Infographics that look great are the norm. To really stand out, it takes more than cool graphics and an interesting layout. It all starts with the story. Here are five questions to ask yourself when planning an infographic.

  1. Who is the audience?
  2. What is the key thing you want people to know? The narrower the focus the better.
  3. When does the story take place? Is it about a future problem or something happening right now? Will putting a time/date on it create a sense of urgency? Does that contribute to the key message?
  4. How does existing data support your message?
  5. Where is the story set?

The urge to start white boarding something that looks cool is very strong. Go ahead and do it. I’ve found through experience creating infographics and other related designs that without a clear story, the time it takes to execute and iterate and produce a finished, polished piece is much longer. Sometimes months longer. So how do you know when you have a good story? If you already have an ebook or report or presentation about the topic, then you are way ahead. Everything and the kitchen sink won’t fit into the infographic though. Well, OK you can try that, but it will be noisy and ineffective.

An infographic is more like a series of billboard ads or a 15 second TV spot. It is usually used as a thought leadership piece to encourage people to learn more about a solution or topic. Planning a series of graphics and other ways to dive deeper such as podcasts, blog posts, and ebooks will create a path to build a connection.

Another way to think about it is imagine you have 5 minutes to describe an issue or favorite hobby to someone. If they are knowledgeable about it already, what new information can you share? Do you have a unique perspective or knowledge that you can discuss with them in that short amount of time? What if they are new to the topic? How do you get them excited about it? Knowing you can give them more information and deeper insights when catch up with them later (nurture) will take the pressure off of overloading them with everything.

This is a pretty deep topic that I would love to talk more about. What frustrates you most about planning an infographic?