May 1

Infographics: More than just bar charts and clip art

“The goal is to transform data into information, and information into insight.”
Carly Fiorni, President of Hewlett Packard 1999-2005


Business is becoming more data driven. Chances are your consumers or clients love data, too – as evidenced by the rising popularity of infographics.

Some think infographics are easy – all you do is slap some clipart with a bar graph on colored background and call it an infographic, right? Unfortunately, that’s what a lot of them turn out to be. In reality, an infographic is a cohesive set of data that flows seamlessly from one bite of information to the next.

Elements of today’s infographics are purposeful and strategic. It’s important to keep in mind the reason and key takeaways you want your audience to remember. Are you trying to convey stats about the effects of drug addiction? Or are you trying to persuade your audience to vote for the passage of a new millage? These two graphics will have two completely looks and impressions.

There are a few key elements to the infographic, but the star of the show is always the data. You need compelling data presented in an intriguing way to really make an infographic worthwhile.

For example, Sabo PR does a lot of municipal work and are annually called on to make budgets understandable and engaging. Anyone can read your budget report but why does your audience care about the information? How can you make the fact that you poured six tons of concrete interesting? Try “We poured the same amount of concrete it took to build Michigan’s Mackinac Bridge into street repairs this year.” See the difference? You’ve just made a fact memorable.

When considering an infographic, envision how you want it to look. Are you tackling a fun topic, like the elements of the perfect Instagram photo or something more serious in tone, like crisis communication? Whatever your topic, be sure the accompanying art is reflects the style and tone.

Lastly, flow is important. Take the crisis communication example from above. It wouldn’t make sense to start with the last step in your crisis process. You want to start with the first, to ensure the audience is able to follow along, in this case, in a chronologically matter. Whatever form you present data, you want it to make sense for your audience.

Infographics are a great to tool to present data in a fun, useful and engaging way. When done properly, they have a profound effect on the audience for retaining valuable information – and advancing your brand or mission.

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