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  • Nancy Soulliard

How infographics make information and data memorable

Infographics are key for conveying information and ideas that capture your audience's attention

In 2015, the average attention span was about 8 seconds. It’s continuing to decline due to the abundance of information we’re consuming online and in various new technologies. The best way to capture the attention of an audience these days is with less text, sharper icons and imagery that tells a story in a unique way. From my early work at ENR magazine to my current work for prospective students and The Bridge alumni magazine, infographics are infused into so many of the projects my team and I create. We even incorporated a specific design style into our recent rebrand of Messiah University.

What is an infographic?

Using information and graphics, an infographic conveys data and information in a more captivating way than just text. It simplifies complex ideas and thoughts into easily digestible visuals. Since 91% of buyers prefer visual content, infographics are a great way to create memorable content. Color visuals increase the willingness of a consumer to read content to read by 80%. In a world with ever decreasing attention spans, any increase of connection with your consumer is key. Whenever I have a group of data or complex information, I look for ways to simplify it into bold eye-catching visuals.

Types of infographics

There are many types of infographics that create a memorable connection to your audience. Below are a few I often use throughout my work.

  1. Lists - When I have a list of information that needs to be read in a specific order, I look for ways to use large numbers, subheads and icons to draw the reader’s eye toward the important information.

  2. Articles - Since attention spans are so short these days, distilling a story down to its most significant information then using icons and illustration along with minimal text is a great way to make information memorable.

  3. Data Visualization - This type encompasses graphs and charts and is used to convey complex data and numbers. It’s an easier way for viewers to compare numbers and amounts and is a great way to display financials in a report like our annual President’s Report.

  4. Timelines - Rather than just use text to chronologically convey time-based events, using bold dates and icons for key events helps your audience really understand what happens next. This has been a great way to show prospective students key dates in the application or financial aid process. We also include a timeline of key events in our yearly President’s Report Year in Review.

Tips for strong infographics

  1. Be creative and unexpected. Look for new ways to make connections between ideas and data. Using images and icons related to the main theme in graphs and charts rather than just blocks of color creates a stronger connection to the central idea.

  2. Always keep in mind the audience. When designing projects for broad audiences, make sure it will be readable and accessible by all. Design for the narrowest audience and it will work for many others, too.

  3. Use color psychology. Keep in mind warm tones convey energy and cool blues are often calming. A minimal color palette makes all of the ideas in one graphic feel cohesive.

  4. Maintain visual hierarchy. The most important information should jump out at the viewer. Using a variety of text weights and sizes balance key points with copy.

Overall, keep an infographic creatively simple, cohesive and accurate. Making information memorable is key to capturing and retaining an audience.

To see infographics integrated into my work, visit

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