March 11, 2011

The art of good infographic design

An information graphic – or ‘infographic’ – is a visual explanation of data/knowledge. They illustrate information that would otherwise be lengthy and unwieldy to explain using text alone. One of the best examples of this would be the London Underground map.

This method of graphically representing a topic has become a useful tool for online marketers. When designed well they can be a fantastic means of quickly gaining traffic, social network likes and, most importantly, lots of lovely links. The aim is to create an emotive response from the viewer.

That’s the theory, anyway. But in practice, it doesn’t always work that way.

Often an idea that, on paper, looked like it would spread like wildfire across the social network ends up failing to ignite any excitement. That’s why careful planning and timely implantation are necessary to ensuring that your infographic has the best chance of succeeding.


Don’t feel guilty about spending time on websites like Twitter, Digg and Reddit. You need to know your audience and understand what the hot topics are. Popular tags on Digg at present are ‘tech news’, ‘Apple’, ‘movies’ and ‘gadgets’. If you can get your infographic to fit into one of these categories you are off to a good start.

Once you think you have a good idea you will need to test it out, and who better than your work colleagues? If your idea goes down like a lead zeppelin then arrange a brainstorm to put things right.

Inject some humour

Once your concept is agreed you need to make it more likely to be shared on various online communities. The easiest way to do this is to add some humour. If your infographic can make someone smile then there is more chance that they will share it with friends and colleagues.


You will need to hand over your idea to a designer; if you don’t have an in-house designer then you need to find a good freelancer. This final stage is really important, so you need to get it right. Capitalising on a hot topic, perfect timing and a good concept are all well and good, but if the design itself doesn’t work then it will all be for nothing. Communication is the key to success.

Pick the best time

To get the most out of your infographic you need to add it to the social websites at a time that captures the widest possible audience. Time your posting carefully if you’re hoping to go internationally viral. A wise move would be to post when it is likely to get picked up by the USA. If you want to soak up some of that traffic then post between 7pm and 9pm (GMT). Not only is it good for UK evening browsing traffic but it is also lunchtime in the USA – perfect!