Editor’s note: Lucy Davison is managing director and Simon Dunn is creative director at Keen as Mustard, a London marketing agency. Davison can be reached at lucy@mustardmarketing.com.

We are living through a communication revolution. We all live in an increasingly visual environment. We expect to be entertained; we expect things to be accessible; we expect things to be intuitive. The big question is whether the research industry is keeping up. We all know it’s extremely difficult – and getting harder – to absorb and retain large amounts of information, yet clients are still on the receiving end of seemingly-endless slide presentations.

Infographics have become the poster child for delivering findings with more visual flair. These graphic representations of data seduce and inspire – how often can we say that of our research outputs? But inforgraphics are not always straightforward. Having worked with many researchers on these projects, we have some guidance to ensure success.

Infographics can be split into two types: holistic and sequential. For holistic infographics, a single dataset is displayed in a beautiful way. You’d find them on sites such as Information is Beautiful or The Guardian’s Datablog and there is now a plethora of software online to create holistic infographics.

A sequential infographic is a collection of data charts presented in a visual, unified way. Usually it’s a very tall canvas that’s extended to accommodate the content. Marketing research data is naturally suited for sequential infographics. Each sequence is effectively a single piece of data or information and the sequences are linked by a common visual theme and source.

The choice between going it alone or hiring a professional depends on many factors, including your technological or design abilities, time, budget and the type of information you are trying to visualize.

If you are going to create the infog...