Infographics have become the poster boy for delivering research findings with more visual flair. These graphic representations of data seduce and inspire – but communicating market research data in this way is not straightforward. Here are Mustard’s tips for researchers creating infographics:
DIY OR DESIGNER?
This depends upon many factors such as your technological or design abilities, time, budget and the type of information you are trying to visualise. If you do DIY, you need to choose the software from the numerous options available on the net matched to the data you want visualised.
The advantage of DIY is that you stay in control, timings and vision are yours. The disadvantage is that you spend lots of time getting software to work and tweaking to get it to look right.
If you engage a professional designer to work with you it will take the weight of the technical understanding of software and design off your shoulders. If managed well (see below) you are also able to obviate the risk that the designer fails to interpret your instructions.
USE A BRIEF
Working with a brief significantly improves the efficiency and creativity of a project. Include practical issues such as brand guidelines, timing and what you will need to get the job done as well as more obvious stuff like a description of the project, company background, objectives, target audience, what action you want them to take, how the infographic will be used once created, branding, tone of voice, and a single over-riding communication message.
Together with the designer you should discuss possible visual themes could for the infographic and brainstorm the data with them and your wider team. It is vital to have a story. What is the most important message you are trying to communicate? All infographics require very strict editing and focus.
CREATE A STORYBOARD.
If you are creating the infographic yourself with the help of a designer, sketch out what you need to show; including numbers and text as well as conceptual images (stick men for instance). Stand back and think ‘what’s the bare minimum I need to include and still tell my story?’ Your designer should encourage you to remove all the fat. Avoid using footnotes, keys, showing base sizes and other annotations. A well designed infographic should present this information in other intuitive and fresh ways.
LET DESIGNERS DESIGN
Once you have agreed your storyboard, the designer can get to work making it real. Because you have agreed a timeframe you know what to expect and when, but you should give the designer time to do a good job. Depending on the complexity of the infographic, the turnaround should be about five days. There should be at least one in-progress meeting in which you can review work.
THINK ABOUT HOW TO USE IT
The final output can be shared in many ways, electronically by email, social media and through internal networks. At the outset, your designer should advise you and come up with imaginative ways to use your infographic, such as pop-ups or posters for meetings, or animating it in a short film.
Convinced? Call or email Simon to find out how Mustard can help you.