3 Key Rules for a Successful Infographic

Photo by Thais.sr

If you're a marketer looking to hire a designer or agency to create your next infographic, it's important to make sure your money will be well spent.

Too often, marketers hire designers with very little infographic experience. They may have a great portfolio of non-infographic designs, but if they aren't too experienced in the field, you don't want to be the one paying them to practice.

Visualizing information requires an extremely unique mindset. In fact, at Killer Infographics we tested over 200 highly skilled designers before finding our small core team. So if you want to ensure your infographic is a success, make sure it at least takes into account the following 3 rules:

1. Use Quality Research From Reputable Sources

While great design is a must in any infographic, if the data being presented doesn't come from trusted sources then the design won't save it from failure. There are too many spammy infographics out there today and you don't want yours to join the crowd.

Make sure that your infographic has a variety of sources from .gov and .edu sites. If sources come from a .com, make sure they are well-known publications and not a one-off blog that nobody has ever heard of.

In addition, make sure the research is well written with a beginning, middle and end. Too often I've had clients come to me only after paying another firm for infographics only sourcing wikipedia articles and filled with grammatical errors.

2. Avoid Stock Illustrations

2 years ago, the use of stock icons and stock illustrations in infographics was not entirely frowned upon, but expectations have changed for the better. Now there are thousands of infographics released online in any given day, so you have to be unique to stand out from the crowd.

Stock illustrations often feel out of place in an infographic because they were not made for the sole purpose of visualizing the information in that infographic. In addition, when illustrations are popular they can be found in many competing infographics, which tips off the average consumer.

If you're paying for an original design, you deserve all the hard work that comes with that versus someone cutting corners. Your target audience will appreciate something original far more than something canned and quick like this:

infographic using stock illustrations

3. Don't Make It A Reading Assignment

More often than not, it seems that people put pictures next to large paragraphs of text and typography and call that an infographic, but really it's a dressed up article.

A well executed infographic is not a reading assignment. Instead, the visuals tell the story and the text acts as a second thought, if anything.

Take the below design as an example. While there is a lot of typography and some pictures, at no point is the data or information visualized making for one long reading assignment instead. If all of the text was changed to a different language, you would have no idea what it was about.

bad infographic

One of our senior designers at Killer Infographics used the exact same data and information to create the following design:


As you can see, visualizing the information makes a huge difference. Infographics are meant to make information easier to digest. While there are many factors that go into creating a successful infographic, the foundation of a good infographic should at least start with great information, include original design, and avoid becoming a reading assignment.

Next Steps

About the Author: Amy Balliett

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.


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