More than Words: The Basics of Creating Infographics


infographicsChances are, you’ve Stumbled Upon or Dugg an infographic at least once or twice: These visually compelling graphic representations of data are prime linkbait when it comes to online content.

For instance, an infographic created by design firm InfoGlyphs called “How to Forecast Weather without Gadgets” has received more than 700,000 visitors from StumbleUpon.

“I believe infographics are meant to entertain and educate,” says Jenn Gerlach, owner of InfoGlyphs. “They explain something complicated in an-easy-to-understand and concise way, while being creative and pleasing to the eye.”

Infographics are in high demand among both media and corporate clients. While they’re often graphically intensive, research and writing skills are needed as well. Here’s how to get into the market:

Partner with a graphic designer. Rather than separately hiring a technical writer and a designer, “most clients are looking for one-stop shopping,” says Gerlach. Create your own infographic production firm by partnering with or hiring a designer. If you’d prefer to hire, ask around at your local art college to find a talented graphic design student: He or she will likely produce quality work at budget-friendly rates.

Create some samples. If you’ve never produced infographics before, work with your designer to create a couple of sample pieces that you can show clients. Focus on illustrating the answer to a compelling question through data and graphics: For example, InfoGlyphs’ “Where Does the Money Go?” uses government data to illustrate how Americans spend their paychecks.

Perfect your production system. When collaborating closely with a designer, it’s important to communicate your vision for the finished product clearly. “I like to divide the sections with line breaks,” says Gerlach. “I put any notes to the designer in highlighted Italics, so they know not to include that text in the infographic. I give them the data in charts. If there’s a lot of data, we use Excel.” While you might want to structure your text and notes in a different format, it’s important that you and your designer have agreed upon a system that works for you both.

Market your services to potential prospects. Search the web for existing infographics, and send an introductory note to companies who’ve published them in the past—they may be open to switching production companies. Recently funded start-ups that are ramping up marketing efforts may also be good targets. When selling your services, discuss your infographics’ traffic-driving potential. Backlinks from other websites can raise a client’s Google search ranking and increase organic search traffic. The more you know about viral content’s impact on SEO, the better you’ll be able to sell your services.

Image courtesy of Idea go /