Head of U.S. Custom Research, YouGov

Creative Director, YouGov

One of the most comprehensive forms of data visualization is the infographic. Infographics have a beginning, middle and end, providing the viewer with a full interpretation of the topic or idea. While other forms of visual storytelling may rely heavily on accompanying text, commentary or voice-overs in the case of video, infographics allow the data alone to drive the viewer through the narrative. 

Because infographics rely so heavily on design to effectively express their purpose, tactful collaboration between the researchers or writers who source and structure the data and the designers who bring it to life is essential. When developing an infographic, five critical elements can help define and ease this process: refining the data, developing a narrative, structuring the wireframe, assembling the visuals and delivering the final product to its audience. 

1. The data

If you’re developing an infographic, chances are you have a topic in mind and either already have or are working on accessing the necessary supporting data. Once you’ve collected your data, there are three key elements to evaluate before you can begin structuring your story. First and foremost, you have to know your audience. Consider why they’d want to view your infographic and what they most want to learn from it. Is the information groundbreaking? Informative? Highly relevant? Would they share it with their boss or peers? Use this analysis to inform the next step in molding your content: selecting the strongest data and discarding the remainder. Keep your story concise and impactful. 

At this point, you’ll be ready to define the output of your production. Will it be a traditional infographic embedded in an online article, 600 pixels to 700 pixels wide and very tall? Will it be a printed as a poster for display or make its w...