are an effective way to provide information, increase awareness, boost brand advocacy, and motivate action. Whether it's a snappy graph to make your outcomes look outstanding or iconography you can't take your eyes off of, data visualization presents your information in a way that begs to be shared.

Join the Webinar

Join me on an SEMrush webinar about effective infographics on Tues., Feb. 16. Register here – it's free!

Do you have any questions about infographics? Ask below or during the webinar.


Elliot Cowan is the Creative Director at Here's My Chance.

Elliot Cowan

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

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