Let Your Data Find Your Story Quickly


Writing a story or narrative for an infographic can be a time-consuming challenge, especially if you don't have a direction to aim for. With no bearing, you're building a puzzle with no reference image, trying to make pieces fit as you go...there's a better way.

In advertising and copywriting there's always a theme to follow. Whether the goal is to educate or manipulate a consumer to make a decision, performing this skill isn't magic. There's research, studies and testing that goes on. Using this information, leads to discovering and building a strongly crafted theme to use in storytelling.

There's an overload of unstructured information being used in infographics and educational marketing visuals, that don't tell a smooth story.

The problem I see, is vague percentages after percentages, and percentages about percentages. When data isn't studied to find a pattern or theme, writing an engaging narrative or focused advertising copy is a struggle. Since art follows copy, having a well written narrative is crucial to an effective visual. When information reads clunky, the words and visuals will become non-cohesive. This is because, the story is trying to be written around the data,  versus letting your data be the foundation and voice of your story.

To find your theme to write about – first gather your data, then illustrate your information as simple reference visuals to use as a guide and tool for writing.*

Using my freelance career as a project, I studied my work history and found from June 2009 to June 2016, I've worked with 90 unique clients on 343 projects.

From the data, I found several interesting points.


Line Chart: From June 2012 - June 2014 my new clients increased by 933% 


Map 1: California accounts for 1/5 of my clients


Map 2: Thank you Denver for being 63 of the 343 projects

I find this information interesting, but these facts don't have a strong theme I can use in storytelling and advertising.

The most engaging item I found is shown in the line chart; a drop in new clients from June 2014 to June 2015. During this year, my revenue doubled even though new client relationships dropped almost 60%. This lull occurred because I was retaining client relationships with entrepreneurs and marketing directors, and with the on-going workload, I was not advertising to acquire new work.

Hence a storytelling theme I can build on from this data is – I'm building stronger on-going relationships with clients. With this discovery and data to back it up, I can use this to benefit myself in an infographic or other marketing deliverable.

*These maps were coded in Processing. After the code is written, I can simply update my spreadsheet file, then re-save to adjust the density and size of the circles. The line chart is set-up in Squarespace, which is easy to update manually or via uploading a .csv file. 

Free DIY Chart Tools:

Chris Brock