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How to communicate through infographics

Aimée Colley

Designer at Shaw

Infographics are popping up more and more at the moment as businesses reopen. One walk into central Edinburgh and every major shop front has a poster up with infographics – but for the most part, all of these posters look exactly the same. It seems that in the panic to get something produced, brands have forgotten about trying communicating their brand identity and brand voice. I think they can do better, and I’ve pulled together five pointers that will make sure you know how to create effective infographics, which will help bolster your brand moving forward.

But before we start…

“What exactly are infographics?” I hear you ask. Infographics are a visual representation of information or data, that presents it quickly and clearly to the reader. Quite often they pair a simple symbol with information which can help aid the reader’s understanding. You’ve probably seen posters that say ‘wear a mask’ in the entrance to most supermarkets, with an illustration of a person in a mask – that’s an infographic. Or in shop windows you’ve seen a list of six steps that are being taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 with little icons to accompany them. That’s also an infographic.

They’re such a valuable tool for brands to use at the moment, because they concisely and clearly break information down. When customers walk past your business or scroll through their social media feed, you can’t count on them giving you their full attention and pausing to read a massive paragraph of text about your COVID-19 reopening plan. You need to hone and craft the information into clear and concise, on-brand messaging, delivering it to them in bite size chunks. This is where the infographics come in.

So, back to the pointers.

They all revolve around clear communication and creating something that represents your brand identity…

Five things to keep in mind:

What are your customer expectations of your communications and what relationship do you have with your customer?

This is very important to outline before you begin. Your customers might be one offs who want to have an instant and passing interaction, so your infographics need to be clear and brief. Or you might characterise your customers as locals, who’ll want a reassuring brand experience, hearing about the steps you’re taking in detail and making first contact after 4+ months. So build the content around them and what they will want to hear from you. Anticipate what they’ll ask, so you’ll have clear answers or a clear graphic to go back with. Being clear with the content will also help a designer get the graphic right.

Is the infographic concise? Is the infographic clear?

Make sure the message of the text hits home instantly and the graphic matches. If the text is too long you destroy the impact of the infographic, and the same happens if the graphic doesn’t fit.

You also need to keep your brand identity at the heart of any infographics you create. Whilst I think infographics should be simple, you should really be asking, what is simple for my brand. For some brands an infographic will just be a simple graphic and text, but for other brands, illustrations might be the route to communicate your narrative. Don’t compromise your brand identity, especially when this is the first thing customers will have seen from you in months.

How can I make the infographic less busy?

No matter what your branding is like, you should strip back graphics or illustrations to the essential elements. Less is more – if there are fewer elements in the graphics to distract the eye, you convey the symbolism quicker. See the examples below – with additional detail and without. One hits home with the single icon which strengthens the whole visual. The other just isn’t as bold or striking and you spend longer looking at the elements.

How are you highlighting information?

One colour ensures a visual is clear and uncomplicated but sometimes a second colour can be useful to highlight certain words, or parts of the infographic that you want the eye drawn to. Danger! red or Caution! yellow don’t need to be the highlight colours of choice when it comes to announcements about critical information. Look to your brand colour palette and find a colour that contrasts. If you have to use yellow and red, consider the shade you’re using. Can you make it a shade that suits your brand better?

Have you included industry accreditations?

Customers probably have a general awareness of industry accreditations and look for them on major communications. Usually this would be a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, or a ‘Green Tourism’ ranking. But at the moment customers will be looking for your “We’re Good To Go” mark, which is the official confirmation that your business is operating in line with Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines. This is powerful to include, as it gives reassurance and gravitas to the accompanying infographic and messaging from you. Don’t plaster it everywhere, but make sure to include it on all key communications to customers. Keep it prominently displayed on your website, and pinned to the top of your social media. Customers will be looking – and you want them to find it easily.

My key take away is, keep you brand at the heart of what you’re creating – this is a massive chance to reconnect with customers old and new as you reopen and you want to put your best foot forward.

Let us know if we can be of any help to your business and your preparations to reopen – drop us an email at