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How to make an infographic - ultimate guide


Key takeaways:

  • Infographics use visual storytelling to make data easier to understand
  • Infographics work with nearly any data
  • Customizing visual hierarchy helps clarify the story your data is telling
  • Canva templates make it easy to start inspired

Infographic design is the most effective way to present data in a digestible and visually pleasing way. If you’re looking for an easy way to communicate your message, while keeping your audience’s attention levels high, below we provide you with the ultimate guide to designing an infographic from scratch(opens in a new tab or window). And if you’d prefer a video guide on how to make infographics, we have one of those too.

What is an infographic?

When you have data you want to share, there are many ways to make that happen. Spreadsheets, documents(opens in a new tab or window), emails...you know, all the usual suspects. But when you want to deliver data in a visually impactful way, you won’t find a medium more effective than the infographic.

Infographics(opens in a new tab or window) are effective because they have the ability to transform data into a visual story. Infographics breathe life into otherwise boring information and can make complex information a lot easier for your audience to understand and process.

But creating an infographic is about more than just slapping some data on a page and hoping for the best. If you want your infographics to make an impact, they need to be unique, well-designed, and attention-grabbing enough to break through the clutter and reach your ideal audience.

But how, exactly, do you do that? What’s the secret to building infographics from the ground up? Let’s take a step-by-step look into how to make an infographic:

How to make an infographic

01. Choose your topic

Image via Kibin

First things first, before you can create an attention-grabbing infographic, you need to make sure that you have a strong topic, the right tools(opens in a new tab or window), informative data, or unique information that’s going to capture the audience’s attention.

It sounds obvious, but the right content is key for creating an impactful infographic. While the definition of “right content” will vary based on your business and what you’re trying to accomplish with your infographic, there are a few topics that typically work across the board:

  • Annual reports. Chances are, you’ve got a lot of data about your company you want to share at the end of the year, and an infographic is a great way to do this. Infographics give you an opportunity to showcase things like sales numbers, marketing data, annual growth, and other company data in a way that’s going to have a real impact on your employees, customers, and investors.
  • Survey results. The visual nature of an infographic is a great way to deliver survey results. Instead of just sending out a set of numbers, you can showcase the data in a way that really illustrates your results (and makes it easier for your audience to understand).
  • Timelines. Instead of writing out the history of your company or the evolution of a project, why not illustrate it in an infographic? As mentioned, infographics are a great way to transform information into a visual story—and because timelines are already telling a story in a visual way, they’re an obvious go-to

The information you choose to highlight in your infographic design is up to you, just make sure it’s interesting and has value to your target audience.

Using a template that’s pre-designed to fit your topic (like the Volleyball History Timeline Infographic(opens in a new tab or window) or the Charity Infographic(opens in a new tab or window) to highlight data or statistics) can save you a lot of time and energy during the design process.

02. Line up your layout

Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

Once you know what information you want to build your infographic around, it’s time to figure out how to most effectively present that information. Should you go text-heavy or image-heavy? Should you share your data using charts or bullet points? What do you want the focal point of your infographic to be?

The layout you choose is going to have a major impact on how your information is ultimately processed by your audience. So, for example, let’s say you’re designing an infographic to highlight your company’s sales numbers for the year. A text-heavy layout that lists out quarterly sales information in a series of bullet points is going to have a very different effect than a graphics-heavy layout that illustrates the changes in sales data from each quarter in charts and graphs.

Whether you go with a text-heavy layout (like the Twitter Business Social Media Infographic(opens in a new tab or window)), a graphic-heavy layout (like this Charity Infographic(opens in a new tab or window)), or something in between (like the Shark Marine Conservation Charity Infographic(opens in a new tab or window)), a template can help you ensure all your content is arranged on your infographic for maximum impact.

There’s no one-size-fits-all layout for infographics. The key is to choose a layout that’s going to convey your information in the most effective and impactful way.

Have a ton of information you need to share? Go with a layout that’s heavier on the text. Trying to illustrate how your key data (for example, annual revenue or team growth) has changed over time? Go with a more image-heavy layout that places an emphasis on tables and charts. Whatever layout you choose, it should do your message justice and communicate your information in a way that makes visual sense to your audience.

Luckily, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to layouts. For instance, using pre-designed slide templates(opens in a new tab or window) with infographics. Using a pre-designed template takes the guesswork out of infographic layouts and gives you a jumping off point to present your information in a way that packs a visual punch for your audience.

03. Organize your infographic content

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing how to arrange key information on your infographic is visual hierarchy. Visual hierarchy is the way you arrange information and visual elements in order of importance. This is an effective way to ensure that your audience doesn’t miss the most important parts of your messaging. As a general rule of thumb, people’s eyes are drawn to larger visual elements, so the more important something is (whether that’s a statistic, an illustration, or a key piece of information), the larger it should be in your design.

So, for example, let’s say you’re designing an infographic to showcase your revenue growth for the year. When you’re pulling together your content and figuring out where it should go in your infographic, figure out what the most important elements are, and then make sure that’s highlighted in the design.

See how the titles seem to jump off the page on this Brown Pitch Deck Slides Business Infographic(opens in a new tab or window) template? That’s hierarchy in action. Using a template that already has a clear hierarchy in place can help you arrange your content in a way that draws attention to your most important messaging.

Using this example, the chart that illustrates that sales growth should be larger than less important information, like an explanation about how you track your sales data. Is it more important to showcase the milestones you hit throughout the year? Then organize your data in a linear timeline and use large, bold text to bring attention to each milestone’s title.

The point is, your audience’s eye is going to be drawn to the larger, more prominent elements of your infographic.

The bigger the element (whether that’s an illustration, a line of text, or a graph or chart), the more likely it is to grab people’s attention, so make sure you use visual hierarchy to draw attention to whatever messaging you know is going to have the biggest impact on your audience.

04. Design your graphics

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Once you’ve got your content organized and know what’s going where, it’s time to actually design any graphics you need to bring your infographic to life.

There are plenty of graphic elements you can include in your infographic:

  • Custom illustrations
  • Charts
  • Tables
  • Graphs
  • Icons
  • Titles/Text

Again, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to incorporating graphics into your infographic design, the graphics that are going to be most effective for you are going to depend on your brand, your audience, and what kind of information you’re incorporating into your infographic. Cartoon-inspired illustrations would be a great fit for a fun, quirky brand—but would feel out of place on a more corporate infographic. On the flip side, pie charts would feel too stuffy for that fun and quirky brand—but would be a great fit for a more traditional corporate company.

Figure out what graphic elements you need for your infographic design, and then, figure out how you’re going to bring them to life. Depending on the elements you need, it might make sense to use a pre-designed template.

When it comes to incorporating graphics into your infographic design, the sky’s the limit. Choose a template that already has the kind of graphics you want, like the icons in the Colorful Icon Business Infographic(opens in a new tab or window), the illustrations in the Travel Business Infographic(opens in a new tab or window), or the pie chart in the Restaurant Business Infographic(opens in a new tab or window).

05. Choose your colors

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

Next up, it’s time to choose your color palette. And no pressure, but the colors you choose can make or break your infographic design.

People have deep psychological ties and associations to color, and different colors can inspire different thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions with your audience. It’s called color psychology, and when you understand the power behind it, you can choose your colors strategically.

The goal is to use color as an aid for your information and visual elements.

When you’re building your color palette, think about the emotional response you want from your audience—and then choose the colors that are going to create that response.

Design tip: If you’re designing an infographic to present key financial data to your board of investors, inspiring feelings of trust is important. In this scenario, incorporating blue, which is associated with trustworthiness and stability, into your design would be helpful to your cause. If your infographic is built around data that shows your explosive sales growth over the past year, use red, which has been shown to inspire excitement and passion.

Below is a color graph that you can use to help choose your infographic color palette.

Now that we’ve covered, what colors you choose for your infographic design is important, but so is how many. When it comes to building a color palette for your infographic design, use the “Goldilocks rule.” Too few colors isn’t impactful enough and too many colors is visually overwhelming, but three to four colors is just right. A palette of three to four colors has enough variety to keep things interesting, but not too many colors that it feels overwhelming and detracts from the overall design.

The color palette you choose for your infographic makes a huge impact, but if you find a template you like, don’t be discouraged if the color isn’t right. You can easily tweak Canva’s infographic templates, like the Blue Entrepreneur Personalities Business Infographic(opens in a new tab or window) or the Simple Red Wine Timeline Infographic(opens in a new tab or window), to whatever color scheme you’d like.

06. Choose your font

Image via RGD

The language you use in your infographic delivers a message, but so does your font.

You want to choose fonts that are in line with your overall messaging. If you’re presenting serious data to investors, you don’t want to use a font that’s too whimsical or graphic-based. On the flip side, if you’re creating a timeline infographic to celebrate milestones in the first year of your children’s clothing business, using a traditional font like Times New Roman or Helvetica would feel too stuffy.

Think about the look and feel you’re trying to create with your infographic, and then choose a font that feels in line with that look and feel.

Using a template that already has a font that feels right for your brand (like the Orange Pet Schedule Timeline Infographic(opens in a new tab or window), which feels more fun and casual, or the Green Soy Health Benefits Infographic(opens in a new tab or window), which has a more traditional font), great! But if not, no worries, just like color, you can easily change the fonts in each Canva template to whatever you feel is the right fit for your design.

07. Images to use in an infographic

When choosing an image for your infographic the first thing to consider is whether it serves as an aid for your written content. There's a limited amount of space when creating an infographic, so you want to make sure that any visual element shares a clear purpose. Another element to consider is whether the colors in your image compliments or takes away from all of your design work. If it has a jarring impact, it's worth looking for other images to use.

How to share an infographic

Image via Future of Work

Congratulations, your infographic is now designed and ready to roll. Now all that’s left to do is save it and share it!

People love infographics and they tend to go viral, so this is a great opportunity to get your brand and messaging out there. Share your infographic everywhere that it makes sense to—whether that’s on your website, on your social media platforms, or through an email blast.

Infographic ideas

Stephen Polanco

Gray Kuglen

Julie Friedenberg

Michael Taylor

This guide will help you create the best infographic for your brand. Use it as a reference for your next infographic design.

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