Infographics: 2 Steps To Stand Out From The Crowd

egg crackingBoy oh boy … Infographics are everywhere. All the social platforms that were not already image oriented a year ago have gotten a lot more so.

People love infographics because they can get tasty tidbits of info into their overstimulated brains with minimal effort. Also they’re fun to share on social media.

Most infographics are focused on graphic design rather than on the message itself, or the person who will be using the info.

You can make your infographics much more effective and share-worthy by focusing on the content, and then targeting a single individual as your audience.

Step 1: Focus on the information rather than just on the visual design.

Think about the data you want to convey and how to best visualize it for maximum clarity.

Let me take you back in time to the year 2000…

I was working as an account exec at an ad agency by day, but going to school by night to realize my true dream of being a designer.

I lived with my friend Randy, who is a talented data analyst among other things. He owned the classic trilogy of books on information design by Edward Tufte: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Envisioning Information and Visual Explanations.

Tufte is the world’s foremost charts-and-graphs expert, and I was highly intrigued by these books. Allow me to share a few of my fave Tufte quotes:

“Design cannot rescue failed content.”

“Above all else show the data.”

“Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information.”

― Edward R. Tufte

Around this time our mutual friend Rob moved in with us. Rob was always stuck doing dishes in our household due to the fact that he could not cook anything at all.

That’s the backstory for the creation of my very first infographic, which I made in design school using Adobe Illustrator.

My aim was to stay focused on the information, and how to best make it visually accessible for maximum usefulness.

Infographic: How to cook eggs. Personalized for the user.

I got an “A+” and proudly displayed the chart on our fridge, where it was most likely to influence my intended target audience.

Step 2: Target your infographic to a real individual or a persona. This communicates that you are focused on people’s individual needs.

A few months ago I was searching YouTube for new web and marketing videos, and I came across a good talk about the User-Centered approach, and creating personas. It referenced the latest overhaul of the Amazon.com site.

Amazon had the common problem of feeling that their site should be ‘for everyone,’ and that everyone is a potential user and customer.

This approach invariably leads to impersonal, unfocused and ineffective products, design and marketing. So they created just a couple specific personas and built the whole site around them. (It was hailed a smashing success.)

The same powerful concept can apply to all your content including infographics.

If you have a favorite or desired user/client/customer you can use them, as I did with Rob’s Egg Cookin’ chart. If not, create a persona. Don’t be afraid to name them and flesh them out with as much detail as possible. It’s totally corny.. but it really works!

Taking customizing to a ‘target audience’ one step further to true individual personalization is on the forefront of digital design and marketing. It’s a big reason that Google, Facebook and every platform and app out there wants to gather and control our data.

A great example is Coca-Cola’s “share a coke” bottles emblazoned with people’s names. Thousands upon thousands of selfies have been posted to social media showing someone holding up a coke with their own name on it. More and more creative examples of personalized marketing are springing up all the time.

Your infographics can be incredibly powerful when you think about the individual behind your faceless “user” or “target audience.”

You don’t need to get a degree in advertising, study information design and visualizing data and then go to design school like I did. Just ask yourself:

Who is the person I’m making this infographic for? Who do I want them to be? What is my infographic supposed to help them do or understand?

For the record my egg chart did indeed help me to stand out from the crowd.

Rob and I eventually got married, and although I cook all his eggs, and he still does all the dishes, he says the chart kept him alive back when we were still ‘just friends.’

If you would like your very own customizable egg cookin’ chart, please click the image below for a printable pdf.

I suggest you glue a photo of that special someone to one blank corner, and add a personalized message to the other.

Customizable Infographic: How to Cook Eggs