Bimbo Banter

3 Lessons from Infographics

  • Leadership
  • July 21, 2015
  • by Sally Ann Moyer

07 21 15 dallas roads

We’ve written on the Spaeth blog before about some useful tips when using infographics (hint: the same rules apply), but what can we learn from infographics? I don’t mean interpreting an actual image but looking at infographics as a subject. Yes, we are now far enough into the Internet Age that “infographics” have become a category of study just like flared jeans or fad diets.

1. Fame doesn’t equal fortune

At a glance it may seem infographics have gone the way of other digital trends: a flash in the pan and then onto the next new thing. Turns out, infographics have gone underground with some of the best designers now working in house or under NDAs. Nike launched its own digital visualization team this year.

This means it’s all about targeting your audience (sound familiar?). The snazzy infographic that makes it to the front page of BuzzFeed likely has less value than the numbers-driven infographic created for a group of Nike executives deciding which market gets a new product.

Who are the key stakeholders for your message? Tailor your message to those folks and, yes, even call them by name in your presentation. When mothers heard Kimberly-Clark’s Tom Falk saying “CEO Mom” in an interview, they listened closer because they knew he was talking to them.

2. It’s a mobile world – KISS Applies

The infographics you do see have gotten simpler because the majority of users are now accessing the web on smartphones.

WARNING: That complicated PPT slide you think will impress the audience in your next presentation? Guaranteed to cause MEGO (my eyes glaze over).

If you want your audience to understand your message and focus on what you’re saying, keep the visuals simple.

3. Insight over information

Flashy infographics, while more fun to look at, are not necessarily more helpful. I love this quote from Nicholas Felton, a man famous in the data visualization world for mapping every detail of his life: “No one needs to see weather radar when all you really want to know is whether or not you need an umbrella.” Sure, it’s fun to watch those different colored clouds twirl across the screen but what I really want to know is “Will this storm be over by the time I want to go for a run? “

This is an added bonus in presentations. Don’t leave your audience’s understanding to chance. Share what’s insightful in a headline (short, catchy phrase). A presenter who knows their audience will have determined what their audience needs to know and shape that into what their audience hears, believes and remembers.


(Image:  an infographic that actually makes sense, from the Dallas Morning News "City Hall Blog")

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