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What is an Infographic?

Photo: Infographic

When you hear the world “infographic,” what do you think of? If you’re like many, you probably think of a chart or just about any visual item you recently viewed on the Internet. While that’s the case, you should know that infographics didn’t come into being as the Internet evolved into what it is today. In fact, their origins can be traced all the way back to cave drawings dating back thousands and thousands of years.
With that said, you might be asking yourself, “What is an infographic?” in an entirely new context now. Although that’s certainly understandable, the point of an infographic hasn’t changed since they were first used to relay information. The definition of an infographic has always been, and will forever be, intricately entwined with its original purpose.
Since their origins, infographics have been used to relay information in a pictorial manner that’s easy to comprehend. Infographics are useful tools that can be used to make complex subjects more readily digestible. They are also helpful for displaying data, mapping relationships, displaying trends and highlighting vital insights.

Types of Infographics

Given their versatility, infographics naturally come in various forms. In general, infographics can be categorized based on their purpose and how they present information to viewers. As you become increasingly familiar with infographics, you’ll quickly realize that a given infographic will have characteristics that are often seen in infographics that fall into other categories.
If you’re going to use an infographic to relay information, it’s important for you to choose the right kind of visual. You need to carefully consider the type of information you want to communicate when you’re selecting a format. You also need to think about the audience that will view your infographic. No matter what kind of format you decide to go with, it’s important that you make sure your visual is not overcrowded with too much information or text.

Informational Infographic

Compared to other kinds of infographics, informational visuals typically have significantly more text. While an informational infographic may include icons, different shapes and other visual elements, they normally emphasize the words that are included in the display.

Timeline Infographic

A timeline infographic is exactly what its name implies – a demonstration of things that occurred in chronological order. This type of display is often used to portray the development of a product, the sequence in which historical events took place or how a concept evolved from an idea into a reality.
A timeline infographic is usually presented in one of three ways, vertically, horizontally or in a winding fashion. Vertical and winding infographics are often easier for viewers to read while horizontal displays are fabulous when space isn’t a concern. Graphic elements are common features in timeline infographics, such as icons and vivid images.

Chart Infographic

As you probably guessed, this type of infographic features a chart of some sort. Chart infographics are often used when you want to compare one or more things to something else. If you want to compare the number of victories and losses each major league baseball team has accrued over the years, for example, a chart infographic would be a good way to relay that information.

Pie Chart Infographic

Whereas chart infographics generally present comparative information in a side by side manner, pie charts use chunks of a circle to communicate how different components relate to one another. If you want to communicate the percentages of the population that lives at, below and above the poverty line, a pie chart would be an effective way to share that information.

How-To Infographic

A how-to infographic visually portrays the steps that are necessary to achieve a certain outcome. If you want to share a recipe for making the perfect cheesecake, a how-to infographic would be a wonderful way to break down the steps involved with preparing the scrumptious dessert.

Process Infographic

Also known as “flowcharts” and “decision trees,” process infographics are the somewhat distant cousin of how-to infographics. The main difference between process infographics and how-to infographics is that process visuals portray the steps that lead up to a decision.
In general, arrows and lines are used to connect the sequential steps in a process infographic. Process infographics are commonly used to demonstrate how projects are planned and how processes will be implemented.

Comparison Infographic

This kind of display highlights the differences and commonalities of two or more things. A comparison infographic ordinarily emphasizes the advantages and downsides of one thing compared to the available alternatives. The number of sections a comparison infographic includes is determined by the number of things the visual is comparing.

Number Infographic

A number infographic distinguishes itself from others by its heavy emphasis on the numbers it presents. If you want to share information that relays how much recyclable material ends up in landfills or the numeric terms of an auto loan, mortgage or home equity loan, a number infographic is a good choice.

Resume Infographic

A resume infographic is often paired with a traditional resume, but it’s a visual summary of all the things that separate you from other job applicants. If a prospective employer has specifically requested that applicants submit concise CVs, it’s typically advisable to send an expertly prepared resume infographic that can be reviewed quickly and easily.

Elements of an Infographic

While infographics differ in terms of their purpose and layout, they normally have some elements in common. Here are some of the visual elements you’ll see in many infographics regardless of their purpose and format:

  • Various Colors
  • Numerous Fonts
  • Several Icons
  • Multiple Images
  • Numbers and/or Percentages

How to Use Infographics in Your Campaigns

Of course, infographics rarely stand alone. Depending on the type of infographic you’ve created, you may want to use it on your website, in a blog post, as part of an email marketing campaign, or to illustrate a point in a white paper. A strong infographic can also be used to quickly display complex data on social media, and can be a way to catch a potential client’s attention on twitter or Facebook.
Outside of the digital realm, infographics can be used as part of your company’s print marketing collateral. From brochures to direct mail, they can help bring trends and statistical information to life.
If you’re looking for ways to connect with your audience, schedule a discovery session with Musselwhite Marketing. We’re experts in content marketing, and can help build and expand your business’s presence.

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