7 Steps to turn a blog post into an infographic
You’ve heard it more than once I’m sure:
“A picture is worth a thousand words”
Well, there’s no better evidence for the truth of that hackneyed phrase than the results of the viral infographics we see online.
When information is broken down into easy-to-digest chunks, and then made visual, we naturally get the point quicker. Plus, the visual excitement an infographic stirs in us is enough to get us pinning, sharing and tweeting into a frenzy.
Now, not all blog posts are improved with an infographic: opinion pieces and more personal diary-like posts do better with some emotive photographs, for example. May be some heart-warming quotes 😉
But blog posts packed full of facts and figures – well, they’re lightened up a load with the translation into a more symbolic, visual format.
So how do you turn a blog post into an infographic?
One option would be of course to hire a designer. Infographics can be incredibly time consuming and definitely require an eye for good layout, colours, illustration, typography, symbolic representation…
Yeah. No mean feat! But if you DO have a grounding with the visual arts, and can allow an hour or two, I’d love to walk you through a simple process for repurposing a blog post as an infographic.
How to turn a blog post into an infographic
Step 1: Identify the main points from your blog post
If your blog post has been formatted correctly, you’ll most likely have some kind of visual hierarchy already in place. For example, section headings, bullet points, numbered lists… and you’ll know already what the main points you want to drive home to your audience are.
Those will form your main points for the infographic. As a rule: less is more. This infographic isn’t intended as a replacement for your epic post: it’s a visual supplement, to get the points across as speedily as possible, whilst still making an impact.
Step 2: Decide how to represent the data
Your data will either be qualitative (eg: ‘Share infographics for more engagement’) or a quantitative (eg: ‘XX more infographics were shared than blog posts in 2015’) and this will play a big part in helping you decide how to visually represent them.
To keep things simple for this guide, I recommend running through this checklist to see if your point could be represented by any of the following:
Bonus: Use illustrations. Including illustrations to explain the data versus simple graphs and charts can get 52.7% more tweets and 72.8% more likes!
Step 3: Sketch the layout
Time to pick up that pencil and paper! By sketching out the rough layout of your infographic, you’ll find it so much easier to crack on when you’re using Canva.
I accept that my design is likely to run onto the next page – infographics are usually best proportioned as long portrait format (that said, I’ve seen some great landscape poster format infographics too, so don’t let that limit you!)
A great place to find cute icons is the Noun Project – there’s pretty much a symbol for everything you can imagine!
Keep playing with variations of sections: you want to keep the viewers interest. However, you can’t expect every single point to be given maximum emphasis – that just brings the overall emphasis down. Instead, try to focus in on 2-3 areas of the graphic to really shout out.
Step 4: Pick a colour scheme
In order to make your design cohesive (and therefore pretty enough to be shared) is a strict colour scheme.
Picking an overall theme for you infographic helps here: and this is where some imagination comes in handy.
“Figure out the story and theme of your infographic, and pick colors based on image triggers.”
You’ll partly be led by what category or topic your subject falls into. Business themed infographics usually involve blues and greys, health themed will make use of greens, historical themes will no doubt be more muted in tones.
That doesn’t mean you have to follow the herd – think about your audience, and remember that as long as you stick to 2-3 core colours, it’s hard to go too far wrong.
I’ve been a fan of Adobe Color CC for years to help me decide colour schemes.
Step 5: Pick your fonts
As with the colour scheme, you want to be strict on yourself and limit your choice of fonts to no more than 2-3.
You really want one main font for titles, and one for smaller text that serves as annotations to your image-based elements.
Above all, you want the fonts to be super legible. If your reader can’t read the important bits, it doesn’t matter how pretty your design is!
Finally, you shouldn’t have too much to say in terms of text – if your infographic is doing the best job it can, text should be kept to a bare minimum.
For more advice on picking the best fonts, I absolutely adore Kim Geswein’s Font Pairing guide.
Step 6: Start designing
Now that you know what you’re doing you’re ready to go!
My preference is still good old Adobe Illustrator, because I’m (1) used to it and (2) it gives me all the freedom I need to design anything I want.
But honestly, sometimes I need my workflow to be much quicker, and that’s when I use one of the free online infographic makers.
The other advantage to these tools (other than the price!) is that you can get inspiration from the pre-made templates they provide. Not all are D&AD award winning designs, but they are certainly a great starting point.
These are the best online tools I’ve found for designing infographics for free:
Piktochart – particularly good custom map tool
Vennage – beautiful interface, great free icons (is that Pikachu!?)
Infoactive – simple but beautiful – I love the ‘logo and sources’ text block
Easely – slightly clunkier than the above, but worth exploring as it’s interface will suit some users better
Canva – very simple to use but less customisable – best if you are ok to stick strictly to their (lovely) templates
Step 7: Add your sources and your url
Please oh please don’t forget to add your website url! The point in this infographic is to get your work out there after all, and that original blog post you based it on.
Ideally, you wan that post to have a pretty url that will look ok when you add it to the bottom of your infographic.
You can also add your logo, for further brand reinforcement, but it’s not as vital.
It’s also a good idea to add your sources in some small print – it’s good web karma to share your sources, and it adds validity to your information.
Bonus step: Share share share!
Oh yeah – you aren’t done yet! There are tonnes of places to share your infographic, even after the vital checklist:
– Your blog (add it to your post or create a new one altogether)
Top tip: This is a great tool to generate the embed code for others to share your graphic.
– Your email list (most email clients won’t share the image automatically, so make sure to create a clear link to view it)
– Your social media channels (Pinterest will be the one to prioritise here)
– Tweet the sources you cited as a thank you (and hopefully get some retweets!)
Places to submit your infographic for more exposure:
reddit.com (strict rules – not for sales-y graphics!)
fastcompany.com (Email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be short, compelling, and present an amazing piece.)
Of course I couldn’t resist making an infographic for this post…
Share this infographic on your site!
A question for you!
Have you ever created an infographic? Any tips to add? Let me know in the comments!
(Alternatively send me a tweet @CatRoseDesign to let me know if you found this useful)