Wireframe Planning: Map and Block Your Infographic

By Justin Beegel, MBA, The Infographic World Team

After you have a solid idea of all the different types of illustrations you’ll need for your infographic, lay them into your wireframe. Exact placement isn’t critical at this stage, but you do want to begin to get a feel for overall size and distance around each illustration. Use placeholders — rough sketches or dummy type (see the figure) — to stand in as needed.

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Arrange the illustrations or their proxies according to the vision in your mind. Place the intro and title illustrations (if they exist); otherwise, leave adequate space for them. Place subheadings, whether the font is chosen yet or not.

Then, when you get everything arranged according to your vision, look at the picture as a whole. Is one side too heavy or light with charts? Do you have too many of the same types of illustrations in one section? If so, consider changing placement or rethink the type of illustration.

Placing text and art elements — a simple process known as “blocking” — will give you a good visual plan. The amount of detail in your wireframe will vary depending on the type of graphic. A timeline probably won’t be highly detailed, but a more complex infographic in which you are weaving information into a visual theme will be.

As always, step back. Make sure to look at your wireframe with a critical eye. Are you putting too much emphasis in the wrong section? Does the flow seem natural?

Here are a few things to avoid:

  • Sparse areas

  • Overly busy areas

  • Juxtaposed illustrations that might create inaccurate impressions

  • Overly long subheadings

  • Too many chart types in one area or overall

  • Charts that are too long or too short to provide the best context

By this point in the process, you should really start to see the piece come together. Ideally, your work on the wireframe will make the final design go more quickly and smoothly.