Infographics are basically visual representations of data and information. In some ways any chart or diagram could be labeled an infographic. A map and a weather forecast are both types of infographics. Recently, the term has come to mean a specific type of visual that often contains a collection of different charts and graphs centered on a single topic or message such as habits of coffee drinkers in the US or trends in the auto industry. Some people have even created their resumes as infographics to catch the attention of prospective employers.

A distinguishing feature of a modern infographic is that it looks polished and well-designed. In some cases, infographics can also be animated and interactive.

Some Examples of Infographics

Visuals vs. Words Gas prices infographic Sales infographic Food infographic

Where Does the Word Infographic Come From?

The word is a blend of the words information and graphic first used in the 1960s.

This page taken from the Catalog of Copyright Entries by the Library of Congress in 1963 might be earliest use of the word in print.

Print information

This Google graph shows the increased use of the word in print from the 1960s to present day.

Google graph

Why You Need Infographics

Many businesses use infographics to attract potential customers, newspapers use them to communicate complex data visually, and educators use infographics to engage students and capture short attention spans.

Data presented visually is often easier to understand than text-heavy articles and case studies. They tell stories at a glance and are easy to understand.

Infographics can effectively replace boring reports and walls of text. Many marketers use infographics to generate social media buzz and excitement. Infographics drive traffic, help build links, and raise brand awareness. They attract attention and shares better than any other type of content marketing.

When done well, infographics are easy to access, understand, and share.

What Makes a Good Infographic

  1. Make sure the infographic is focused on one big idea, or perhaps a powerful or interesting statement. Don't just share statistics because you have them. Make sure they support the main topic. Reading an infographic shouldn't be a challenge. It should be effortless and easy to grasp at a glance.
  2. Stick to a harmonious color palette and a similar style in all your graphs.
  3. Use humor, if possible and appropriate.
  4. Share fascinating, attention-grabbing facts.
  5. Provide in-depth information your audience may not be able to get elsewhere.
  6. Don't make the image too long or large.
  7. Make sure the design matches your audience. Are you appealing to teens or luxury car buyers?
  8. Make sure your font is readable and people don't have to strain their eyes trying to read the headlines.
  9. Don't forget about white space. When in doubt, simplify.
  10. Check facts and make sure to cite sources to increase credibility.

How SmartDraw Helps You Make Infographics

SmartDraw provides dozens of templates and examples to help you get started, even if you're not a designer.

Infographic templates

In addition to templates, SmartDraw has hundreds of professionally created symbols you can drag and drop into your design without any artistic skill.

Add charts, maps, timelines and more.

Once your design is complete you can share it easily. Insert it into any Microsoft Office® document from Word® to PowerPoint® in a single click or export it as a PDF or any common image format.

Learn more about SmartDraw's infographic making software.