Infographics: Decide on Your Eventual Output

There are many ways in which infographics can bring a story to life. So now, assume that you received your assignment from a client or editor, or you came up with your own brilliant idea that you will pitch to an editor or create for your own website or blog.

Your next big decision is the eventual output for your work: namely, whether your infographic will be static or interactive, and whether it will be published in print or online. Will you be creating a traditional web-based infographic that’s tall and thin? Or is it a magazine graphic, where you’ll have to choose whether to lay it out horizontally or vertically?

Is the piece interactive or animated? How much physical space or virtual bandwidth will your client give you? Knowing the answers to those questions is crucial to help you determine how much time and technical skill you’ll need for your project.

  • Print

    • Size: Single-column, two- or three-column, or full page

    • Orientation: Vertical or horizontal

    • Color: Black-and-white or color

    • Print finishes: Whether the graphic will be used in a newspaper, magazine, or marketing brochure

  • Static online

    • Size: Usually width in pixels

      Check the specifications of any site or host that will be publishing your infographic.

    • Orientation: Usually vertical, but can be horizontal

  • Interactive online

    • Size: Pixels are the standard measurement

      Specific requirements will vary by website.

    • Coding language: Flash versus HTML and CSS

      Flash may be on its way out because of technical difficulties for iOS devices.

  • Animated

    • Size: Don’t pile on too many features in an animated infographic because big files load slowly and perform poorly.

    • File type: QuickTime, GIF, and so on

File size matters

Most infographics you create will be JPEG files, which can be easily shared via social media and e-mail. An optimal file size for easy sharing is about 1MB. This size allows the artwork and text to be crisp and clear without making the website hosting the infographic load too slowly.

If you expect your graphic to be widely viewed on mobile devices, aim for smaller than 1MB. Remember that mobile users pay for their bandwidth and often don’t have optimal download speeds. That being said, you must still make sure that your graphic is legible, so you may want to explore alternatives to using one large graphic — perhaps you can tell your story in three smaller ones.

Social media concerns

With Facebook’s relatively frequent redesigns, you need to keep current on any changes made to its image specifications. You may want to create a preview image for posting to Facebook so the infographic appears more easily in followers’ feeds. The same holds true for other social media channels, such as Twitter and Pinterest.

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