Imagine explaining the human anatomy to your audience with only chunky texts. No matter how eloquent your written communication is, it will be mission impossible to get your ideas across without the help of a well-designed illustration.
That’s why infographic design has been and will continue to be so relevant to communicating complex ideas: information graphics help our audience to breakdown dense information that can be easily understood and remembered.
The sad truth is we were used to dense display of textual information like this site (no offense Paul Graham, your essays enlighten me but your site looks like it’s from the 70s).
We didn’t have the luxury of decorating websites with copious amounts of images and infographics back then, due to limited bandwidth. But in this age of instant video streaming, there is no excuse for not making your content visually interesting and interactive (thanks HTML5, the connected web will never be the same again).
According to this infographic about “what is an infographic”, good quality infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than text articles.
If you are still unsure what an infographic is, According to Oxford Dictionaries, an infographic is defined as “a visual image, such as a chart or diagram, used to represent information or data.”
Wikipedia defines “Infographics” by their functional purpose to visually represent information and data so as to “enhance the human visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends.”
In short, infographics are made to simplify mass communication.
That’s why you see infographics being widely used in news organizations (such as The New York Times), public health (such as WHO infographics), content marketing (such as Kissmetrics’ library of infographics), and many others.
In addition to making your content dynamic and entertaining, below are some of the biggest benefits infographics will bring to your organization/business:
- Infographics make complex concepts easy to understand. Research indicates our brains process visual data approximately 60,000 times faster than text. In the example of “human anatomy” cited above, visual representation of medical knowledge is so much easier to digest than dense texts.
- Visual content communicated through infographics is more memorable. Studies have revealed that 90% of information transmitted to our brain is visual. The same information communicated through visuals has much higher retention.
- Infographics are highly shareable. When someone makes an infographic, an embed code can be generated that makes it easier to share all over the web. Popular sites like Buzzfeed use infographics to create viral content like this one.
- Infographics help your site’s SEO. It benefits your SEO in more ways than one such as outlined in this article: build inbound links from outside of your industry, create evergreen and recyclable content, and gain traction across many marketing channels.
- Last but not least, infographics help you establish thought leadership. A well-designed infographic on a chosen subject matter will become a highly quotable piece which positions you as the subject matter expert. And when your target audiences trust your expertise, they will more likely follow you and buy from you.
Now that you understand why it’s imperative to have infographics in your content mix, you might wonder how to get started in designing killer infographics when going back to design school is not an option?
Not to worry. The beautiful thing about infographic design is that anyone can get a handle on it with some self-learning. Here are 8 great online resources for you to learn infographic design. What’s more, many of these great resources are free!
Online Resources To Learn Infographic Design
This 110-page, step-by-step eBook guide covers everything you need to know, such as choosing the right type of infographic, color scheme, layout, font and data storytelling. Each topic is explained with a visual example which makes it an easy read.
This resource is aimed at complete beginners but those advanced in the field can still pick up something new. Although the course is free, it contains a wealth of information on the subject. Written in a uniquely visual way, this e-book can be used to lay a solid foundation before getting your hands on designing infographics.
This is a project-centered course whose aim is to help you create your very own infographic in all its beauty. It instructs you on how to use Adobe Illustrator and other tools that provide solutions for a wide range of subject matters as per your choice.
However, unlike other courses which only teach you how to make one, the infographics you will learn to make through this course shall be geared for success. You will learn to make these products for a well-informed target audience. At the end of the course, you also get a certificate for all your hard work.
Cost: USD 49 with a course certificate, or Audit the course for Free
Courses from Lynda.com are highly vouched for by people in the corporate world. The platform is also used by those who just wish to acquire new skills. Its courses are cutting-edge and relevant for the current industry.
This course has a 1 ½ hour duration and is ideal for those who are somewhat familiar with the subject. You’ll learn to use Adobe Illustrator, colors, typefaces, maps, diagrams, charts, image modification and much more.
Cost: Monthly subscription starts at USD 19.99/month, but a free trial is sufficient to take this course
Mike Wirth is an infographic designer, artist, and Director of the New Media Design Department at Queens University in Charlotte, NC. A graduate of the famous Parsons School of Design, Mike’s infographic career took off when his “best beer in America” infographic went viral.
In his YouTube channel that covers everything from art and illustration to graphic design, Mike creates very helpful video tutorials on how to create your own infographic from scratch even if you have no design background.
5. Udemy Course
This course is a complete package for anyone who wants to learn how to make awesome infographics. Taught by infographic design agency lemon.ly founder John Meyer, his course is ideal for content marketers and designers who wants to make the most out of their visual content.
You’ll also learn how and where to find information, the design process, get a basic working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator, learn how to use Adobe Photoshop for making fabulous graphics, as well as how to promote the infographics you’ve made.
Cost: USD 45, on sale now for USD 15
This book is perfect if you want to know more about the underlying process of infographic designing, apart from the usual stuff, of course. You’ll learn about structuring information, optimizing infographics for your target audience, and much more.
The book is co-authored by Kathryn Coates, Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent University, and Andy Ellison, Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent University.
Cost: USD 9.61 – USD 11.44
Opus is a graphic and web design company.
They provide workshops for people with little to no background in design, but also have a portfolio including print design, graphic design, web design, and infographics, that you should take a look at.
Today, the world of infographics is getting more and more competitive. Your infographic needs to be both informative and aesthetically pleasing to stand out from competition.
Whether you’re a freelance designer, content marketer, small-business owner, educator or NPO communication manager, your work will benefit from good infographics that tell an engaging story. Ready to jump-start your infographic journey? Share with us your infographic design journey in the comment section below.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.