{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

Regardless of whether you like them or not, the creation and promotion of infographics has become absurd and out of control.

In fact, there's almost certainly an infographic that illustrates this deluge of information in an easily digestible visual format. 

Good infographics are great but many are bland, lots are bad, and some terrible. And to find the inglorious selection of infographics discussed in this post I only had to look at a small selection of tweets from the past week. 

If you are thinking about making one, here are four examples not to follow...

1. 20 reasons to switch to Google+

Type:

Misguided | Promotional.

Overview:

An infographic extolling the virtues of Google+ - probably aimed at a younger audience, and 'creatively' visualized using the image of a girl blowing bubbles in the countryside.

Problems:

1. Why bubbles? What's the relevance? Are they some kind of tenuous nod to Google+ Circles. If that's as far as the link goes they could've equally used plates crashing out of a cupboard or crisps falling out of a bag.

2. Regardless of who this is aimed at, the tone is disproportionately promotional and the points are obviously biased. If I think very long and hard, I can barely pluralise the reason for using Google+. 

3. It's mostly prose: any semblance of infographic is left till the end, where it's revealed that Snoop Dog is second to Britney Spears on Google+, before a statement in CAPS slams the doors on the idyllic pastoral scene by announcing that Google is 'ON THE RIGHT TRACK'.

Takeaway:

Don't make the tone obviously promotional, actually visualise information, and make sure the imagery is fitting and interesting rather than arbitrary.

2. Eat red meat & die

Type:

Extreme | Unconvincing.

Overview:

A deeply chilling infographic about the dangers of red meat consumption.

Problems:

1. It's fanatical and massively ham-fisted. And begins, aptly, with an image that looks like a beef-fist.

2. Given the seriousness of the issues discussed, some stats and statements are unconvincingly garbled and excessive. There's also a genuinely strange comparison between the size of a portion of meat and a DECK OF CARDS, which sounds contradictorily tiny and is almost a reason to go out and buy celebratory kilograms of steak.

3. The solutions aren't realistic either: you cannot directly substitute red meat with 'nuts'. Fish, maybe. But not 'nuts' alone.

Takeaway:

Back an argument with convincing numbers and proportionate sentiment - even on a biased agenda, and especially when the message is serious.

3. 2012 social media marketing industry report

Type:

Bland | Broad

Overview:

This infographic about social media marketing isn't so obviously bad but it's about as interesting to look at as an eyebrow.

Problems:

1. The bland design and pedestrian visualization. There's nothing visually captivating here; why would anyone share this? Did anyone ask that question before rushing this out?

2. Most of the findings are a bit underwhelming too: "Marketers seek to learn more about Google+". Well, If that's the case then these curious marketers should immediately go to infographic 1: for 20 impartial tips on why Google+ works so well.

3. There's no real hook: social media sites are saturated with infographics about social media. This statement could've been added as an overall footnote but then this infographic would've made even less sense.

Takeaway:

Don't just directly turn figures into stats alone with no wit or imagination. Nobody will care - and at least make sure the message is interesting and distinctive.

4. Tupac projection machine

Type:

Non-infographic | Image

Overview:

Demonstrating the increasing theme of basic images that are fragrantly tweeted as infographics, this one's just a picture. A picture of some kind of bizarre but admittedly intriguing Tupac projection machine.

Problems:

1. What's going on? For no immediately explained reason, rap superstar Snoop Dog pops up - for the second time in this post - to sinisterly lurk inside a parallelogram that's hidden behind a 45 degree angle. And there's lots of unexplained foil. 

Is Snoop Dog the sinister mastermind behind infographics, conducting affairs from the safety of this foil-lined parallelogram? After a quick web search I figured out that this is actually about a projection that occured - quite famously - at the Coachella Music Festival, but there's no supporting context or info on the graphic to make this immediately obvious.

2. Plainly, this just isn't an infographic. And the whole things especially confusing if you arrive expecting one - and get this.

Takeaway:

If it's just a diagram, picture, or prose, then it's not an infographic so why tweet it or promote it as one?

Overall Takeaway:

If you're making an infographic don't make it bland, unconvincing or promotional. Make it inventive, informative, truthful, and of course make sure it actually is an infographic. 

Otherwise, what's the point?

Next time: INFOGRAPHIC: Top Ten Ways to Completely Annihiliate a Papa John's Pizza Parlour.

Michael Wilkins

Published 23 April, 2012 by Michael Wilkins

Michael Wilkins is a freelance Online Consultant and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can contact him on LinkedIn.

9 more posts from this author

Comments (26)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Avatar-blank-50x50

Nick Stamoulis

I think infographics are a great way to get links and build engagement on your social networks, but it has to be something worth sharing. What real insights do you have to share? Generic data isn't better in inforgraphic form.

over 4 years ago

Michael Wilkins

Michael Wilkins, Freelance Digital & Content Marketing at Freelance

Nick, I'm in agreement with you on infographics being a great way to build engagement and also, to a lesser extent, backlinks. Some infographics are superb and very entertaining but at the moment there seems to be a worrying trend of infographics being produced that aren't worth sharing - this is just my attempt at illustrating that point humorously, nothing more.

over 4 years ago

Kirsten Morel

Kirsten Morel, Director at Edge Media

In my mind, the best infographics are designed to make difficult-to-understand statistics, far more palatable. The best are those which very simply, often in just one graphic, convey the statistical information in a hard-hitting and easy-to-understand manner.

over 4 years ago

Michael Wilkins

Michael Wilkins, Freelance Digital & Content Marketing at Freelance

Agreed Kirsten, which makes some of the examples here appear a bit daft. With that point, I'd also add that displaying this information in a genuinely creative and ingenious way is also important.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Phil

This article is a good example of how not to write a 'how not to' article. What's the takeaway? You just pointed out four infographics that you do not like. Is there a pattern that I can learn from the examples you have shared? What's 'bland' to you is 'elegant' to others. How do I correlate the solutions proposed in a beef infographic to one I am going to make tomorrow?

And are you sure all these infographics bombed at the social media? The first example appears to have been shared 150+ times each on Facebook and Google+ along with 100 odd shares on Twitter. I think it's a decent number? How do you decide what works and what doesn't? Did you also write 'how not to build a social network' when Facebook launched?

over 4 years ago

Michael Wilkins

Michael Wilkins, Freelance Digital & Content Marketing at Freelance

Sorry this didn't agree with you Phil, but this article reflects my opinion on what's wrong with infographic production at the moment - you might not be in agreement but I think it needs to be said. As for the 'takeaways' - there are five of them within the article.

Something might be 'bland' to me and not others, I agree. But I think that's missing the point of a (humorous) opinion piece.

I don't necessarily agree with your point that something's intrinsically valuable or good based on a high-level view of sharing either - that's too simplistic and one-dimensional: if you even attach the word 'infographic' on something, it pretty much guarantees some sharing and it doesn't take into account the network that the production's attached to.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Douglas Karr

I'm also amazed at the number of companies that try to take advantage of news events or other irrelevant information in their infographics. The Oscars are only relevant if you're in the movie industry. Grammys in the music industry. And Zombies in the apocalypse industry. Quit trying to make funny infographics that have nothing to do with your business and put out quality, relevant information that builds your authority!

over 4 years ago

Michael Wilkins

Michael Wilkins, Freelance Digital & Content Marketing at Freelance

Douglas, I am in agreement on that. No beef, bubbles, or irrelevant events. Actually, Snoop Dog might have some relevance in a Grammy-based infographic.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Lizz

I would like to see a follow-up with some examples of infographics you do like and why.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Amanda Record

Great call out on #4 not even mentioning Coachella. One of the most important parts in any content creation process is remaining aware of the things that you know and your audience might not. Even if it feels like stating the obvious.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Dave

I'd like to second Lizz's request, Michael - I'm sure you have an impressive portfolio of infographics you've had social / SEO success with - I'd love to see that post next.

over 4 years ago

Michael Wilkins

Michael Wilkins, Freelance Digital & Content Marketing at Freelance

Lizz, I will gladly oblige on that front, I had planned to write a follow up discussing exactly that.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Colin Burgoyne

Hilariously good.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

symos

Am I the only one here thinking that the last picture (not infographic, you're right on this one) is a good enough explanation of how Tupac's hologram was created on the stage of Coachella festival where he "performed" alongside Snoop Dogg?

I don't know in what context you found this image but I'm sure most people that saw it knew perfectly well what it was about and found it pretty "informatory" as well.

over 4 years ago

Tom Howlett

Tom Howlett, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai

No matter how many infographics are floating about, I still find them a great way of quickly looking over information to get a feel for what it is about.

As you don't want to add too much text content to an infographic, I find this hinders the ability to come across mostly unbiased. Although I have seen some good examples with two equally backed views.

over 4 years ago

Michael Wilkins

Michael Wilkins, Freelance Digital & Content Marketing at Freelance

Symos, true enough. Although it was definitely tweeted and labelled as an infographic and absolutely isn't one - and there's a lot of that going on at the moment. I also had no idea what it was about; not at first.

I do now though. I have, in fact, enjoyed a video of that impressive projection on YouTube.

Still not an infographic though.

over 4 years ago

Michael Wilkins

Michael Wilkins, Freelance Digital & Content Marketing at Freelance

Tom, I agree that infographics can be great if done well. I'll probably follow this up with a post on some really good examples - would be good to hear about anything that you've found that's particularly great.

over 4 years ago

Stephen Logan

Stephen Logan, Senior Copywriter at Koozai

Ever since infographics have been identified as a decent source of links/link bait, everybody has tried to get on board with their own interpretation. Invariably, some are much better than others.

For me, the really great infographics are getting tarnished by the rank average ones. As such, when I see [INFOGRAPHIC] following a link on Twitter or as part of a blog headline, I now tend to steer clear - which is a shame, because I probably miss out on some great stuff.

The next logical step will be to start making inforgraphics that are more interactive and less statistically heavy (don't get me wrong, I agree with Kirsten, statistics are good, but in moderation or at least clearly presented). Your examples above though perfectly demonstrate the problem that innovative infographic designers face - there is a lot of junk out there to fight against.

over 4 years ago

Michael Wilkins

Michael Wilkins, Freelance Digital & Content Marketing at Freelance

Agreed Stephen, particularly on your point about infographics becoming more dynamic and less static. I think more effort is going to be focused in this direction in the future - it'd be great to see a few more interactive examples.

Thanks for the contribution.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Grace Montage

Too much creativity would greatly affect the presentation of the infographic. It takes constant research, deliberation and well-balanced creativity to make the infographic be presentable and appealing to the target audience. I also believe that it should be well conceptualized and make sure that it conveys the right message to the target market.

over 4 years ago

Michael Wilkins

Michael Wilkins, Freelance Digital & Content Marketing at Freelance

Grace, agreed. Wanton creativity is bad, hence those bubbles not quite working. Thanks for the input.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

James Gooding

The sad thing is by posting this article you have fulfilled the infographics purpose giving the original website a link.

James Gooding
SEO Executive

over 4 years ago

Michael Wilkins

Michael Wilkins, Freelance Digital & Content Marketing at Freelance

James, that's a good point, perhaps that was the original intention of these four pieces of... linkbait: attracting links through badness, a bit like The Daily Mail?

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Dave

I think these examples are attempting to use the infograpic model to hide poor information and weak design, especially with the Google+ example.

Technically they are infographics but to be successful both the information and the graphics have to stand alone. One want hold up the other.

over 4 years ago

Michael Wilkins

Michael Wilkins, Freelance Digital & Content Marketing at Freelance

Agreed Dave, especially on the first example - it's just a collection of facts. Not completely convinced that the last example is an infographic though but that's probably subjective and it was a funny example in any case.

over 4 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Stephen Stanbury, Designer at Codesign Media

Very interesting read and well put.

There are a lot of bad Infographs out there at the mo, it seems that a lot of designers can't quite grasp the concept of what an infograph should be trying to achieve.

I always, analyse the data, draw a meaningful conclusion from the data. And only then start designing. It's all In the preparation.... Delivery is key!

over 1 year ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.