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Gisele Navarro

Operations Director at NeoMam Studios

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.

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Despite having been on the scene for a while now, infographics are still a big part of the media landscape, as proven by the recent viral sensation ‘What Happens One Hour After Drinking a Can of Coke’ and its various spinoffs.

According to BuzzSumo, the original infographic has been shared over 108.9K times across social media since going live this July.  

your body an hour after coke results

In this post, I am going to share with you how we as an agency make infographics that get picked up across the web. I hope our overview will provide the requisite knowledge and inspiration to produce your own results-focused infographics. When most people think of infographics they think of the design, but this is just one stage of the entire process. The first stage everyone needs to work on is what is the idea what information/story are we looking to show?

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Infographics come in all shapes and sizes but they can roughly be categorized into eight distinct types.

1. The Visual Article


Infographics like the above rely on a strong title for success. Just like a journalistic article, the viewer needs to be immediately engaged by the header so that they will carry on reading. Moreover, the content itself must be varied, interesting and plentiful so that readers do not come away disappointed. When done well, the visual article will thrive on social media platforms.

2.  The Flow chart               


Flow charts are guaranteed to hook in viewers if they answer a question the audience feels is important. Engaging the right audience will result in the infographic receiving plenty of attention on the relevant social media.Design-wise, simpler is better as clutter can be off-putting but to make the exercise worthwhile there needs to be plenty of options, otherwise viewers will feel forced into overly narrow categories, so some degree of balance is needed. A sense of humour is a definite bonus; hopefully no-one is basing a major life decision on an infographic so it’s okay to be a bit tongue-in-cheek.

3. Useful Bait


When designing infographics like these it’s best to imagine them being printed out. As such, usability should be the priority with a straightforward design and content which is strictly relevant to the topic at hand. The ‘useful bait’ can do well on content sharing platforms like Pinterest and StumbleUpon.


  4. Number Porn          


Numerical infographics boil down to lots of numbers with a little visualization to aid comprehension. The figures themselves need to be impressive and the design must be engaging (no-one wants to look at a spreadsheet) but other than that ‘Number Porn’ is straightforward to produce if a little unimaginative.

5. The Timeline


Each element of a timeline infographic should be visualized, see ‘The Road of the Future’ above, because it is crucial that the viewer feel that they are being taken on a journey. More important still, is that the journey is of interest to them. Such is the path of infographic wisdom.

6. Data Visualization


The bread and butter of the infographic world, and also where the format can really shine. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a data visualization is worth a thousand more. Information is beautiful, as these examples show. A creative approach along with careful design can get great results and lead to placement on high-profile sites.


7. The Vs Informagraphic


Again, getting the content right for the audience is crucial here. Both sides of the debate need to be characters or concepts that people care about. A common feature of the above infographics is a focus on both differences and similarities. A little humour and stylised design are a must if they are to succeed. 


8. The Photo Infographic


These infographics can often be the most visually arresting but are some of the most tricky to produce. Quality photographs and well-thought out design are a must if a photo infographic is to look anything other than amateurish. 

What is your favourite type of infographic?

There are loads of websites and tools can make your life much easier when you’re designing infographics. Instead of just reeling you off a huge list that you could get from a Google Search, I’ve picked out my favourites and the ones that I actually use on a daily basis.

For choosing a colour scheme…

1. Kuler


Kuler is my favourite tool for finding inspiration for colour schemes. You can browse the existing palettes, search them by keyword or even create and upload your own. Another good thing about Kuler is that it’s available as a tool in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign so you can browse and download swatches without having to navigate away from your project.

2. COLOURlovers


This is another useful colour palette website. The main difference between this and Kuler is that COLOURlovers isn’t so rigid in it’s swatch format. Whereas Kuler limits users to choosing 5 colours of equal importance, COLOURlovers allows users to give more dominance to some colours within their chosen 5.

3. Pictaculous


Pictaculous isn’t a library of swatches like the other two websites; it’s a tool that generates a selection of palettes for you based on the image that you upload. If you have a photograph that is going to feature prominently in your work then this website will suggest 5 different colour palettes to compliment it as well as highlighting the main colours that appear in your image.

For finding the right font…

4. Dafont


Dafont is a massive library of free, downloadable fonts. You can browse them alphabetically, by keyword or by style/theme if you know what kind of font you’re looking for. It’s a huge database which is being expanded all the time so you’re guaranteed to find a typeface suitable for your needs.

5. What The Font

What The Font

Ever seen a piece of really nice type and just had to have the font? No? Just me? Okay, well if you ever do want to find out what any font is then What The Font is the place to go. You simply upload an image of the text, identify the characters and then the website will present you with a selection of typefaces that fit the bill. It’s usually pretty accurate and it even comes as an app so you can take a picture with your phone and identify the font on the spot.

6. Lost Type Co-Op

Lost Type Co-Op

The Lost Type Co-Op is an independent foundry that offers fonts from designers all over the world. While is hasn’t got anywhere near as big a selection as DaFont, the fonts are actually created and selected by actual type designers so they’re of a much higher standard, definitely quality not quantity. The idea is that you ‘pay what you want’ for the fonts, with 100% of the money going to the designers. If you’re feeling cheeky then you can enter $0 to download for free.

For making your graphic look good…

7. Subtle Patterns


Stating the obvious, this website hosts a collection of subtle patterns. They are free to download files, which can be easily tiled to create textured and patterned backgrounds. There are some great paper textures on there and all of the downloads can be easily customised in Photoshop to suit your colour schemes.

8. Shutterstock


It can be a nightmare trying to find high quality images or decent vectors to use in your project. Shutterstock is really easy to navigate and you can always find what you’re looking for. They’ve got a really great selection of useful elements that you can edit for your infographics too. It does cost but you don’t have to commit to a long membership, you can sign up for as little as one month or even just buy a small bundle of images as and when you need them.

9. Analog


This is like the desktop version of Instagram, the lazy persons way of editing photographs. It’s only available from the mac app store but it’s a really powerful program that lets you customise any image by adding filters and borders to it. With 24 different filters and 16 borders, there are loads of different combinations and it only takes seconds to create something that would take ages to do in Photoshop.

10. Logoeps


If you need a specific logo for your graphic, it’s likely that you’ll find it here. This website feature over 200,000 popular logos in vector format which are perfect for dropping into Illustrator files. And the best thing about it, they’re all free!

For finding inspiration…

11. Visual.ly


You can find masses of inspiration on Visual.ly, it’s a website full of nice looking infographics which are created by people all over the world. There’s a wide range of styles that you can browse by topic and once you’ve finished your own design you can even upload it to the site too!

12. GOOD


GOOD is another website where you can find some good-looking infographics. While there’s not as much of a selection as Visual.ly, it’s still well worth a visit.

13. Pinterest

pinterest screen shot

You’ll have to search out the infographics on Pinterest from the sea of quirky recipes and vintage wedding tutorials but it’s worth it because there is some really nice design to be found. You can see pins from lots of different sources all in one place and as well as infographics there are lots of pieces of typography that can help you when designing a title.

…and Neomam!

And of course don’t forget to keep checking our website to see our latest infographic creations.

Infographics are peculiar in that they require mastery of a number of disciplines to be successful. Most obviously, creating an infographic involves graphic design, but it also involves a concept, of how such-and-such an idea is most effectively communicated, sometimes it requires a little statistical analysis and of course, there is usually some plain old-fashioned writing required.

The books I have selected below have all been produced by experts in one or more of these fields, as such, reading any one of them is bound to improve or inspire your own work.


1. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (Arrow): An infographic lives or dies by its content; the design may be beautiful but if the concept is dull, trite or nonsensical it will inevitably bomb. This book, by brothers Chip and Dan Heath, explains in no uncertain terms what makes for a good idea and, crucially, how to come up with one – essential reading for those looking to expand their audience.


2. Information Graphics (Taschen): A fantastic overall introduction to the field of infographics with design advice from industry heavyweights. With an eclectic mix of over 400 historical and contemporary examples this book is a treasure trove for those in need of inspiration.


3. Visual Thinking for Design (Morgan Kaufmann): Not necessarily an easy read but certainly worthwhile, this work by leading data visualization expert Colin Ware uses the author’s considerable knowledge of the science of cognition and perception as the foundation for practical advice any designer would be foolish to ignore.


4. Ways of Seeing (Penguin Classics): First published in 1972, painter and critic John Berger’s book on how we view art was an instant hit and has been highly influential. If you are looking to think outside of the box for a particular design, access to an artist’s eye will serve you well.


5. Rulebook for Arguments (Hackett): A short, straightforward guide on how to make a good argument and how to avoid a bad one. It might seem odd to think of an infographic as an argument, but by the author’s definition, which is “to offer a set of reasons or evidence in support of a conclusion”, they frequently are. Although the entire book is well worth reading, the sections on statistics and sources are particularly pertinent.


6. Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten (Analytics Press): The quintessential work on statistical charts, a mainstay of the majority of infographics. This book teaches the reader how to present quantitative information effectively and compellingly. Highly accessible, it is invaluable for those looking to design stat heavy infographics.


7. Thinking with Type (Princeton Architectural Press): A great typography handbook which contains everything you would ever need to know about a crucial infographic element.


8. Informotion: Animated Infographics (Gestalten): The only work of its kind, this reference book on the still nascent field of animated infographics employs design theory and a large collection of examples to outline the fundamentals and provide practical tips to designers.


9. Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design (Rockport Publishers): This book does what it says on the tin – an incredible reference work that showcases the best of the discipline.


10. Wordless Diagrams (Bloomsbury USA): Although an infographic is usually a combination of visual and text elements, this book shows just how much can be done without the latter. It’s also a lot of fun, with diagrams including ‘How to sit wave like a Royal’ and ‘How to practice putting your head into a tiger’s mouth’.


Chris Couch – Infographic Researcher: Neo Mammalian Studios

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