By August 17, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Convey Information with Visual Imact – Use an Infographic

Convey Information with Visual Imact – Use an Infographic

As a Manager, you want to communicate complex information and data so your main point come across crystal clear to your audience and sticks in their minds, You want them to agree with you or even approve your business case? That's where infographics comes in.

Research, information, data and analysis is still critical, but after you've put everything through the funnel, you need an easy way to convey your conclusions and compiled information.

Infographics is about conveying complex information in graphic format. You've probably seen many of them - the typical subway map is a good example.

You can continue to use reports, presentations and other traditional tools, but also use graphics to illustrate the core points in a way that attracts attention an helps the message stick with the audience or reader. It's a way to help ensure success with your communications.

Include an infographic as your 'executive summary' for a longer report and perhaps include other infographics within your report. Resist the temptation to use the stock graphs from Exel, for instance, and get more creative with how you represent information.

One of the key things is to eliminate any information that isn't directly related to the point you're making so you highlight the things that matter. If you feel compelled to provide the full set of information, put it in an appendix.

Here are some suggestions for making your infographic work:

  • Use images that directly relate to the topic, but don't use cheap clip-art - make sure they are professional looking.
  • Use size when possible to represent information. For instance, for sales of cows, you can have different sizes of cows for each quarter.
  • Use colour to contrast information. This way it stands out. Use colors that are appropriate, such as green for good things, and red for bad things, such as financial losses, risk, accidents, etc.
  • Don't clutter your infographic. Focus on what matters and create either a large/long infographic or separate it into parts to fit a slide presentation or the typical printd page.
  • Use a good background to evoke emotion or relate to the topic. Use a coloured and shaded bacground if you don't have an image, but avoid a boring, white background. If your infographic will be prodiced in black/white, select colors carefully and test the prints to make sure they are all distinct.

You don't have to be a wizard at graphics, it can be accomplished with traditional tools you probablly already have in the office, such as MS Powerpoint (or a free equivalent) or with one of the many free graphics programs you can downlod from the Internet. You can even use Excel for graphs, but be sure to change the settings to make them more minimalist and punchier if you want to make an impression. If you don't have the time, skill or inclination to do it yourself, deligate it to someone who does. You never know, you may have a very creative person on your team.

With a clear idea about the information you want to convey and some thought about the best way to show it to your audience, you just need a little inspiration.  For that inspiration, follow the links further below to see other infographics and how creatively information can be presented for better impact.

Sample Infographics

For inspiration and ideas about how you can represent information better, take a look at these websites for sampels of infographics on a wide range of topics and issues.
Infographics Showcase
Cool Infographics
Daily Infographic

Free Images and Icons

The main point of an infographic is the graphics, so you need images and icons. While there are lots of them available for purchase, and sometimes for just the right one, that's what you need to do, but there are also others that are free to use. Here are some websites with free images. Be sure to read the licencing information about how and where you can use them.
Stock.xchng (images)
Morgue File (images)
Smashing Magazine (icons)
Iconspedia (icons)

Free Photo Editors

You need the tools to put an infographic together, so here are a selection of free graphics editors. You could use Word , Powerpoint or their Mac equivalents for basic infographics, but for them to really shine, you need to do some manipulation of graphics and better positioning than Word or Powerpoint provide.
Pixlr (A web based on-line editor)
Gimp Photo (a PC based photo editor)
Paint.net (another PC based photo editor)



 

About Michel Theriault

Michel is the founder of Success Fuel for Managers. He is an author, speaker and consultant focusing on topics relevant to Managers and aspiring Managers in businesses of all sizes who want to get results, get attention, and get ahead. He is also a contributor to Forbes and AllBusiness Experts . Michel is available for speaking engagements, training and consulting. Connect with him or send an email.

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