How to Develop and Refine Your Infographic Visual Plan

By Justin Beegel, MBA, The Infographic World Team

Starting with a blank canvas to create an infographic can prove intimidating. Hopefully, you won’t really have to do that. You’ve probably been mulling over some visual ideas in your mind as you compiled your data. Having an idea and translating it into a completed piece of work are, of course, very different prospects.

Various methods can help you along the way to ensure that the vision you have in your mind is carried through to the final product, whether you yourself are creating the design or you’re working with someone else to complete it.

Working with wireframes

Regardless of whether you or someone else will physically create the design, it’s still vital to produce a wireframe, which is a rough sketch that shows the layout and general design of your infographic. Depending on whether you’re creating the infographic for yourself or a client, it may also be part of a formal approval process.

Wireframes help people imagine what the finished product will look like — which helps you as well as your client. For instance, you might have a grand visual idea, but after you start creating your wireframe, you realize that you have too much content (or not enough) to make it work.

Depending upon your client and/or your individual process, your wireframe may be quite simple and general. Say you’re creating a timeline of advances in medicine. Your wireframe could be basic, like the one in this figure, without artwork, colors, or particular fonts.

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Or, your wireframe could be more developed, involving some of the specific elements you intend to use in the finished product, such as the colors you’re proposing to use, as in the following figure.

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You can further develop your wireframe by including imagery in the style of what you intend to use in the finished product — something like the following figure.

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Each more-developed wireframe example gives a good idea of the visual approach. The level of detail you use in a wireframe should match your client’s specifications and skill. A client (or boss) who has experience in visualizing artistic concepts may want only the most basic wireframe. Those who are not as adept at visualizing concepts may require a more detailed wireframe.

If your client doesn’t specify how detailed the wireframe should be, you should take a middle-of-the road approach, so as to provide enough details to proceed but not lock into an official design.

Working with mood boards

Think of a mood board for an infographic like a Pinterest board. Say you’re redecorating your living room. You might pin images of furniture, paint swatches, lamps, rugs, and accessories. The images would provide inspiration while you shop for the room. A mood board for an infographic can have the very same effect, providing inspiration and answers for you as you ask yourself the basics:

What colors should I use? What visual style should I use? What fonts would be appropriate? What sort of finishing touches could I use?

Inspiration can come from anywhere — other infographics, print design, TV commercials, fine art — so never close yourself off to inspiration. Keep an open mind.

Whether you share your mood board with your clients is up to you and will most likely be decided by the same measures you use to determine what type of wireframe to provide: Are they creative thinkers? Do they even want a high level of involvement? If not, a mood board can be your own little source of inspiration.