For the past few years, at least once a week someone posts an article stating that infographics are dead. These articles are written with such certainty and blind passion that they almost seem accurate, despite the fact that thousands of infographics are released on a daily basis and the demand for infographics continues to explode. The fact is, infographics are not dead nor will they see their demise anytime soon.
You see, infographics are actually nothing new. they've risen to popularity because of us online marketers who saw a great new form of content marketing and embraced it (some a bit more than others some even smothered it). That said, infographics are, in their simplest form, visual communication. In fact, one could argue that the first infographics came in the form of cave paintings on walls.
Today, there is so much information to share and so little time to take it all in. Properly executed infographics provide a solution to this problem by circumventing language barriers and making information easy to digest for the masses. So, just as short-form communication has become the rising trend with Twitter, Instagram, Vine and more the visual execution of information is becoming a necessity in daily communication.
To understand the state of infographics in 2014, you must first accept the fact that infographics are not dead, dying or old-news. Infographics are here to stay, but the ones that will succeed in 2014 will have to meet a whole new set of standards. Here are 3 trends to look out for in the land of visual communication for 2014 and beyond:
1. Quality Over Quantity
Most articles stating that infographics have died OR should die are a result of too many people creating horrible infographics. When infographics rose to popularity in 2010, the quality of design and research was, unfortunately, less important than releasing dozens of infographics per month. The Internet was flooded with poorly executed infographics, but they still succeeded in gaining backlinks.
Fast forward to 2014 and we've evolved. Our standards have risen considerably. Infographics that have a good design but a bad story, wont succeed. Infographics with a great story and a bad design will fare even worse. In 2014, successful infographics will marry high quality design with a compelling story.
Brands need to stop making infographics just for the sake of hopping on the band wagon and instead use infographics to communicate important data or messages. And for their infographics to succeed, they need to work with experts to properly execute each design. Brands unwilling to pay for an infographic expert, will waste time and money creating a sub-par design that most will consider spam and ignore with ease.
This trend already began in 2013, but in 2014 audiences will be far less forgiving so rather than trying to create dozens of low-quality infographics per month, its better for marketers to focus on creating a few infographics each month that truly tell a story paired with amazing design.
2. Its Not Just About Digital Anymore
Another trend that began in 2013 and will be the norm in 2014 comes in the form of physical infographics. Visual communication shouldn't just live online as there are many offline opportunities when using this powerful medium to share your message.
Don't be surprised if you start seeing infographics throughout tradeshows as booths, handouts and even t-shirts. Visual information has even made its way into the classroom with infographics in textbooks and interactive infographics used as learning modules.
In addition, infographics are used throughout the workplace as a substitution for employee handbooks, expressing company goals, or acting as quarterly reports for executive level staff. They are also a great tool for sales staff that may need a one-sheet leave behind for clients.
3. Motion is Better than Static
Video has always been a great form of communication, but a well produced video is expensive! Motion graphics solve this problem. Motion graphics take everything that's great about an infographic and animate it. Motion graphics don't use frame-by-frame animation like a cartoon and rarely incorporate live action, so they are more affordable.
Home page explainer videos in the form of motion graphics will become the norm in 2014. In addition, motion graphics will be used to announce a new product offering, grow brand authority through humor, or share important information even easier than an infographic thanks to the help of a voice over.
While these are only a few infographic trends for 2014, they are clear indicators that infographics are here to stay and marketers that embrace properly executed forms of visual communication in the new year, will also embrace success!
Amy Balliett is the co-Founder of Killer Infographics, a globally leading infographic design agency located in Seattle, Washington. Killer Infographics has produced thousands of viral infographics, motion graphics and interactive infographics for a global clientele including Microsoft, Starbucks, the BBC, Adobe, and more.