At first glance, they may look a little intimidating to the non-designer. But the good news is there are lots of tools available that make the process of creating great infographics easy, including professional templates you can simply adapt for your own purposes.
This comprehensive guide on how to create infographics gives you the following:
- What is an infographic?
- Why should you start using infographics?
- Different types of infographic – if you thought an infographic was just a static image showing a chart or two, think again. Here’s a list of fourteen different types of infographic with examples of each one in action.
- Top tools and resources to use for creating infographics yourself.
What is an Infographic?
What better way to start than with an actual infographic? And this one explains:
- Why you need them
- Who reads infographics
- How to create an infographic
As you can see, and at the risk of sounding too obvious, an infographic conveys information visually.
It’s far more engaging than a page full of text might otherwise be.
Why Should You Start Using Infographics?
Look again at the infographic above. Think about the following:
- You probably spent at least some time looking at it—so you engaged with it.
- You’re on this page because you have at least some interest in creating infographics. You are the audience the creator of the infographic is trying to reach.
- The creator of the infographic got a link back to their site which they otherwise wouldn’t have benefited from.
- You maybe even saw the conclusion at the bottom of the infographic, where the creator of the infographic refers to their services.
So the infographic both attracted and engaged with their audience. Their spread their brand message. A proportion will end up on their website.
Could you do that too?
But how effective is it?
In other words, is it worth your time and attention?
Using reverse image search on Google, I searched for other sites showing the same infographic.
Here’s what I found:
Yes—that’s over 20,000 web pages showing the infographic, and either linking back and/or otherwise spreading the company’s message.
At the time of writing, for the top 10 results:
- Over half (6) were from Pinterest, on infographics-related boards – so increasing the reach of the infographic across social.
- Out of the other four results, half (2) linked back.
Looking through the other result pages, roughly half were on Pinterest, and other half on other sites.
Based on this very unscientific analysis, let’s say 20%—or one in five—of the 20,000+ web pages linked back.
400 inbound links from one infographic? That’s huge.
If you’re still not convinced, here are some stats that should help you along the way:
- Eye-tracking analysis has shown internet users pay more attention to info-rich images than text on the same page (source)
- Infographics are “liked” and shared on social three times more than any other type of content (source)
- Businesses using infographics in their marketing grow their traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t (source)
So hopefully you’ll agree you should at least start to consider creating infographics for your business. Let’s look at the …
Different Types of Infographics You Can Create
Here’s a list of fourteen different types of infographics, with one of the top examples of each one in action.
But it’s by no means comprehensive or exhaustive. What you can create with an infographic is limited only by your imagination.
For most of these, you can click on the infographic to view the full size version.
How to guide
How-to information can be presented through an infographic in different ways. It might be a step by step guide, or perhaps a series of tips divided into different categories like in this example.
Often used in offline illustrated guides, infographics are an ideal way to show progress or evolution over a particular time period.
This example from Abby Ryan Design shows how toys have evolved from the more traditional tactile ‘toy’ to electronic gadgetry.
A geographic infographic – perhaps a geo-graphic – illustrates information related to one or more geographic locations, usually by incorporating a map.
This might be for a specific local area, a country, or numerous locations around the world.
This example from Applied Trust shows visitor information relating to Boulder, Colorado.
You know what a flowchart looks like, right? While in normal circumstances they can look staid, the same concept can be used for an infographic to bring a subject to life.
They work well for explaining a decision tree. The one below helps you decide which type of infographic you should use for your topic, by following the relevant decision branch for each question.
A hierarchical infographic shows a hierarchy of ideas of some kind, and is often presented as a pyramid.
This example by Wordstream’s Larry Kim, now founder of MobileMonkey, shows 30 different needs of your customers, presented as a hierarchy of categories. As this illustrates, the majority of needs are functional or emotional.
Imagine showing your career history and personal background as a visualization? You can do just that with a resume infographic, a prime example of which is shown here.
A chart-based infographic shows one or more charts to visually represent data on a subject.
This simple infographic from Statista clearly illustrates the dominance of Google in western countries, versus Baidu’s own dominance in China.
Use a comparison, or versus, infographic to visually compare two different options. This simple example illustrates the concept well, with fact versus fiction about sharks.
Photos can pack a powerful punch when use for infographics.
This visually stunning photo-graphic illustrates various stats relating to vegetarianism, with a photograph of suitably-placed vegetable props.
Does your topic list information? Then try using a list infographic to display that information visually.
This type of infographic can be more text-based than others. For example, check out this extensive infographic on typography. The result is a comprehensive reference chart on the topic.
How it works
If you ever read a ‘how it works’ type book as a child (or an adult!), you’ll recognize the concept. An image shows you how something works ‘under the hood’, and makes it easy and quick to understand.
This great example shows how air conditioning works to cool down a property.
Imagine turning your plain text articles or blog posts into a visualization like the example here. You’re largely presenting the same information but in a far more engaging way.
As you can see, the information you provide in the infographic can be quite extensive. This one draws out the main points, and even finishes with a clear conclusion.
Most infographics are generally in the form of a static image, but did you know you can also make them interactive (or animated – see #14).
This is one of the best examples illustrating the career of the Beatles. In the interactive version, by hovering your mouse over different parts, the infographic comes to life and presents even more information.
These are also sometimes called ‘gif-o-graphics’. They bring information to life through simple animation, usually presented via an animated gif.
The example provided here is just a small part of the full animated infographic.
Top Tools and Resources for Creating Infographics
The good news is you don’t have to be an expert in Photoshop to create visually stunning infographics.
As listed below, various infographic tools are available directly through your browser. They make creating infographics an easy and fun process.
Even better, simply hire someone through Upwork or Fiverr to take care of it for you.
Or if you have a larger budget, you’ll also find where to go to get a whole creative team behind your next infographic.
Piktochart gives you access to over 600 professionally-designed templates to use to create infographics.
Simply choose your template and edit to suit your requirements, including font, text and other visuals.
Insert your data and other information into the template and adapt the visuals as required.
You can start using Piktochart and creating infographics for free. Upgrade for a small monthly amount for access to additional features such as use of all their 600+ templates.
Infogram is one of the best tools for creating data-based infographics that need engaging charts to represent statistics.
You can also use it to create interactive maps and geographic data, as shown in this example showing the top universities in the US by state.
Use Infogram free of charge for up to 10 projects. Upgrade for additional usage and access to more features such as access to a million images and icons, premium themes, and interactive infographics.
What if you have a larger budget and want a creative team to take care of your infographic for you? Then look no further than Visually.
Visually gives you access to over 1000 hand-picked creative professionals to create high-impact infographics for you.
Start by getting a quote for the project you have in mind. Visually then works with you through the process from helping define your creative brief to providing you with a team to deliver what you’re looking for.
As well as infographics, they also help with videos, reports, presentations, and ebooks.
Venngage provide 100+ infographic templates you can then customize according to your needs. Add charts and text, along with images and icons from their library.
While they seem to have a prominent and impressive client list, this service appears to be more limited than others on this list such as Visme (see below).
However, their business plan provides access to priority support, including phone support, one to one consultations, access to a private community, and live training workshops. So if you want more personal guidance and support along the way than other services offer, it may be the one for you.
Visme comes with over 500 infographic templates, 6,000 icons and millions of images.
To create an infographic, start by choosing a template. Edit and populate it with your information, including using their drag and drop data widget to transform your data into an engaging visual.
You can also make your infographic interactive with links, hotspots and animation.
Start using Visme with a free account for up to 3 projects, and upgrade for a low monthly cost.
As well as infographics, use Visme for presentations, reports, web content such as social media graphics, and wireframes.
I’ve referred to Canva several times before but did you know you can use the tool for infographic creation?
They provide dozens of free (and some paid) infographic templates with icons, text and visual imagery you can then move around and adjust as required.
You also have access to Canva’s full library of visual resources to incorporate into the infographic.
All in all, Canva gives you an easy way to create a quick, engaging infographic, and for little or no cost. However, if your infographic is more data-rich, you might prefer to use one of the other tools for easier chart creation.
One More Infographic Creation Tip … Less is More
Of course, a strength of infographics is that they can impart detailed information in a far more accessible way. But you do have to be careful not to bog them down with too much information.
Define a clear goal or purpose for the infographic. Ensure all the information it contains is fully focused on that purpose. Avoid superfluous information that strays off topic and doesn’t support your key message.
Infographics should be a key part of your content marketing strategy — why not fit them into your regular repurposing activities?
For example, many blog posts can be repurposed as infographics by taking some of the key points from your post and presenting them visually.
In doing so, you can help your content reach whole new audiences you wouldn’t otherwise connect with. Plus, as we’ve seen, encourage inbound linking that can attract targeted traffic as well as boost your organic search presence.