Book Review – Infographics: The Power of Visual Storytelling

Reviewed by Special K, ETMG Writer and Blogger

Infographics Book Cover

Infographics visually communicate data in memorable, concise, and appealing ways, so it is with good reason that marketers are increasingly turning to this medium.

Infographics: The Power of Visual Storytelling is an excellent beginner’s resource for understanding both the value of infographics and guidelines for creating them. Written by three pioneers of digital infographic design – Jason Lankow, Josh Ritchie, and Ross Crooks – the book is particularly useful for understanding appropriate content for different infographic genres.

Determining Your Infographic Genre

One of the book’s key takeaways is the importance of asking the right questions throughout the production cycle. Who is your intended audience? What are you trying to communicate to them? If your goal is to use content to make current and prospective customers aware of your expertise, then you’ll want to create an editorial infographic. If, on the other hand, your goal is communicate specific ideas and data about your company, its mission, products, and services, then you’ll want to create a brand-centric infographic.

Editorial Infographics

According to the authors, successful editorial infographics engage viewers by telling a story about topics loosely related to an industry. They also add value to viewers’ lives by informing or entertaining. For example, Kia Motors created an interactive graphic explaining how a hybrid engine works. Aside from a well-placed logo, the infographic did not hit people over the head with a brand or a sales pitch. Posting editorial infographics, which have the ability to become viral, on your blog can provide a nice boost to your content marketing performance.

Brand-centric Infographics

Infographics can also be used to successfully communicate ideas about your company and brand. The authors report that the most successful examples of brand-centric infographics are “About Us” pages, product instructions, visual press releases, and annual reports, and the book contains several examples of each. You might create an infographic that shows industry trends and statistics and the problem or need your company addresses.

When designing brand-centric infographics, the authors suggest delivering messaging up front and keeping it short and sweet. Choose a few simple points to convey, avoid using insider lingo, and use visual cues in place of wordy descriptions. Infographics that use statistics such as revenue growth, user base expansion, or product performance provide context while simultaneously clarifying impressive trends. The old adage is true: a picture is worth (at least) a thousand words.

This book is primarily oriented to people who are new to working with an infographic design team, but it is full of information that will help both designers and marketers understand each other.

Additional related topics addressed include:

  • A brief history of infographics and information design
  • The pros and cons of using static, motion, and interactive infographics
  • A typical production cycle for an editorial graphic
  • Data visualization and infographics in interactive interfaces
  • Key principles of good information design

Infographics is an interesting and informative read for anyone wanting to let your data do the talking.

Buy it here through Amazon.

Further Reading:

Examples of Infographics with Marketing Insights

On the Power of Pinterest as One Example of a Visual Communication Tool

Some Best Practices for Creating a Winning PowerPoint Presentation

Social Media and the Problem of Self Promotion

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6 Comments

  1. Margie says:

    Interesting. While infographics are perceived as new and even a bit trendy, the communication fundamentals remain the same: know your audience and objectives, be clear and concise.

  2. Renee Tomer says:

    I have heard the term infographic refer to all sorts of graphical representations of data and ideas. I look forward to reading this book and learning more on how infographics can be used for marketing communications. Thanks for the great review!

  3. Lu says:

    If you want to get yourself noticed and stand out amongst your competition, who use the average Word template resume, create a “resume” infographic. You will get noticed for your creative presentation. I know companies like Google expect it.

  4. Karin says:

    I think infographics can be a really clever and effective marketing tool especially when conveying complex information – one example that comes immediately to mind is Cisco’s infographic that explains on the Internet in 2015: http://share.cisco.com/dawn-of-the-zettabyte-era.html.

  5. Michael says:

    I created a small infographic for a small business. The graphic is extremely powerful in that it tells a very long story in a very small very easy to digest space.

  6. Janice Avellar says:

    I would argue that it’s really just the term “infographics” that is new. People who develop effective Powerpoint slides or even diagrams in papers/books/brochures have been creating storytelling pictures for years! The real difference seems to be that infographics can look cluttered and busy to the naked eye, and they are accepted as long as they convey the message. I have not read this book yet, but I look forward to reading what the “guidelines” are for infographics.

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