7 Types of Infographic Design and What You Should Know About Them
What Is an Infographic Design? An infographic design is similar to a diagram and drawing where you use elements such as lines, bars, pie charts, data visualizations, icons and more to create your infographics with the goal of presenting information in an easy-to-digest format so that readers can quickly understand your message. Understanding infographic design allows you to convey complex concepts visually and effectively so that even if your audience members aren’t well-versed in the field of study you’re discussing, they can still understand the basics of what you’re trying to say and learn something new from it.
1) Bar charts
Bar charts are another common type of infographic. Bar charts allow you to quickly make sense of sets where comparisons are crucial. For example, if you want to compare sales numbers from last year to revenue for 2016, a bar chart will give you a quick overview. By stacking bar charts on top of each other in parallel—with one stacked on top and one stacked below—you can convey a comparison that wouldn’t be clear using just one bar chart or table. When using a bar chart, keep in mind that your x-axis (or horizontal axis) needs to represent quantities while your y-axis (or vertical axis) represents numbers with no units or cost comparisons.
Tables are great for highlighting specific facts, comparisons, etc. Although they’re pretty basic (and even boring), they can often help highlight your key points in a way that’s visually appealing. Don’t have time to make one? Try turning text into a table instead—it’s not as efficient, but at least it looks nice! Not sure where to start? Check out these tips for creating tables in Word or PowerPoint (they apply equally well to other programs) or try Quip’s free infographic templates to get started on some unique infographic designs.
3) Pie charts
Pie charts are one of 7 infographic designs. Pie charts have been shown to be not effective in many situations. If a pie chart is to be used, there should only be 3 slices in a pie chart: don’t ever use 4 or more as it confuses readers and looks ridiculous! Why? Because a larger size for each slice adds an unnecessary amount of detail. When you’re making a pie chart, ensure that your title is below it – it’s always important that people can see what they’re looking at without moving their eyes to another line (and because titles and labels generally go below graphs). Do you know why they call them pie charts? Watch out for those angles: try to keep them less than 25 degrees – otherwise they look like triangles rather than pies.
4) Venn diagrams
Venn diagrams are a basic infographic design. They’re helpful for showing relationships between multiple groups, themes or ideas. They’re an easy way to show you how they relate to each other while still being visually appealing. This is one of seven infographic designs explained here in more detail, along with others such as flowcharts, diagrams and charts that can also be used for comparison. All are useful infographic designs if you want to do something simple that doesn’t take up too much space but conveys meaning effectively. Make sure to follow it up with more information so viewers who weren’t familiar with your topic don’t leave without feeling informed.
5) Line graphs
A line graph is one type of infographic design that shows changes over time. Although line graphs are not used for visual comparison, they can help viewers easily compare data from multiple points in time. Line graphs use a horizontal scale on either side to show each data point as a value on its own. Trend lines connect each point to provide context about where points fall within an overall trend over time. The slope of these trend lines can change (up or down) to reflect positive or negative trends in data over time, showing whether things are getting better or worse at any given point during a set period of time.
6) Area graphs
Most area graphs are circular and show information about a single variable over time, or progress made by a project. Other examples include pie charts. This is one of the more basic types of infographic design. There’s a lot to be said for being straightforward with your information—with an area graph, you just need to decide whether or not you want to include separate slices or if your data points will all go into one big circle.
7) Scatter plots
In a scatter plot, your independent variable (typically plotted on X-axis) are compared with your dependent variable (typically plotted on Y-axis). This can be great for showing trends in data. It is one of seven types of infographic design you should know about, but is also one that often gets misused or overused. While a scatter plot shows trends, it does not show causation. The points do not have to fall perfectly in line with an invisible curve as they do in some examples you might see – think bestseller lists or stock market predictions to understand what I mean by that last point. Don’t use scatter plots if you don’t need them because they tend to be much more difficult for readers to parse quickly than other infographic designs.