The Guide to a Successful Infographic for the Design-Challenged

Infographics are not my best friend.

The last time I made an infographic was over a year ago and the experience was horrible. I struggled with everything from color palettes to pie charts.

When I sat down in my PR Strategic Communication class (the class I’m writing this blog for) on the first day and read the syllabus, I found that one of the assignments was to create an infographic.

NOOOO!!!! (Insert overly dramatic crying emoji)

Infographics tap in to the biggest source of my frustration about myself: I have an image in my head but cannot create it on a page. I never could. Ever since I was young, I’ve had good ideas in my head for drawings, crafts, magazine layouts and photographs but I could never translate those visions onto paper for other people to see.

I’m a PR major, my creativity naturally comes through my writing. Why do I need to force myself to translate that creativity into an aesthetically pleasing graphic design?

Because infographics are POWERFUL. Here’s why:

  1. People like facts, messages and stories.
  2. People like visually appealing things.

It’s simple, really. Why do good ads work? They present information and are visually appealing. Infographics are a brilliant way to communicate a message in a way that is simple and easy to look at.

Truth is, infographics have everything to do with PR. They function to tell stories and communicate messages in a visually appealing way.

I decided to do my infographic on the security measures for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The security in Sochi is a huge topic of discussion that got a lot of press before and during the games.

We all know that creating an infographic isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but this experience was much smoother than my previous one. Below are my tips for a stress-free infographic creation experience for those of you that are design-challenged like me.

  1. Pick a good topic. The topic is everything. The accessibility to numbers and facts will make or break your ability to create a good infographic. It is also important to pick a topic that people are talking about. What’s hot right now? What is your target audience interested in knowing?
  2. Sketch a draft. It’s just like writing a backgrounder for the media kit you’re putting together. Gather your facts and create a draft before you sit down to polish up the real thing. Grab a pencil and draw out some ideas of what you want your infographic to look like. That way, when you sit down at the computer, InDesign or Piktochart (InDesign for the design-challenged, a.k.a. my new best friend) won’t be so daunting.
  3. Pick a color scheme. Infographics need to be uniform, so pick a few colors that complement each other and stick with them. It will make your work much more visually appealing.
  4. Stay simple. You don’t need to go crazy. Don’t spend hours thinking of the most creative way to portray that 3 out of 10 people do this or that. Maybe the best way is to just put 10 human silhouettes on the page and make 3 of them red and the rest of them black. Simple, but visually appealing.

I will happily say, that after working for two weeks, I am happy with my infographic.

J452 infographic

Any and all comments and feedback about my infographic, my tips or my experience with infographics are welcome! I’d also love to hear from you about your experience with infographics and any other tips you have.


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