6 Infographics Trends to Follow - dummies

6 Infographics Trends to Follow

By Justin Beegel, MBA, The Infographic World Team

Here are six emerging trends in infographic design. Have a look at how to incorporate the best of the trends without creating a graphic as dated as your grandpa’s plaid pants. You’ll want to embrace at least some of these in your upcoming projects.

Trends can be a loaded term. The desire to capitalize on a trend has opened the door to some notorious failures (Milli Vanilli and powder-blue blazers). But with a judicious eye and a careful hand, you can use trends to keep your infographics current, beautiful, and intriguing to your audience.

Designing infographics for tablets

With the astronomical rise in tablet use, it’s only natural that there has been a rise in the creation of content designed specifically for them. Companies like Infographics World have created a good amount of work that has been used exclusively on tablets, and this trend is surely becoming more of a go-to approach.

From the designer’s perspective, tablets are a great medium because scrolling downward through a graphic allows readers to take in much more information than they could in a fixed-size graphic.

Using data to drive your project

Data is big. Really big. In fact, the term “big data” has become a popular buzzword. In today’s world, we have so much information, about so many topics, from so many sources, that it can all be a bit overwhelming.

This is great news for infographics. After all, infographics designers have been mining statistics and presenting them clearly and artistically for decades. If the torrent of data threatens to overwhelm readers, corporate executives, media types, marketing gurus … well, that’s where you come in as an infographics designer. Your clear, concise graphic can help the reader distill the information they want and need from a sea of numbers.

An increasing emphasis on data has given rise to some new names for infographic designers. You may justifiably call yourself a data journalist, a data visualization expert, or a data-driven journalist. The terms don’t really change the work you do.

Prospects appear bright for this sort of infographic work. In fact, in November 2013, The New York Times announced the creation of a new website emphasizing data-driven journalism. You can anticipate that this publication will use graphics to enhance its work.

Developing infographics for market research

Lately, a lot of clients ask designers to help them communicate their market research in a more visual and appealing manner. You could even go so far as to say that about 25 percent of design work these days is taking market research that clients have done and turning it into infographics.

It’s really a perfect fit: Market research consists of tons of statistics and data points about various items within your industry. When you go to communicate these findings, which would you rather do — put a bunch of stats in a PDF document, or have an infographic created that shows the same points but in a visually compelling manner? Pretty simple decision if you ask us.

Infographics for presentations

These days, if you’re conducting a presentation for work or school and would like to put your viewers to sleep, try going with the standard PowerPoint presentation.

Perhaps that’s exaggerating, but it’s not far off. Many an audience has glazed over while presenters click through text-heavy PowerPoint slides. By turning some of your information into attractive charts, graphs, and illustrations, you can keep your audience engaged. Keep your information clear, your text light, and your style consistent with the company or project you’re representing.

Make a list, check it twice

Social media is chock full of lists these days: anything from “25 things people from upstate New York love” to “The 9 types of people who show up for Thanksgiving dinner” to “23 reasons why trying to be cute on the Internet is a terrible idea.” There’s even a brand-new buzzword to describe these stories: “listicles.”

This type of story is probably not going to be around for the long haul. But they’re fun, easy to share, and tailor-made for reading on devices, such as smartphones and tablets. They also lend themselves very well to graphic treatment; many already use GIFs (graphics interchange format; a type of graphic file) to add visual appeal.

A list-oriented infographic also allows you to ask the reader to click through multiple pages, which is good news for clients looking to increase their number of page views.

Keeping infographics small

Don’t forget the small stuff. Once in a while, try bucking the trend toward big graphics with all the bells and whistles. In the age of interactivity and the wide-open spaces of the Internet, adding more and more features and details to your infographic can be tempting.

Sometimes a simple, clear chart or map is all that’s needed. Do your research, make your plan, and keep your basic design skills up to speed. Sometimes, the small ones are sweeter.