Why infographics work

Infographics have been an interesting addition to communication as they can provide a huge amount of information on one page and do it in a highly visual way. When they are good they are engaging and interesting for the viewer but they are not all good.

Nowadays you don’t have to be a whizz with graphics packages as there are now many online options available. These are packages that provide a range of templates, icons and styles but they can also allow you to develop your own infographic from scratch or drop in images or video. Some of these work really well and with a little thought you can put some interesting pages together.

So, what is it about infographics that appeals to many people?

I think there are a few key elements. The first is that it is, at its best, very simple with a key fact placed alongside some icon or graphics. At a glance you should be able to see what it says and understand it. Secondly, it can provide the contents of an annual report on just one page. Alright, it doesn’t have the narrative that will be included in a traditional annual report but the challenge when developing the infographic is to aim to feature some of the background.

Thirdly, we all love some killer facts. The one I loved this week was that in the first three months of 2014 Greater Manchester Police reached 8.4M people with online content which is enough to fill Wembley 105 times. We all love to these facts. That it would take us to the moon and back or fill so many Olympic size swimming pools. 

Finally, in such a busy world we need to gather our information quickly and more efficiently. Very few people will sit down and read through a traditional Sunday newspaper for a few hours. We just want to gather the headlines, the top stories, the key information. Infographics allow us to do this.

It has to be said that when they are done badly they can very quickly switch people off, and this is also true if it is overused by an organisation. But that said, infographics offer another communication tool to consider using.

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