10 ways to use infographics: part 1

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10 ways to use infographics: part 1

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Part 2 here

Please note: not all images are mine  – please click image for source

Infographics are hot property right now. Many companies use them and image sharing sites like Pinterest and Flickr are full of them. Here are 10 ways you could bring your information to life in an interesting and accessible way.

1. “Linkbait” – sell your services

An example of an infographic used to promote a serviceThis is THE most popular use of infographics. Most of the ones you see online fall into this category.

They tend to be long thin images, stuffed full of interesting facts on a particular subject. They also bear the name of the company which has commissioned the infographic, to promote their services/business.

If the infographic gets some traction online, and goes viral, then the name of the company goes viral along with it They key is to not overdo the promotional message. The infographic has to be interesting in it’s own right otherwise people will not share it. 

Also, think about the subject – pick a topic that will be of interest to potential customers.

Example:The example to the right (click for full image) is an interesting infographic showing a range of education statistics.

I can imagine this being of interest to teachers, education decision makers and funders. These also happen to be the audience who would have a say about the resources used in an educational institution. Scroll to the bottom, and you will see the infographic has been commissioned by Microsoft, to promote their Education services.

2. Journalism – tell a story

New York Times InfographicA growing area for infographics. A major part of journalism is communicating the details of a situation to an audience.

Infographics are a perfect way to show facts, structures and timelines in a different  way. Journalistic infographics  tend to be more stylised and have space to show the detail.

They are are often designed to be examined over a longer period of time than the “snapshot” infographics shown above. The Guardian do great work with animated data visualization (see Reading the Riots) There are also opportunities to use video and animation (I created an animated map to demonstrate the The Spread of Tech over time).

3. Graphic – illustrate an article

A quarter page infographic within a written articleNot many magazines are using infographics instead of photographs for print or online articles (the trend tends to be “infographic instead of written article” or use standard bar and line charts if stats need explaining).

Communicate Magazinefeature an article every month focussing on a reader survey. I create several quarter or half page images, each one deals with 1, 2 or 3 particular questions in the survey.

Flick through the magazine and the article stands out – the images are a stark difference to the photographs and adverts.

If your subject does feature statistics, consider moving away from a dry, Excel-chart format and make better use of the space you have. More Communicate work here

4. Annual Report – revive your statistics

Image of circular infographic used in an annual report

Full image not currently available

Annual reports are a great way to show off your company’s work over the past 12 months. It can also be an opportunity to show off your creativity to investors, clients and customers.

The chart to the right (full image not available) was created for the annual report for the Birmingham-based arts organisation Sampad. They had tried infographics before, but with a smaller report planned, they wanted a compact solution to show a series of figures and I managed to match up the data and use a circular chart with a separate map in the middle.

There is so much scope to use your annual statistics to create something very creative and interesting 0- you never know, people may actually start reading your annual report!

5. Postcards/posters – show off your work

The infographic above presented a large amount of data in a small space. However, infographics can also be used to show a few simple facts into a larger, clear graphic.

If your company is attending a conference, hosting a client/investor social event or simply want something to hand out to prospective clients, an infographic can be a short snappy way to show off your achievements. The key here is to find a few vital facts  – and presenting them in an easy-to-digest and entertaining way.

The set of postcards to the left were created for Gateway Family Services. The cards were to be scattered on tables at a gala event for the organisations key contacts.

There are also plans to use these as posters- which would be incredibly effective. As each deals with a different subject area, the posters could be used in the relevant user-centres.

The postcards can also be used by staff members to celebrate the work of the organisation in a non-formal setting (eg in meetings, and networking events) —– If you are interested in introducing infographics to your business, let’s talk!

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Part 2 coming soon featuring:

  • inserts for video
  • client  explanation / in-house induction
  • audience analysis / internal and external
  • adverts
  • presentations

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About Author

Caroline Beavon

A communication professional with 12 years journalism experience and a genuine passion for new technologies. An experienced blogger and social media user

1 Comment

10 Ways to Use Infographics: part 2

August 5, 2012at 11:07 am

[…] Infographics: part 2 05:08:2012 · by Caroline Beavon · in Data Journalism Share In 10 WAYS TO USE INFOGRAPHICS: PART 1, I talked about using infographics for linkbait, journalism, article illustrations, annual reports […]

"Caroline was a knowledgeable and relaxed trainer who made the course a fun experience" Infographics training attendee, Borough of Poole