Illustrate a Complex Concept into an Easy-To-Understand Infographic
Infographics have been increasing in demand since 2012.
Infographics have been used in storytelling and advertising as far back as we can trace in human history. Cave paintings are fundamentally historic stories being illustrated by primitive people who like us have pains, memorable events and are in need of innovative solutions. You can then start a conversation about hieroglyphics, rune-stones and other civilizations that used drawings to rely information and communicate as a language.
For the last five years, Google Trends (see chart below) shows the increase in searches for infographics has been steadily rising, with a predicatable drop every December - which I assume is in correlation with the holiday season, where business owners and marketing directors are hitting the pause button to recoup before progressing forward in the new year.
With the continually rise in the demand for infographics, you don't have to ponder too deep to figure out why infographics are becoming a core tool in the marketing kits for many businesses.
The primary 4 reasons for the increase in infographic demand are:
- Shorter attention spans, which demand and expect instant answers that are easy to understand.
- The rise in mobile usage, where the vertical cascading layout of infographics are optimal.
- Quality content is demanded by all social media users, who want to share superior content to build their followings, brand and to continue presenting themselves in an successful, intelligent portrait to their followers. (which I agree isn't a healthy habit for the betterment of society)
- Advertisements bombard online users every moment of the day, and are easily ignored or simply annoy the user, while not providing them value to consume or share.
Infographics have BIG VALUE.
In our society where information is consumed quickly, we have spawned the problems of fake news and clickbait to grab eyeballs. To sprinkle more problems on information consumption issues – people accept info as truth without source checking, reading alternate perspectives, or considering if the information they read was sponsored by a company or media outlet with an agenda.
Infographics can certainly be used to report fake news, clickbait and biased perspectives painted as truth. But the value in a well-done infographic is you can write a narrative supported by balanced sources to provide your reader a clear picture on the topic – quickly and efficiently.
Since time is an issue when presenting information, the stronger you can illustrate the entire topic or story, will provide the reader not only with accurate information, but with quality content they can share, educating others while promoting your business or project.
Infographics blend information with poster art.
When I started simultaneously learning and working in graphic design in 2005, I was driven by two visual deliverables - site plan renderings and posters. A dozen years later, I still get excited when I see a site plan rendering or poster scheduled in my calendar.
Poster art which blends with album, book, and cover art, is where graphic design and art dance together. The goal of a poster is to bring awareness to an event or business, while using typography, illustration, photography or a mixed-media approach to grab the attention of a person, enticing them to read what the poster is about, then perform the call to action.
I believe infographics are in demand and work well with audiences from millennials to baby-boomers because infographics piggyback on illustration artwork that is similar to poster design – transforming standard corporate graphics into a higher-caliber visual with engaging colors, forms, details, precision and accuracy.
What exactly is an infographic?
Over the years, when I have a client request an infographic, there's sometimes confusion on what defines an infographic. Is an infographic all data visualizations or clever illustrations? Or is an infographic sequential art or a single image? And this conversation can go on to page size, layout and using 3D versus 2D graphics. My definition of an infographic is:
An infographic is any visual that is intended to educate the reader in an accurate, easy-to-understand format.
For me, I tell my clients the graphic style and layout doesn't change what an infographic is. As long as your goal is to educate with graphics, then you are building an infographic.
What are the goals of an infographic?
In your business, you can use infographics to educate your reader on a complex solution, innovative product or unique idea you have. By using an infographic you allow the reader to see your vision in a simple format, showing the reader you have a clear and strong understanding of your topic. I'll remind you of the famous quote from Einstein:
“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
And don't worry, during most infographic projects, the conversation will start to focus on what your business is about and who you serve. But beyond clarity, the 3 main goals of an infographic is to improve your marketing and advertising efforts via:
Driving traffic to your website via social media and email.
- Engaging social media users, providing them quality content to share with their followers, which provides you advertising that can grow exponentially.
- Educating a customer on your service or product, during a meeting or presentation.
Illustrating a complex topic.
In the infographic below, I took the complex topic of underbite correction, and illustrated the topic and solution into an easy-to-understand graphic.
The topic of dentistry, whether it's family, cosmetic or surgical is beyond the majority of peoples daily conversations. I don't know about you, but I don't sit around chatting with my peeps about oral health or the professional practitioners who dwell in this industry.
Yet, the medical industry is ideal for infographics. From high school anatomy books to doctorate literature, scientific illustrations decoding medical conditions and procedures draws back before the da Vinci days.
This need for combining words with drawings continues today and follows a structure that takes the reader from the topic, through the pain points, into the solution and call to action.
Introducing the Topic
The beginning of an infographic is intended to introduce the idea of your topic to your reader. This gives your reader a clear view of what your infographic is about, hint at the solution, and let them decide immediately if this topic is relevant to them.
If the topic of discussion is relevant, they will be encouraged to read on, and if not, then you can disqualify them from your sales funnel.
You want to address the pain points in the top portion of the infographic, because after a reader has identified with the topic, you immediately want to resonate with their pains. You first define the pain, as you see I defined what an underbite is and three bullet points of what occurs with this condition.
After you address the pain in general, you want to agitate the pain before you move into speaking about the solution. In this infographic, the pain of an underbite is agitated by the current solution which requires unnecessary jaw surgery, grinding down teeth and having the correct location of your jaw being an assumption, not a precise decision.
When introducing the solution to your reader, you want to simply state what your solution is, providing your reader a clear understanding of what you're accomplishing, then move into the details.
As you see in the adjacent infographic, I introduced the underbite treatment, explaining how the transformation is a predictable treatment completed in 3 weeks. Then I illustrated the four steps of the process, allowing the reader to correlate pictures to each step of the treatment plan.
Call to Action
At the conclusion of the infographic you want to circle back and note on the original pain points, before you tell the reader the next step in the process.
In this infographic I made sure to mention jaw surgery once again, and how it's not needed and how it's inferior to this solution. From there, the reader can then move into booking a consultation to have their underbite corrected.