Data visualization: how to tell your story through visuals

Visualization is an interactive and efficient method for presenting any form of data wether it is statistics, campaigns, pitches, stories or any other kind of information. Let’s be real, would you rather look at data presented in charts, pictures and a color scheme, or data presented in black and white document covered in an overwhelmingly amount of text? Assuming you answered that you prefer visuals over a text-only document, using data visualizations and infographics are clear, concise and easy to understand in addition to aesthetically pleasing.

“With the rise of ‘big data,’ data visualizations are more useful than ever. However, a hastily produced image won’t suffice and may even misinform or confuse viewers. Careful research and design are crucial for developing a visual that is eye-catching, informative and factually accurate.”

-William Comcowich, CyberAlert Founder & CEO

A well-designed graphic can make your information stand out above the rest. After recently learning how to create a data visualization/infographic, I thought I would share helpful tips and guidelines to follow in the process of creating your visual.

Research

First, before you try to create your visuals on InDesign, or any other software/tool to make an infographic, make sure you establish what information you want to include. Ask yourself these questions: What is your infographic about? Who is it for? Who is your target audience? What will it contain? What is the ultimate goal you want to reach when people read it?

Write a Story

After you answered those questions–and hopefully wrote them down for reference–your next step is to decide how you want people to read your visualization. I think of data visualizations as a form of story telling. You want people to read your visualization from top to bottom, from beginning to end. This helpful to think about for organization purposes.

Trim the Fat

Another important factor to consider is that your infographic is direct and to the point. An infographic is supposed to be pretty straightforward, so only add information that needs to be included for your story to make sense. An easy way to decipher this is to write everything down on a piece of paper, and simply cross out unnecessary information.

Visualize

Now that you know exactly what will be included in your infographic/data visualization, it is time to begin your design. Creating an infographic can be a tedious and time consuming process. If you have yet to master InDesign or Illustrator, like me, there are many websites and tools available to help you design your infographic. For the infographic I made (shown below), I used Piktochart. While researching data visualizations I came across an article I found helpful and intuitive that lists The 37 Best Tools for Data Visualization posted on Creative Bloq that is definitely worth to check out!

Design

While adding pictures, charts, graphics and text, keep in mind that less is more. Simple and clean infographics are more effective than a cluttered one. Don’t make your infographic text-heavy. Let graphics help you tell your story, but also do not only use graphics(with no text). I found using a 50/50 text-to-graphic ratio is the appropriate proportion. Establish a theme to your design. Maintain a color scheme, uniformed text, and an overall consistency that will make your infographic attention-grabbing and legible. Last but not least, it is crucial that your infographic has balance and fluidity.

Infographic I created for

Infographic I created for “It’s On Us” campaign

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