13 Equally Engaging Alternatives To Infographics

13 Equally Engaging Alternatives To Infographics

Some people in our industry really hate infographics.

I’ll be honest:

I never woke up one day and said “I want to create a couple thousand infographics.”

But I did like getting top tier links for our clients and at the time, infographics were the best tool to achieve this.

The reason was simple: Most publishers didn’t have the design capability in-house but they knew that readers love this type of content so the marketers could fill in the gap and in exchange get exposure for their clients.

And this was the reason why we chose to double down and only produce infographics for the last couple of years.

Fast forward to 2017 and visual content is no longer new.

image5

Lots of publishers now produce their own simple infographics.

Infographics, even great ones, are finding it hard to push through the noise.

So, should we all close up shop and start selling guest posts?

Thankfully not, there are lots of format types beyond infographics and in this post I will share with you 13 great examples you can use in future campaigns.

And the great news is, if you’ve ever made a great infographic, you can apply the same skills to creating different types of great visual content; creativity, research, copywriting and design.

I have purposely ignored interactive content such as:

It adds another layer of complexity (development) that is not already part of the core skills mentioned above that you’re currently applying to infographics.

1. Maps

Maps are often given as an example of the original infographic with the first known map seen in back in 600 BC.

Maps work well because they are something that we can call recognise and understand.

They don’t need to be boring maps like you find in an atlas, they can be as creative as you want.

If Frodo Had Google Maps

image19
Source: Reddit

The Meaning Behind The Names of Every State in the United States

image32-1024x992
Source: Expedia Canada
The World’s Tourism Slogans Mapped image23-1024x498 Source: Familybreakfinder

If you want to get inspired, feel free to take a look at the sub-reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/

Don’t be put off by the name as it’s safe for work and has a community of over 300k subscribers and lots of people that create original content.

2. Charts

I would like to give Rand Fishkin a nod for bringing this topic up back in 2013: Why Visual Assets > Infographics – Whiteboard Friday.

As history has proven, Rand was a little quick to declare infographics as losing effectiveness back in 2013. But he was right about moving to a visual assets and charts at some point.

Good charts work well because they take something complex and make it easier for the reader to understand.

Every audience will have some issue that is very complex that can be made easier using a good chart.

Fidget Spinners are Over

image2 source: FiveThirtyEight

Year-Over-Year Market Share Growth Rate, by Operating System

image20

Source: Quartz

If You Bought a Case of Beer at a Ballpark

image25

Source: Scott Berinato

Having the confidence to produce just one chart is tricky and forces you to focus your ideation, research, content and data visualization design but the end results can be phenomenal.

3. Photo Manipulation

Photo manipulation used to be something only available to those with massive budgets.

You will be amazed at what can be done with a creative idea and someone who knows how to use Photoshop.

Perceptions of Perfection

 

image14

Source: Superdrug

Update 8th January 2018:

Since this post was published, the team at NeoMam experimented with photo manipulation and developed seven hybrid cities for Expedia.com.

Design_V1-04_Sydnakech_Sydney_Marrakech-1024x540

It was a lot harder to pull off then we expected, but we are pleased with the result. With regards to results, this content got featured on the web with some standout features from Lonely Planet and Archdaily, and the team are still promoting it around the web.

4. 3D Design Renders

Another benefit of the increase in computing power available to consumers are the 3D renders.

It provides you with the ability to create something totally unique.

Star Wars Landscape Renders

image10-1024x720

Source: /u/BundeswehrBoyo
This Render of the Samsung Galaxy S8 Design image1 Source: Android Authority

Seven Vehicles To Survive The End Of The World

image9

Source: WhoCanFixMyCar

We have used it a lot for our auto clients, but don’t let that put you off from trying something totally different for another audience.

5. Architectural Plans / Technical Drawing

If you follow our work at NeoMam you will have seen that we produced a number of floor plans for a campaign and got over 100 referring domains.

See below.

The Floor Plan of Joyce’s House From Stranger Things

image24

Source: Homes.com

Doctor Who: Dalek Blueprint

image31

Source: Atomic Toasters

6. Posters Series

Someone once said that infographics were just posters online and I really liked that concept.

However, with this format, we are keeping close to the aesthetic style of posters of previous eras.

This format has already performed well for ourselves and other agencies yet there is still plenty of opportunity for something new.

Space Tourism Posters

image18

Source: NASA

Stranger Things Alternative

image30-729x1024

Source: MleegArt

Unknown Tourism – Commemorating the Wildlife We’ve Lost

image13-724x1024

Source: Expedia.co.uk

Bonus points for giving your readers a way to receive it in the real world such as a printing service.

7. ‘Real World Stuff’

Vinyl is coming back so why not create online content offline.

This is certainly not for the faint hearted but I am certainly excited about getting crafty and producing something unique for clients.

Star Wars Recreated In Cross Stitch Tapestry image27-1024x1024 Source: Aled Lewis

Korean Barista Turns Cups of Coffee into Amazing Works of Art

image15

Source: Kangbin Lee

Recycled Glove How-to: Make a Chipmunk Softie

image22

Source: Etsy

8. Looking at Everyday Objects in a New Way

Great creative ideas are often born out of creating something new from something old.

This format takes recognisable ideas but brings them to life in a new and innovative way.

Retracing Reggae Record Sleeves Photographed in London

image12-1024x684

Source: Alex Bartsch

National Flags Created From the Foods Each Country Is Commonly Associated With

image28

Source: WHYBIN\TBWA

For every audience, there will be something recognisable that can be tweaked to create something unique and awesome.

A Collection of Artist Interpretations of Emoji

image16

Source: Emoji Book

U.S. Dollar Bills Re-Designed

image7

Source: Travis Purrington

Update 8th January 2018

At the end of 2017, we produced an idea that took something we all knew and loved – The Simpsons home and re-imagined it in 8 different architectural styles.

Reimagining-The-Simpsons-House-in-8-Architectural-Styles_Option-1

We also decided to use a simple gif transition and then ended up with the above. This campaign went everywhere and 98 features across the web including Boingboing and apartmentherapy.com

Based on the results of this campaign we are going to do a lot more ideas that take something we can all relate to and show it in a new way.

9. Flow Charts

We all remember reading flow charts in the back of Cosmogirl back in early 2000’s?

Maybe that was just me, but you get the idea.

Flow charts are simple to digest but a real pain to produce, often a good sign when it comes to content.

As the producer of the content you are responsible for presenting the information, so the reader can easily digest it without reading and understanding lots of text.

The Beatles – Hey Jude Flowchart

image35-768x1024

Source: Sarah Emerson

Should You Call That Meeting?

image29-755x1024

Source: Ted.com

Should You Friend Your Parents on Facebook?

image33-645x1024

Source: Mike Newman

I often recommend this format to people who have lots of time but no money for expensive design.

10. Crowd Sourced Visuals

Getting interesting research is a major challenge for creating content that stands out.

With this format, you don’t just rely on your individual research as you can tap into the collective knowledge of a community.

The View from Here

Moving photos taken from windows around the world.

image21

Source: Somfy Systems

15 immigrants give their first impressions of America.

image8

Source: #100DaysofUSArrivals

Cafe Art’s MyLondon Calendar Project
A photography calendar created by people who have been homeless. Unique photos, inspiring stories.

The logistics are not easy as you actually have to get input from lots of different people. But when it works, journalists love it.

11. Illustrations

Custom illustrations allow you to create something totally unique.

As everyone now has access to a stock image service, lots of visual content looks really similar.

But no one will have has access to the illustrations that you create.

In an effort to sustain results for the long form infographic, we have moved to an illustration dominant style but we have also seen many uses of illustrations on their own.

The Literal English Translation of Unusual Foreign Phrases

image3-1024x683

Source: Paul Blow

2 Kinds of People

image11-1024x512

 Source: João Rocha

Illustrations That Explain Arabic Words’ Meaning

image34-745x1024

Source: Mahmoud El Sayed

The great thing with this format is how flexible it can be and you are restrained only by your creativity.

12. Animated GIFs

Gif’s are well and truly back as you can see by checking out the popular tab on Reddit.com.

And today, designers can do some really awesome things with them. I have covered Eleanor Lutz before when I last talked about animated infographics.
Eleanor Lutz and Jacob O’Neal show you that you can do more with the format than just create animated memes.

Planet Earth Control Deck
What Earth’s control panel might look like if it was a spaceship piloted by humans.

ezgif com-optimize-1024x1024

Source: Tabletop Whale

The Time Escape Series
Where would we travel if we could travel in time?

image36-724x1024

Source: Expedia Canada

Just be careful as if they become too complex, they can turn into a clunky mess.

13. Taxonomy

I didn’t actually know what the word taxonomy meant until it was proposed as an idea to me by someone on our team.

To save you a Google, it simply means “a scheme of classification.”

The reason I love taxonomies is that they can be applied to any sector and can be really fun as the examples from Pop Chart Lab below show you.

The Taxonomy of Fruits & Vegetables

image37

Source: Pop Chart Lab

The Cartography of Kitchenware

image4

Source: Pop Chart Lab
A Plotting of Fiction Genres image17 Source: Pop Chart Lab

Conclusion

I really hope this post has been useful and that it will inspire you for your next campaign.

This list is certainly not complete, so I would appreciate if you could share any content you have seen or even created yourself that deserves to be included.

Finally, remember the best content in the world is no good unless you know how to promote it.

Download the same template our outreach team uses below.

Until next time.


Featured Image Source: ValeStock / Shutterstock.com

Danny Ashton
Article by:

Danny Ashton

Coming up with ideas for our campaigns, thinking about what’s next for the content we create, and making sure we work with the right clients.