As more brands use infographics for their marketing, patterns regarding style, promotion strategies, and content emerge.
Observing these trends can help you keep up and maintain the relevance of your brand. But if you really want to gain a significant edge over the competition, you’ll need to look ahead using the information readily available today.
In this post, we’ll discuss the current trends that could shape the infographic design industry in 2018.
1. Large Headlines
The first thing you’ll notice with the majority of infographics designed today, particularly those with a long format, is the use of large headlines.
This is probably one of the trends that will stick around for a long time. After all, the headline is in charge of getting the audience’s attention and giving them the right expectations with regard to what the content is about.
You don’t need to be a Hemingway-level writer to come up with catchy headlines. Just try to be simple, thought-provoking, and honest. Take this infographic, for example:
Apart from being large, the headline also brought up a question to pique the audience’s interest. It also instills authority using Richard Branson’s name, but non-specific terms like “Fortune 500 CEOs” or “successful entrepreneurs” would’ve also worked.
2. Flat Design
The flat and minimalistic graphic design trends have permeated to the infographic industry, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only are they easier to make, they’re also perfect for emphasizing data-driven information.
Visualizations such as bar graphs, for example, are much easier to digest using simple fonts and plain colors. Here is an example of a bar graph in its purest form:
It’s worth pointing out that there’s a fine line between “minimalism” and outright lazy design. Although plain colors would’ve made it easy to read the numbers, you should still include subtle details that add aesthetic value. In the example above, adding shadows behind the bars is a nice touch.
3. Branding Elements at the Bottom
Creating infographics, whether by hand or with the help of a designer, takes a lot of work. It only makes sense for you to incorporate a few branding elements to raise awareness.
Interestingly, only a few brands insert their logo at the very top of an infographic. Most would rather wait until the audience acquired the information they need before introducing themselves. The infographic below does just this:
If the infographic is to be distributed online, then a simple logo should suffice. After all, most content creators would link to your site whenever they use your material. But if you want to be safe, you can include a CTA next to a shortened version of your website’s URL.
4. Real Photograph Backgrounds
For some infographics, using real photo backgrounds is a great way to induce an emotional experience to the audience. This requires you to choose the right photo that augments the “atmosphere” that you want to build. Ask yourself, what do I want my audience to feel upon viewing my infographic? Should they feel inspired, confident, angry, or hungry?
A common example of infographics that use real images as backgrounds is the “food” infographic:
Looking at the infographic above, it looks like the creator wants to educate the audience about the sweet world of pies. But thanks to the background image, some viewers may suddenly feel appetized.
An advantage of creating real photo infographics is that they’re surprisingly easy to create. To look for suitable images, you can simply download Instagram photos or browse for stock photos from sites like Pixabay. If you’re using someone else’s image, be sure to ask for their permission first. In some cases, they might even help spread your infographic once it goes live.
They may be harder and costlier to create, but animated infographics — including those that feature some interactivity — can definitely create an engaging experience for your audience. Aside from being impressive, these infographics can also present more information while also using less space.
For your reference, you can check out the infographic below from The Evolution of the Web:
You’ll most likely require help from someone who knows HTML5 to create something similar. Fortunately, you can find plenty of talented individuals through freelancing marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork.
6. “Retro” Design
One trend that’s more apparent in young brands is the use of modern “retro” design — also referred to as “pixelated” art style. Infographics that use it typically include video game references. For example, the infographic below uses a character that resembles Nintendo’s, Super Mario:
Just like flat design, modern retro also utilizes plain colors with very little stylistic elements, such as gradients, textures, transparency, and so on. The main difference is the distinctive, blocky characteristics of design elements within a modern retro infographic.
7. Dynamic Typographical Hierarchy
For those who are unaware of what “typographical hierarchy” means, it’s simply the styling of text pertaining to organization and level of importance. Having large headlines, for example, is one way to apply typographic hierarchy.
Some infographics today, however, utilize typography more dynamically, rather than following a set structure for the entire piece. As a result, the audience’s eyes would constantly shift between sections.
At first, this approach may sound confusing to the person reading the infographic. But you can make it work as long as there’s still a discernible segmentation between sections. Here is an example of how this works:
Take note that a dynamic typographical hierarchy works better for infographics that don’t have a long format. As shown in the example above, the sections do not look fragmented despite having dozens of typographic sets. This is due to the well-placed “page break” lines and the columns that keep the sections vertically aligned.
8. Quote Roundups
Running out of ideas for your infographic — or any type of content for that matter? Listicles and roundups have become the fallback of many content creators. In addition to being easy to make, they also guarantee value to readers who care about the article’s main subject.
While list-type content is also widely used for infographics, another ongoing trend is the roundup of quotes from celebrities, successful entrepreneurs, and other famous people:
Source: Sleep Matters Club
Although a quote roundup infographic’s content is largely based on the actual quotes themselves, there’s still plenty of legroom for you to get creative. For example, in the infographic above, the designers introduced details that reflect the famous person’s career and personality. Notice how there are computer peripherals behind Mark Zuckerberg’s section, while icons that relate to music are used in Simon Cowell’s.
The trend of using duotones isn’t exclusive to infographics. Rather, it applies to graphic design in general. In simple terms, it’s the practice of integrating a two-color feature on an image to drastically change its appearance. This often results in a vibrant image that can captivate your audience in an instant.
Below is an example of how duotones can spice up any image:
Source: Column Five
When using duotones, it’s important to choose colors that instill the emotions you want to trigger in your audience. Red, for example, is a color associated with power, energy, and passion. Blue, on the other hand, symbolizes intelligence, loyalty, and seriousness.
10. Large Percentages
This is one of the trends that are present in most — if not all — data-driven infographics. It’s the presentation of percentages using large fonts for percentages for emphasis and quick skimming.
More often than not, the percentages are surrounded with of other visualizations and details:
Naturally, how you weave the percentages in your infographic design is up to you. Just be sure they’re easy to see by using large fonts and contrasting colors. An organized layout, as shown in the example above, also ensures that the audience will know exactly where to look for specific data.
Another challenge of infographic design is making sure your message will stick with the audience. While presenting data in a visual form already aids memory retention and retrieval, you can go the extra mile by incorporating visual storytelling. This can easily be done by featuring memorable characters in your infographic.
Below is a great example of an infographic that features a main character:
Source: Pounds to Pocket
The main reason why characters are perfect for storytelling isn’t that they’re cute or humorous; it’s because the audience can empathize with them and relate to what’s being depicted. If you want to feature a character in your infographic, make sure you cover scenarios or problems that your audience is having. This will help you engage them on a more personal and emotional level.
Take note that these practices are still widely used, as of writing this article. There’s no telling if they may disappear or grow even bigger in the following months. But by looking at what they offer and their prevalence in countless blogs, the odds are high that we’ll see more of them next year.
What do you use in your own infographics? We’d like to see them. Please feel free to share in the comment section below.