Infographics are used to display complex information in a way that is more readily understood, and many of the best infographics come about when a story comes first. Each piece of an infographic – every data point, piece of copy, and design element – should support the story you’re trying to convey. With everything in the graphic lining up properly, the story will be that much more cohesive, and in turn, much more valuable to the reader.
This is not to say that even if all of the information and data exists, that the story still won’t require adaptation. Not every story you will want to tell will automatically translate into an infographic medium. Many times, while working on a project, certain data will arise that may make you look at the story differently, or find something more interesting than you previously realized you had in your data. By putting more time and effort into crafting an infographic narrative, you will more effectively communicate the story you want to tell.
When looking at creating editorial pieces, the process typically involves writing titles, introductory paragraphs, callouts, and conclusions — all the pieces that weave the story together.
Here, we detail the five main goals of an infographic’s narrative elements:
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1. Engage the Reader with an interesting Title and Subtitles. A punchy title is key for drawing in viewers. Alliteration, puns, and modifying well-known phrases are often a good place to start. Make sure the title is relevant to its target audience, your objectives, and the subject matter. Subheaders can also be catchy, but you should place a larger emphasis on clarity here in order to give your audience a high-level view of the graphic’s structure.
2. Provide Context for the Data. Contextual copy can help drive the story by speaking to the relevance of the information displayed, its significance to the target audience, and any other background information necessary to make the data visualization impactful. Most importantly, the narrative should tie together various data sets included within a graphic and make the connection between these clear to the viewer.
3. Guide the Reader through the Graphic in a Logical Flow. Ordering the content in a way that is logical and concise is an essential step in the process. As a general rule, a graphic should start with the background information that gives context to the datasets that help make your main points, then move toward your more specific, compelling data.
4. Highlight Notable Findings/Insights in the Information. When your objective is to convey a clear and specific message rather than provide a more explorative visualization, it is important to more directly call out key takeaways. While you may have a clearly defined stance on the issue, your tone should remain analytical, not opinionated.
5. Provide a Sound Conclusion. Once you’re presented the findings in a balanced way, it is ideal to lead the viewer to a desired conclusion without spelling it our for them. This can sometimes be a delicate balance between making a strong statement that clinches the narrative for readers and allows them to form their own opinions. Finally, it is important for the conclusion to offer some sort of solution or recommendation that speaks to any challenges or hypotheses introduced in the opening paragraph.
The most impactful editorial infographics have narratives that are focused and direct in their efforts to communicate sometimes complex ideas and information. In order to give your graphic the greatest opportunity for success, spend extra time crafting and refining the story your want to tell, before you begin. Also make sure every piece of copy you write plays a role in its unfolding.
Source: Column Five