Designing an Infographic: How We 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.

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.