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Randy Krum infographic designerRandy Krum

President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization, Infographic Design, Visual Thinking, Product Development and Marketing professional fascinated by good infographics.  Always looking for better ways to get the point across.

Infographic Design

Infographics Design | Presentations
Consulting | Data Visualizations

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Entries in Infographic (41)

Monday
Jun082015

The Process of Designing an Infographic

The Process of Designing an Infographic

The Process of Designing an Infographic is an interactive design that outlines my own infographic design process. My data visualization and infographics design company, InfoNewt, uses this process when designing infographics for clients, and I teach this process in my workshops and classes. The team at Visme.co created an interactive infographic version of it using the Visme design platform. Visme.co is a fantastic online design platform for infographics, presentations, reports and more.

Most of my designs follow this 5-step process:

  1. Data Research - Start with the data. What's the insight or story?
  2. Wireframe - Wireframe your story before you start any design work 
  3. Design Concepts - Experiment with design ideas by creating rough concepts that visualize your data in a handful of different ways
  4. Iterate - Choose one design direction or combine a few different ideas from your concepts.
  5. Finalize - The final step is to finalize your design with the appropriate Copyright or Creative Commons license, and export the final design to a few different file formats as necessary. 

One of the advantages of using Visme as the platform to design your infographic is that you can create interactive elements in your design. In this case, you can see the original interactive version on the Visme site, that includes additional information when you mouse over each process step. This is built in Javascript, and anyone can share the interactive version by using the embed code on their own website.

You can embed the interactive infographic on your own site by using this HTML code:

 

Wednesday
May272015

The Fallen of World War II

The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo.

The Fallen of World War II is an animated infographic video by Neil Halloran showing the scale of deaths in the U.S. and other countries involved in the war. He also has an experiemental interactive version at fallen.io

An animated data-driven documentary about war and peace, The Fallen of World War II looks at the human cost of the second world war and sizes up the numbers to other wars in history, including trends in recent conflicts.

Visit fallen.io for more information.

Love this! Very well done animated infographic video.

The stacks of icons shown for each country are 20 across, which is hard for most people to comprehend. We live in a Base-10 society, and showing the icons in rows of 10 would be much easier for audiences to understand.

There are a couple discrepancies as well. For example, the narration mentions that France lost 92,000 in the Battle of France, but the visualization only shows 86,000.

 

Tuesday
May122015

How to Make an Animated GIF Infographic

How to Make an Animated GIF Infographic Part 1

How to Make an Animated GIF Infographic Part 2

Eleanor Lutz has done some amazing design work with her company Tabletop Whale. She is known especially for her work creating animated infographics using animated GIF files. She has posted How to Make An Animated Infographic as a 2-part explanation that lays out her process in Photoshop (as an animated GIF file of course!).

Recently I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking for a tutorial on how to make animations. So this week I put together a quick explanation for anyone who’s interested. I archived it as a link on the menu bar of my website, so it’ll always be easy to find if you need it.

This is just a run-through of my own personal animation workflow, so it’s not a definitive guide or anything. There are plenty of other ways to make animations in Photoshop and other programs.

I’ve never tried making a tutorial about my own work before, so sorry in advance if it’s confusing! Let me know if there’s anything I wrote that didn’t make any sense. I’ll try to fix it if I can (though I probably don’t have room to go into detail about every single Photoshop function I mention).

I’m seeing more infographics as animated GIF image files online. Their advantage is that they are a self-contained image file that’s easy to share. No need for embed code or Javascript for readers to share the animation on other sites or social media.

I met Eleanor recently at the Malofiej Infographics World Summit, where she gave an amazing talk about her animated designs, her process, and even some discussion about when not to use animation. Check out the video interview with Eleanor by Visualoop at the conference:

Also found on VizWorld

Monday
Feb022015

The Anatomy of the Perfect Sales Presentation

The Anatomy of the Perfect Sales Presentation infographic

Good infographics tell stories to the audience, and you sales presentations should too. The Anatomy of the Perfect Sales Presentation from Clemence Lepers (@PPTPOP) uses an infographic story to help people learn to tell better stories with PowerPoint. Very meta isn’t it?

You’re not gonna like it, but if you’re willing to start making some solid sales presentations that’ll help you generate more business, you’ll have to print the next sentence in your brain. Nobody cares about you. I repeat, nobody cares about you.  People care about how YOU can solve their problems and deliver the outcomes they are interested in. To grab prospects attention and close more sales, you need to bring consistent, clear solutions to their problems.

Easier said than done, right?

To help you with that, I’ve created an infographic that breaks down the key elements of a highly effective sales presentation. Follow them, and you’ll be set to get your value proposition across, communicate a compelling message and convert more prospects.

There’s a structure to a story, no matter what medium is being used to tell it. Don’t just throw your data and talking points into an infographic (or a presentation). Tell a story that makes your data meaningful to the audience.

Monday
Dec222014

5 Ways to Market Yourself Visually

Visuals communicate complex ideas into something more digestible. Large amounts of text make it harder for our brains to find pertinent information in a timely manner. This problem can be remedied quite easily, by adding images and visuals into marketing yourself.

Visuals can help turn a complex idea into something more easily digestible, with less effort and time spent by the person viewing it. By putting extra work in on your end, you position yourself to leave a more lasting impression, and stand out from a pile of resumes. Especially when marketing yourself to a recruiter or HR department - making it easier for them to understand your most important work. In Cool Infographics, I cover how visuals are 6.5 times more likely to be remembered than text alone, and there’s no better time to be remembered than when you’re applying for a new job.

Below are five ways to start marketing yourself visually right away:

1. The Infographic Resume

Infographic Resumes Pinterest BoardPinterest Board Gallery of over 900 Infographic Resumes

Infographics are an excellent visual tool to have in your arsenal. They are the pinnacle of displaying complex information in an easily digestible way. Either pay a talented infographic designer, or do one yourself. If you’re not comfortable using graphics design software, check out an excellent free option online like Visme.co - that will have you designing infographics in no time.

Take a look at this Infographic Resume Pinterest Board with over 900 examples for inspiration, and check out the great book The Infographic Resume by Hannah Morgan when you’re ready to get serious about developing your own.

 

2. Visualize Your LinkedIn Profile

via Richard Branson’s LinkedIn profile

It should be no big surprise that a prospective employer will look at your LinkedIn profile prior to checking you out in person. LinkedIn allows you to add photos and visually rich imagery, so take advantage of these opportunities. If you add companies that Linkedin recognizes to your work history, your profile will automatically display their logos.

Examples could be photos of you working at a trade show, product prototypes you designed, or a photo of you giving a presentation (LinkedIn has Sl SlideShare integration, so embed the presentation in your profile as well). Other images or PDF files work as well, like an advertisement you designed.

 

3. Create A Visual Portfolio of Your Work


Talking about your creative work only goes so far, you need to provide visuals. Visuals help the employer see what you’re capable of, and gives you the opportunity to control the work they see. Websites like Behance and Dribble are excellent options for creatives of all types. Not only do you get to upload all of your projects, but you get to interact with their creative communities as well - having the chance to inspire others, and be inspired yourself.

 

4. Create a Blog Post to Provide More Information and Visuals of Your Work


A resume should be a brief overview of skills, previous employment, education, and best works. One page is best. If you would like to expound further upon your projects, then create a blog post - loaded with visuals - that delves deeper into your work.  Tumblr is a great free option for keeping a personal blog.

Include links to any additional content you publish in your Linkedin profile and even on your text resume. Make it as easy as possible for hiring managers and recruiters to find your work.

 

5. Content Curation

Similar to the idea of creating a blog post to highlight your best work, create a content curation site to highlight the best infographics, articles, quotes, YouTube videos, podcasts, brands, inspirational work, thought leaders, TED talks, and books you’re reading. Show your future employer that you have a passion for gaining knowledge, and are an expert in your field. Pinterest is a great option, and if you’re looking for a design-centric curation site, Designspiration has got you covered.

 

What other ideas would you recommend?

Tuesday
May132014

Marketing FAIL: Infographics Hidden Behind Registration Walls

There’s a growing marketing practice that I think is a huge marketing mistake. I’ve seen a number of infographics being published by companies that require the reader to enter their name, email address and other contact information before they can even view the design. This “registration wall” is a way for marketers to gather the contact information from the readers so they can send out additional marketing emails later. In my opinion, publishing an infographic behind a registration wall just doesn’t make any sense.

Here’s an example of what you might see on one of these registration wall pages:

Infographics Registration Wall Fail Example

I completely understand putting valuable content behind a registration wall as a method to capture the contact information from potential leads. I get it.  Assuming the hidden content is closely related to the company’s business, the audience interested in that content is likely to represent a pool of potential customers. If they’re willing to give up their valuable email address to gain access to that content, they are probably a fairly strong potential customer (or a competitor checking out your valuable content!).

However, infographics are the wrong type of content to use for this purpose. The companies I see that are hiding infographics behind registration walls are missing the benefit of infographics, which is to deliver easy to understand information to the audience in a format that’s also easy to share because it’s completely contained within the image file.

First, online infographics are meant to be shared. Infographics are popular online for two reasons, easy to understand information and easy to share. Much easier than text articles or blog posts. As soon as one reader shares the hidden infographic image file on their blog or posts it in social media, the infographic is released to the public and available to everyone without registering. Even if you ask people not to share it publicly, the accepted practice online is to freely share infographics.

Second, the research commissioned by Janrain from 2012 indicates that 86% of people may leave a website when asked to create an account. Most of the audience will just leave instead of going through with the registration process to gain access to the infographic. They never see the infographic, never read the data and never hear the message. 

Lost Infographic Audience

Third, the search engines can’t see past the registration wall. No keywords, no meta-data, no text. The search engines can’t index the content behind the registration wall, so your infographic won’t show up in search results. Only the short, publicly accessible teaser information on the registration page has any chance of being indexed to appear in results.

Here’s what I recommend. Use a compelling infographic as a top level summary of the more detailed content you put behind the registration wall. All of the people that share your infographic, are effectively advertising your more detailed information. You could even make the infographic landing page on your website also the registration page to get more information.  

This way the infographics are available publicly to view and share, and the free content draws in readers to the registration page. The truly interested readers will also give you their contact information to gain access to the more-detailed report or white paper that you have available behind the registration wall.  Now you have built your brand credibility with a widely shared infographic, and you have gathered a pool of potentially valuable leads.

For more statistics and information about registration walls, check out The Registration Challenge infographic from Janrain:

The Registration Challenge infographic

How to Solve the Online Registration Challenge infographic published by Janrain in 2012.

How often have you become frustrated filling out online registration forms? There is a better way. Janrain has compiled data on some of the most challenging aspects of online registration forms and simple solutions to improve the user experience…and conversion rates.

Friday
Oct112013

xkcd - Tall Infographics

xkcd - Tall Infographics

The Tall Infographics design from Randall Munroe at xkcd literally made me laugh out loud.  As he mentions in the text:

“‘Big Data’ doesn’t just mean increasing the font size.”

Very similar to something I repeat here on Cool Infographics all the time.  “Big fonts are not data visualizations!”

However, the format of the Tall Infographic is here to stay.  The tall format fits nicely in the content area of most websites and blogs, and the user experience of scrolling vertically is much easier than scrolling horizontally.

Found on Gizmodo and Stats Chat

Wednesday
Jul172013

Kim Rees and Dino Citraro - What Makes an Infographic Cool?

Guest Post by Kim Rees and Dino Citraro

 

When an Infographic Isn’t

Infographics are popular, useful, and seem to be an established part of our vernacular these days. They are easy to read, quick to digest, and for the most part, can require less work to create than a more in-depth data visualization. However, as with many things that are popular and useful, they have a dubious imposter that is frequently wrongly categorized. 

 

Digital Posters

Digital Posters are everywhere and almost entirely presented under the auspices of being an Infographic. These distant cousins confuse the definition of an Infographic because while they often might be easy to read and quick to digest, they fail to expand the essence of the data by adding context and metaphor. 

A collection of cats holding a variety of mobile devices may be adorable, but it is not an Infographic. A huddle of celebrities who all have a similarly peculiar personality trait might curious, but this also, is not an Infographic. Extremely large numbers surrounding nicely formed text treatments is not an Infographic.

All of these are examples of Digital Posters.

 

If You Want to Make an Infographic, Don’t Make a Digital Poster

You might still be confused by the revelation that not all things posing as Infographics are in fact genuine, but if it’s your job to create one, here are a few things to keep in mind:

 

Add Context

One of the most important things an Infographic can do is add context. Consider this example:

The illustration on the left represents the way this information would be presented in a Digital Poster. The illustration on the right shows the same information as an Infographic. Both of these start the same information, but the Infographic allows the viewer to glean a deeper understanding through the addition of context.  A good example of a Digital Poster posing as an infographic can be seen here: http://think.withgoogle.com/databoard/

 

Expand Context Through the Use of Metaphors

Infographics can (and should) be enhanced through the use of metaphor.

Being stuck with a single number to display is maddening. How do you show size? What does its size even mean? This dilemma is an opportunity to add context and metaphor. By comparing a number to something else that is familiar, you create understanding. 

Here are some examples of adding context to the previous graphic:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/periscopic/6352095776/in/set-72157629247990061

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/periscopic/6351350561/in/set-72157629247990061

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/periscopic/6351350295/in/set-72157629247990061

 

Keep in mind that the context should match the subject matter. The examples provided above concern emails – or correspondence – and the metaphor will be most effective when it extends the topic. Making a comparison to a page of text and the time spent reading it are easy leaps of imagination because the viewer’s mind is already considering the concept of communication. If we had instead compared that number to the blades of grass in a field, the size of the field might end up being pretty large, but the goal of getting the viewer to imagine the scale of the emails requires a larger cognitive leap, and provides less impact. 

By adding metaphor to data we add dimension. Through this abstraction we gain the ability to provide complex information in a way that is accessible to a much wider audience than that which might be familiar with the specific subject matter. In addition, metaphors not only provide an easy vehicle for empathy and comprehension, they are also an excellent opportunity to add visual interest.

 

Respect the Data

Data collectors are the historians of our time. The data revolution that started with affordable large storage devices is capturing our history in the finest detail we have ever known. The process of collecting it, specifically when it is done by real people, is difficult and tedious, and largely goes unnoticed. When you visualize data, you must respect what you have, and the enormous potential it represents. Even the simplest statistic deserves more than a passing thought, or an effortless grasp at the most obvious visual display that comes to mind.

 

Do More

When creating an Infographic, the data you present must do more as a graphic than if it were presented as a number or single line of text. Adjusting the size of your text, illustrating a word found within the text, or even showing the concept embraced by a cute illustration is not enough. If you believe the data has a story to tell, then you should do your best to tell it.

 

Know Your Options 

Working with data is nuanced and requires an understanding of the appropriate types of data display. A single data set, or statistic, can potentially have multiple ways of being visualized. In the same manner, a single data presentation method can be used to display multiple types of data. Understanding the relationship between your data and your data presentation options is essential if you want to create effective Infographics.

 

Strive for Elegance and Clarity

A natural tendency is to want to include every datapoint on the screen, assuming that more data will equate to more credibility. This is logical in spirit, but counterproductive in practice. Data design follows the same rules as visual design. Remove anything you can’t justify and isn’t relevant to the message you’re trying to convey. The empty spaces, the things you leave out, can provide clarity – and can also provide an opportunity to evoke questions in the viewer’s mind (that’s a good thing). 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/periscopic/8004311938/in/set-72157631576836704

 

Use Emotion

The best way to connect with people is to elicit an emotional response. No matter what the subject matter, visualizers need to have empathy for how people will feel when they reflect on the data we’re presenting. Sock, joy, sorrow, curiosity, and other strong emotional reactions likely illustrate that you’ve chosen an important dataset and are presenting it well. In many ways, the ultimate compliment an Infographic creator can receive is to know that a viewer of their work is being moved at a level that goes deeper than just an intellectual response. 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/periscopic/8601076022/in/set-72157633115411317

 

Be Authentic and Sincere

Presenting datapoints without consideration for what they represent shows a lack of empathy. When you visualize data, it is essential to understand the role it plays in the larger social conversation. If it has the potential to change a person’s worldview, you need to do whatever you can to make this happen. Divorcing yourself from this responsibility is the sign of on uninspired designer. Imagine you are actually having a conversation with the viewer. Let your design choices begin a dialog.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/periscopic/6792935314/

 

Know the Difference

Data is easy to love. It represents truth and clarity, and can inspire people to grab whatever living thing is nearest to them and insist it listen. It can move a person to join a protest, to shout a slogan, or even inspire someone to make a poster. Even a digital one.

When we begin to discern between graphical representations of data and actual visualizations of data, we become better data consumers and better knowledge creators. There is a place for Digital Posters, it’s just not the same place as Infographics.

 

 

Kim Rees

Partner & Head of Data Visualization (@krees)

Kim Rees is Head of Information Visualization at Periscopic, and is a prominent individual in the data visualization community. She has presented at several industry events including Strata, OSCON, Wolfram Data Summit, VisWeek, Tableau User Conference, NY Hacks/Hackers, and Portland Data Visualization among others.

She is an advisor to the US Congressional Budget Office. Kim has published papers in Parsons Journal of Information 

Mapping, was an award winner in the VAST 2010 Challenge, and is a guest blogger for Infosthetics and FlowingData.

Recently, she was the Technical Editor of Visualize This, by Nathan Yau of FlowingData. She was a judge on the WikiViz Challenge 2011 and CommArts Interactive Annual 2012.

 

Dino Citraro

Partner & Head of Strategy (@dinocitraro)

Dino Citraro is Head of Strategic Design and Operations at Periscopic, and has a strong background in problem solving, creative direction, and writing. 

A twenty-year veteran of the multimedia industry, his work has spanned immersive online development, application design, interactive motion pictures, multi-player games, and interactive hardware installations.

He is the Visualization Editor of the Big Data journal, as well as a contributing blogger to several industry sites. He is also an accomplished photographer, a published poet, and has written & illustrated seven children’s books.

Monday
Jul152013

The Investfographic

Investfographic

The Investfographic from EquipRent.com is the infographic they designed in-house to share with potential investors. Visual aids and infographics are becoming a valuable tool for companies to communicate with potential investors and shareholders.  Consider this to be a visual elevator pitch.

Using an “InvestFoGraphic” to raise capital

As a serial entrepreneur, I am always looking for an edge that makes a company standout and be noticed during capital raising times.

With the advent of new software tools like Prezi to boost your presentations, we decided to creatively put together a colorful investment infographic handout that completely complied with our goal of keeping our story concise, relevant, and exciting. The typical handout (1-page executive summary) that we had previously given VCs was heavy on words explaining in great detail what our company did and how successful we had been. This new graphic handout was riddled with bold and exciting claims about our company and our industry. The underlying theory behind using the infographic was to hook them first, grab their attention and then be ready to talk business. 

The exciting news is that we are now in final discussions with several investor groups to close our funding. We know the infographic wasn’t the main reason for getting to this final phase, but we do know that differentiating yourself makes you more memorable and shows investors you and your company plan on being different than the massess.

Remember the advice that the great Rod Stewart gave years ago:  Every picture tells a story, don’t it!

The team at EquipRent uses the design as a talking point at investor events.  They found it much easier to point out the visuals and discuss each point with their investors.  They shared with Cool Infographics, a few of the comments made by investors after seeing the design:

  • “I can quickly see what is different about this company than reading a typical one-page executive summary.”
  • “I have never seen anyone use an infographic for investor purposes,  other than to distinguish market trends.”
  • “Definitely sets you a part…like a cool and different resume.”

Thanks to Nate for sending in the link!

Wednesday
Jul102013

Matthew Dunn - What Makes an Infographic Cool?

Guest Post by Dr. Matthew Dunn

What Makes an Infographic Cool?  Beer.

Beer is cool.

So is an infographic on beer cool?

I think this one is cool:

The Very Many Varieties of Beer infographic poster

But, unfortunately for the guys at Pop Chart Lab:

  • First Rule of Cool: “The act of discovering what’s cool causes cool to move on.”

Dang, if I think this is cool, it must not be, because

  • Second Rule of Cool: “Cool cannot be manufactured, only observed.”

plus

  • Third Rule de Cool: “…can only be observed by those who are themselves cool.”  *

I discovered this, and I’m not cool. (Never have been. Never will be.) So, Pop Chart Lab guys, I apologize for thinking The World of Beer infographic is cool, and killing you on #1 and #3.  But leaving aside my fondness for the subject matter, here’s why it’s cool.

1) Show More In Less. 

This shows me much more about beer varieties on one page than could be written in one page.  It makes effective use of a few visual-communications principles - connection, clustering, scale and typography - to help me traverse, relate and generally make sense of 300+ different beers and about 100 varieties. That’s thousands of relationships in one page; if they’d have typed all that, I’d have gone out for a sample instead.

Many of the awful constructs that set out to be “infographics” manage to say in one large page what could be said in one short paragraph. They’re long on decoration and stylistic flourish, short on substance. Not cool.

2) Structure Is Chancellor **

The visual design here is driven by the structure of the subject matter.  They didn’t draw a bunch of circles and lines and say “Hey, let’s fill these in with beer varieties!”.  Likewise, the aesthetic choices - color, line, typography for example - serve the subject matter instead of overriding it.  (The quasi-Victorian look underlines the historical longevity of beer varieties, for example.)  It’s also worth pointing out that visualization is more effective with this structure than language.  Describing all of these formal relationships in English (or your language of choice) would be ponderous and far, far longer. 

Run-of-the-mall infographics tend to impose style on structure. Not cool.

3) The Goal Is Understanding

A very old-fashioned criterion for cool, admittedly, but absolutely key IMHO.  I happen to like Arrogant Bastard Ale (top-left); understanding that it’s an American Strong Ale, which is an offshoot of Strong Pale Ale, in the flick of an eye…is cool. It delivers on that criterion called “utility value” in the intellectual-property world - ‘does something useful’ - because it helps me understand more, more quickly - at least up to the limits of consumption in this case. (Will I remember all of it? No. Is it in Evernote for future brewpub visits? Yes.)

Not-cool infographics tend to aim at goals external to understanding of the subject matter - goals like SEO ranking, keyword packing, and branding.  These are fine business goals, but pretending to inform me is an Arrogant Bastard move, really. It’s a trick of the form - “look at our cool infographic” masking “look at us.”  It’s interrupt advertising masquerading as content marketing and that’s not cool.

Infographics (a portmanteau nobody should carry) tend to split along data-rich and decoration-rich. The World of Beer isn’t a Big Data set - but it’s a respectably difficult subject to tackle.  There’s some real design integrity to this piece - no CGI trickery or typographical back-flips because that would be wrong for the subject.

It’s a personal bias, to be sure, but I find the coolest infographics tend to have that kind of restraint and class. They aim more at connecting me to the subject matter than the subject maker.  That’s me; may not be you.  Cool, like beer, is a matter of taste.

* Malcolm Gladwell, The Coolhunt, New Yorker, 1997.

** There are too many “content is king, ______ is queen” tropes, you don’t need another.   Where content is king, structure is the power behind the throne.

 

Matthew Dunn is Chief Explainer at Say It Visually, the Explanation Agency.  

He holds the first PhD in Digital Media, which he created at the University of Washington (just before the Web was invented), and an MFA in Directing from the University of Texas.  He’s been a teacher, professor, a 9-year Microsoft veteran, a Fortune 1000 Senior VP & CIO and a tech-startup CEO.  He’s also an award-winning writer, designer, director, frequent public speaker, and an inventor, with 15 patents to date.  He launched Say It Visually with a business partner in 2008, and lives with his family in Bellingham, WA, a town of superb brewpubs.

 

 

 

LINKS:

Website: sayitvisually.com

Twitter: @DrMatthewDunn

Google+: DrMatthewD

LinkedIn: drmatthewdunn