How Infographic Agencies Create Great Visual Data

Infographics are huge right now (and I’m not just saying that because I make them). They’re all about presenting complicated information simply. That, as well as being super-shareable has made them a favourite marketing tool for business.

Humans are visually wired which means we’re naturally drawn to data that’s presented in an easily digestible way. This means the best designs are simple. But a lot of work goes into making data look uncomplicated. Effective data visualization in the UAE with infographics can be a powerful tool for business to engage better at any level with employees and clients too.

On average, infographic design can take up to a whopping 40 hours to create. Some of our longest and most complicated ones took up to 80 hours to finish. And we needed every second of those 80 hours. Designing a good looking infographic means choosing the right colours, fonts, illustrations and reaching the right balance of images and text.

To achieve all of this takes many, many hours of hard work of a small team. This is made up of the content strategist, the design director and the designer. Here’s how they made an infographic, the infographic.ly way:

  1. Data Collection

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAVZAAAAJDY2NGFmMmRmLTc1MGYtNDc4MS1hNzc2LTlmZDUzYjQxMTFkNQThe first step in the whole process is gathering the data. Usually this is provided by the people we’re working with. Our job is to get a feel for the topic and research anything else that might be useful.

  1. Information Extraction

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAV0AAAAJDJiYjcyMzUwLTJiYzMtNDM0Mi1iZmJjLWJjM2IzNGVhMjg0NQIn this stage we have to find the important elements in the data that tie in with the infographic’s story. This is a key part of the process, as every bit of information we choose here will shape the rest of the project.

  1. Content Structure

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAYUAAAAJGIwYjJmOTk4LTAyY2ItNDY5NC05Yjk5LWRhODgyYmNkOGUzYgFor bigger projects we need to create a structure for the data, to make the basis of the story. On smaller projects we sometimes go straight to the next step.

  1. Wireframe Creation

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAUhAAAAJDExODUxOTUxLWZiNmQtNDIwYi1iN2Q4LTYxODhiNzJhNWVlNgThis stage is like storyboarding in animation. We sketch what the project might look like by hand to create a visual framework of the information.

  1. Creative Direction

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAcPAAAAJDRlYzU5MWZlLWZkZDQtNDM3MS1iMTI3LTI1ZmI3YjM0N2I1OAWe then develop a creative direction  that works with the brand of company we’re working with. Here we begin to design icons, choose fonts and colours. We need to come up with a distinct infographic style.

  1. Design Development

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAVRAAAAJGQ4OTVkZTZiLTljZDUtNDQwMS1hMjcyLWFiMzEzODNkMTQ5ZAThis is the longest stage in the process. We bring everything together and refine the visuals to make sure the brand and message is clear. This takes usually two full days depending on the length and style of the infographic. Illustration based infographics like this one can take more time as they are much more detailed than icon based infographics.

If you fancy having a look at what all that work looks like, check out the results of over 1000 hours of blood, sweat and tears on our website.


9 Moments in Data Visualization That Changed Everything

Data visualization has come a long way from line graphs and pie charts to the beautiful infographics we all have come to know and love.

We’ve delved deep into the history of the infographic and charted (or more correctly, blogged) its evolution. So sit back, relax and enjoy our rundown of game-changing data visualizations.

1644: All Roads Lead to Rome

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Infographics, charts and graphs all started from a humble 1D line graph, and this one from 1644 by Michael Florent van Langren is believed to be the first ever visual representation of data.

The simple, line diagram shows twelve different estimates of the difference in longitude between Toledo and Rome, alongside the name of the astronomer who made the observation. Yawn, we know, but this was revolutionary at the time.

Let’s hope no time travellers go back and tell him any ten year-old could draw something similar in minutes.

1801: Turkish Delights

Picture2Imagine not having line graphs, bar charts and pie charts in the world. Data would be chaos and the world would come crumbling down. OK, maybe not crumbling down, but it would be very inconvenient.

We have William Playfair to thank for the invention of all of these. This is the image of the first ever pie chart, made in 1801. Yum.

1815: Rock Nation

Picture3Mapping the whole of Great Britain is no mean feat. But being the first person to map the geology of it – now that’s pretty impressive. William Smith created this map of the UK showing the different types of rock formations found UK in 1815. You could say this map rocks.

(Sorry, we hit rock bottom with that one).

1858: Macabre Discoveries

Picture4We have Florence Nightingale to thank for not having to worry about leaving hospital worse off than when we walked in. But Flo wasn’t just the founder of modern nursing and an all-round saint. She was also a renowned statistician and the creator of some super-important data visualizations.

Take this 1858 diagram, which shows the causes of mortality of soldiers in the Crimean War and helped convince Parliament that sanitation was crucial to lowering mortality.

1859: The Tree of Life

Picture5Charles Darwin was a pretty clever guy. He not only came up with the whole theory of evolution, but also one of the greatest diagrams science has even seen: the Tree of Life diagram.

This simple diagram from his 1859 book “On the Origin of Species”, means even the least evolved of human beings can understand his theory. Tree diagrams are now commonly used to depict and calculate mathematical probabilities.

1869: Battling the Elements

Picture6We have a man called Dmitri Mendeleev to thank for forcing kids worldwide to learn a table of seemingly random elements off by heart.

Old Mendeleev developed the first ever table in 1869 and it started off with loads of gaps and uncertainties. This one isn’t as easy on the eyes as the ones we see today, but it was just as important (and as annoying to memorise) and forms the basis of our modern day periodic table.

1934: Getting Social

Picture7Zuckerberg wasn’t the first guy to come up with the an idea to map social networks. Way before Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, people were studying how groups of people interacted, and in 1934 Jacob Moreno came up with a way to map these visually.

We bet he never thought his invention would lead to more ways for friends to share pictures of cats.

2003: World of Data

Picture8It’s hard to get your head around just how many people there are on our little planet. Data like this is where infographics really shine: seeing the world as 100 people breaks down info into digestible chunks.

First published in circa 2003, this infographic has been updated many times but was originally based on Donella Meadows “State of the Village Report” from 1990.

(Let’s just hope we’re not actually left with 100 people on the planet broken down into digestible chunks.)

2015: Going Viral

Picture9This infographic by Niraj Naik of The Renegade Pharmacist was ALL over social media when it was published in May 2015. Many of us promised never to touch a can of coke again… for about a week.

While the actual sources are a bit dubious it shows the immense power that infographics and social media can have together.

Here at Infographic.ly we’re data-mad and visual-obsessed. Got some data that should go down in history? See how we can transform it over on our examples page.


The Psychology of Colour and How to Make It Work for Your Brand

We choose colours everyday without thinking. The colour of our nails, our cars, the mugs we drink tea out of -– we’ve chosen them for a reason, even if we don’t realise it.

Understanding the psychology of colour is therefore a key part of visual communication design: knowing more about the emotions colours evoke means we can use them to our advantage.

The impact of evolution and emotion on colour

psychology_of_colourIMAGES-07Why we like the colours we do is a bit of a mystery. There are many factors to consider: personal preference, culture and even the name of the colour (you’re more likely to pick “Flamingo’s Dream” colour over “Practical Beige” any day).

The general consensus is that it comes down to evolution and personal experience - a mix of our survival instincts and how we feel about the world around us. We like colours that represent healthy living - for example, the colour of berries, blue skies and green hills - while those that make us think of rotting food and vomit… not so much (sorry).

But we also know that people attach emotions and meanings to colours. Think about the worst thing you’ve ever tasted. Maybe it’s a pale yellow durian fruit, or dark green kale, or even your mum’s burnt burgundy spag bol. Either way, it’s probably the last colour you had in mind for your next sofa.

psychology_of_colourIMAGES-02On top of this, how we see colours changes with age. It’s not until age 15 that teenagers can tell colours apart as accurately as adults. When we get older, blues appear to be less distinguishable from one another and dark, deeper colours become brighter.

So what colours should my brand be using?

From all of this it seems impossible to choose the right colours when designing for your business / project / report. But it’s not all a stab in the dark side of the colour wheel: there are some general rules that we can apply to predict what kind of responses colours will produce.

psychology_of_colourIMAGES-03Research suggests that the order of preference by adults is blue, red, green, violet, orange and yellow, and this can be very useful in visual communication design. Of course favourite colours aren’t what it’s all about. After all who only has one favourite colour?

Colours are more about how they make us feel  - and that can be very useful in business. Below we show how you can utilize the psychology of colour depending on what you want to get across.

psychology_of_colourIMAGES-04For a powerful presentation:

Use red, yellow and orange. These are the colours usually associated with stimulation, excitement and strength. Too much red can appear aggressive though, and people tend not to like a lot of yellow. Orange is a good colour if you want to portray good value for money.

psychology_of_colourIMAGES-05For a compelling report:

Use blue and green. Calm, peace, and stillness are associated with these colours. Blue is a colour everyone likes and is easy on the eye. Green on the other hand has been linked to more creative thought, which is useful if you want to encourage imagination.

psychology_of_colourIMAGES-06For a hard-hitting infographic:

Try using grey, black and brown and purple. Grey, black and brown are all linked to power, sadness and depression. So if you’re producing a compelling infographic on a serious topic these are the colours you need. Purple is the colour of dignity and again comes in useful for these types of projects.

To really make colours work for you, you need to think about your audience. How old are they, where are they from, what are they likely to respond to? Also think about what emotion you are trying to put across: you wouldn’t plaster the colour red all over a guide to meditation.

Above all though, trust your gut. We humans are built to see in colour and our instincts are powerful when choosing the right ones.

Got a question about colour? Tweet your question at the infographic.ly team @infograpicly_


[INFOGRAPHIC] How Infographics Can Help Your Business

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BEST PRACTICES FOR AWESOME INFOGRAPHICS

We’re a bit infographic obsessed at Infographic.ly (we’d have to be, staring at numbers all day). But we’re not just turning data into decoration though. We do innovative strategic design in UAE and Lebanon helping business with their data visualization. And whose business couldn’t use a little bit of innovation? Infographics are true innovation because they’re about more than making stats look pretty.

Here are just a few ways that infographics can benefit your business, whether you’re creating a pitch or presenting an annual report:

Create order out of chaos
Infographics make cluttered numbers and statistics streamlined and clear. There’s nothing us humans respond to more than things presented to us in a simple way (except maybe chocolate).

Simplify and empower communication faster
Presentation design is really important - it needs to be visual, engaging and easy to understand. Presenters using visual aids are twice as likely to be more persuasive.

Help audience understand complex data
Psychologists have discovered that 83% of learning occurs visually. This means people are more likely to understand complex data if it’s put in from of them as a great visual.

Gather insights from mapping and visualizing data
Infographics help you see things you may never have seen before, and recognize relationships you never thought existed.

Establish credibility
If your reports and presentations are full of stats and information from trustworthy sources your company will be seen as one that knows their stuff. Reliability goes a long way in business.

Target specific audience and user groups
Digital marketing is all about knowing your audience and making stuff they like. Infographics can be easily tailored to deliver information effectively to different user groups.

Build up social presence
Infographics are super-shareable, making them perfect for use on social media. The numbers are impressive: 45% of web users will click on a link if it features an infographic and 30% will forward it.

Build links, drive traffic and improve search engine visibility
Need more hits on your website? Sites that use infographics see a 12% average increase in traffic. Infographics can earn the kind of elusive high quality links your site needs to improve its search engine rankings.


We're hiring!

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Hello fellow creatives out there! We've got some good news for you - we're starting to grow which means we're going to need more talented designers to join our team. If you can tick all our boxes then what are you waiting for to send us your CV & portfolio?!


[INFOGRAPHIC] MasterCard Online Shopping Study

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We've been lucky to have MasterCard as one of our very first clients since we went into business - but even luckier to have them as one of our most regular clients. The work we generally do for MasterCard is for internal purposes which means we never get to share it. However, I'm delighted to share with you, for the vey first time, our first 'public' work done for MasterCard. The infographic covers online shopping habits in the Middle East. Bottom line: mobile is the future! I predict that it's within a few years only before everyone starts using their mobile to make nearly all their purchases!


[INFOGRAPHIC] The Era of Visual Mediation

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“A picture is worth a thousand words.” We've all heard that one before. A time-trusted adage that has passed through generations of data-challenged civilizations and that has become increasingly relevant with the mass proliferation of content and information. Just think of the number of times you went on holiday and later tried to recount a story that only your 537 photos from your 12 megapixels camera were able to give justice to? What about the countless times you fell asleep got bored and lost focus during a presentation that was simply too print heavy. Visuals remain amongst the strongest tools in engaging audiences to your messages. In fact, visual mediation can be traced back all the way to early civilizations from the Mesopotamian Empire to the Roman Empire, where cave paintings and pictographs were used as a means of communication. But what is it about the visual form that makes it such a powerful tool for communication?

The answer is in our evolutionary past. We are genetically wired to understand information faster and better through images than words. It’s part of our DNA. Development theory and research studies have proven that children master visual skills before they even begin to develop verbal skills. So unless you’re a national spelling bee finalist, from Krypton, or Rain man himself your brain is programmed to decipher and store images into your long-term memory much quicker than words which are processed by your short-term memory. Just try spelling Schwarzenegger out loud. Now backwards. Ok just messing with you. Luckily for us though, it’s the 21st century and the era of big-time multimedia and vibrant kick-ass colours.

However, whether you’re a baby boomer, Gen X or a millennial, you can’t deny the fact that we are also living in the age of information overload and ‘big data’ (that trending buzzword that has put ‘innovation’ in the corner next to 'baby'. Oh wait. Nobody puts... never mind). So how do we stay afloat this excess of information that we are drowned in? How do we communicate complex data and processes in layman terms?

Two words: visual mediation. A graphic intervention that engages us by facilitating the understanding and retention of information, which shapes our perceptions, drives our decisions, and helps discover insights through the mapping and visualizing of data. This is what infographics and data visualization are all about.


[INFOGRAPHIC] Celebrating One Year!

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It's been a long journey but a great one getting to where we are today. A massive thank you & much love to every single person who was part of our journey. From our clients who have kept us in business to our amazing team who's produced the great work that you see (sorry for any caffeine addictions or snacks that turned into fat over long hours of work!) and to the family & friends who believed in us from day one - who guided us, supported us, and let us pick their brain along the way whenever we needed help! Here's to another great year ahead!


Dare to Dream: The Diary of a Design Entrepreneur

How many times have you heard someone tell you that the more you look for love, the less likely it will happen and that only when you least expect it is when you actually find it? Well just like relationships, that’s how new businesses often begin as well. They arrive on short notice. At least, it did for me.

The Infographist, aka TIGG, was initially born as a side project, while attending interviews for jobs in Dubai — a city I just moved to earlier this year.

Everything in my head was already planned to the tee: I would secure a job that would pay the bills and fund a conservative ‘over-the-top Dubai’ lifestyle, begin working on TIGG on a part-time basis and eventually leave my job once TIGG blossomed into a successful business.

Little did I know that my (slightly unrealistic) plan of action would take a drastic change and that I would end up doing the opposite. Over dinner one night in Abu Dhabi after attending another job interview, my sister and an old friend managed to convince me that if I wanted TIGG to really grow, it would require my undivided attention, which made natural sense.

I took a few days to carefully think things through and after much thought, I realised that deep down in my heart I really wanted to do this, despite the many unknowns I was facing, as well as the risks and fears that every entrepreneur worries about when setting up a business.

I also knew that if I didn’t take the plunge, I would never know the real potential of my business. So in less than one month, I found myself turning down interviews that I had been eagerly waiting for initially and putting my heart and soul into something I truly believed in. Was it the safest bet? Well, far from it. But some things in life are ‘a now or never moment’ — and mine had arrived. There I was, ‘carpe diem’-ing the entrepreneur out of me.

Of course, nothing that is worth having comes easy. What I’ve learnt is that having your own business is pretty much like having your own baby.

For me, sleep became a luxury during those first few months. I forgot about the usual nine to five working hours, my social life, security blanket and all of the other perks that one can afford with a steady income. I officially became (drumroll) my own boss. But that ‘crazy little thing called love’ is what drove me to put in those mad hours at times, which I most likely would have nagged about had I been employed. I’m always amazed at the lengths we often take when passionate about something, even if it means sleeping two out of four days at times. #truestory

There’s no question that every entrepreneur feels crippled with doubt at moments; you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t.

I can’t recall the number of nights I stayed up in bed worrying about my company’s future, as well as mine, but then I would keep reminding myself of a poster I had once read: “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”.

I know there will never be concrete guarantees when you jump into your own business, no matter how well you have studied the market and how seamless your business model appears to be. However, my personal experience has taught me that as long as you believe in what you are doing, you will learn everything else by doing and find a solution along the way.

After all, Martin Luther King Jr. never said: “I have a plan”, he said: “I have a dream”.

At the time that this article was written, Infographic.ly was known as The Infographist.