The Ultimate Infographic Design Guide: 13 Tricks For Better Designs (Updated for 2019)

infographic design

So you want to become an infographic design expert? You've come to the right place.

Here are 13 essential infographic design tips (click to jump ahead): 

  1. Planning your infographic design
  2. Write a compelling title
  3. Create a grid or wireframe for your infographic design
  4. Use the right infographic layout for your data (scroll down for a video guide)
  5. Follow data visualization best practices
  6. Incorporate different infographic design elements
  7. Use photography in your infographic design
  8. Use contrast in your infographic design
  9. Create symmetrical and asymmetrical balance
  10. Use color effectively
  11. Make sure there's consistency in your infographic design
  12. Leave plenty of negative space in your infographic design
  13. Practice, practice, practice

People have been going nuts about infographics since the infographic design boom of 2012. No, really, that was a thing. Between 2010 and 2012, searches for infographics increased by a whopping 80%.

Since then, infographics and infographic design have become a standard visual used in content across niches.

That's because infographics can communicate information in a condensed and highly visual way—when designed well. Here's one example:

infographic design


 

The problem is that for every well-made infographic published, there are a handful of poorly produced infographic designs circling the web.

Poorly designed infographics can skew and obscure information, rather than make it easier to understand.

Creating a beautiful and effective infographic design isn't hard, it just takes a basic understanding of infographic design best practices.

Of course, it helps if you use an infographic template to give you a head start, like this one:

infographic design


 

Just so you know, some of our infographic templates are free to use and some require a small monthly fee. Sign up is always free, as is access to Venngage's online drag and drop editor.

This is your crash course to effective infographic design. Let's get started.

Or get all of our infographic templates on one page and start creating right away.

 

1. Plan your infographic design

Our video on how to plan and create the perfect infographic is a great primer for those new to infographic design:

Keep reading for more tips...

Find a story

In every set of data there's a story. Before you begin designing your infographic, think of the story you are trying to tell. The angle you choose will help you determine which information to include. 

For example, this infographic design tells the story of completing a project from start to finish:

infographic design


 

Because infographics allow for limited space for content, the purpose of your infographic should be focused. That's why the layout of your infographic should not only reflect the theme of your information, but also enhance the communication of it. 

For example, the infographic template below uses numbered boxes and arrows to keep the reader's eye moving in the right direction:

infographic design


 

This process infographic uses a line to connect its steps:

infographic design


 

Read our blog post on process infographic templates and design tips for more info.

Create an infographic outline

Before diving into your design, create an infographic outline. In your outline, include your headers, data, and any design details you don't want to forget.

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 2. Write a compelling title

Come up with a title that is catchy and descriptive. Readers should get a sense of what the information will be, to engage them and make them want to read further.

This title of this infographic has TWO numbers, which copywriting guru Brian Dean recommends using to make your headlines more compelling and specific:

infographic design


 

This infographic design makes use of a big, bold headline and specific subheader that tells readers exactly what information they're going to get:

infographic design


 

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3. Create a grid or wireframe for your infographic design

Grids and wireframes are the structural base to any design. Designing on a grid allows you to easily organize elements and information. Grids also play an essential role in keeping objects and elements aligned.

For example, when aligning items, you can reference the same vertical grid line and then space each list item accordingly.

The below example shows how color palettes are aligned on a grid. The Venngage editor also has the option of using "smart guides" which help align items for you automatically, without using a grid:infographic design

Here's the original template, before customization:

infographic design


 

For your infographic design, use a grid system to create margins. It's good practice to keep enough space in between your elements and the edge of your canvas to avoid visual tension.

An infographic design can potentially have any size of margin you desire but it's important to keep the margin consistent all the way along the edge of your canvas.

A good rule of thumb is to keep all objects and elements at least 20px (one square on the grid) away from the edge of the canvas.

Want to take your infographic design to the next level? Download our interactive guide on The Dos and Don'ts of Infographic design!

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4. Use the right infographic layout for your data

Pick the best infographic layout for your data. There are hundreds of possible infographic templates out there to choose from.

This quick video guide will help you pick the best type of infographic layout for your data:

 

For example, you could use a one column layout for a minimal infographic, or create a list infographic by spitting the layout into two columns, like in these examples:

infographic design layout

Here's an example of a two-column infographic design:

infographic design


 

You can read a more in-depth article on selecting the right infographic template for your data in our blog post on How To Make an Infographic in 5 Steps.

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5. Follow data visualization best practices

Pro tip: always start your infographic planning with pen and paper. This way, you can work through concepts and designs roughly before finalizing a digital copy.

Choose the best chart types for your data

The type of data you are trying to convey will determine which chart type is the best for your data. To decide which type of chart would best convey your data, you first have to determine what kind of data you want to present: a single important number? A comparison between data points? A trend over time? An outlier?

The types of charts most commonly used in infographics are pie chart, bar graphs, column graphs, and line charts. For example, a column graph is one of the easiest ways to compare data.

infographic design chart

And to convey a trend over time, the most common type of chart to use is a line chart.

line chart infographic design

But if you think of a more unusual chart that would convey the data effectively, don't be afraid to get more creative. For example, you can identify and show the trends such as sales over time, correlations such as sales compared temperature or outliers such as sales in an unusual area.

infographic design bubbles

A good rule of thumb is that your charts should be easy enough to read that it only takes readers ten second or less to understand. You can read a more in-depth article on choosing the right chart type here.
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6. Incorporate different infographic design elements

Typography

Typography is a very important element for infographic design and your one way to explain your ideas and information when images, graphs or icons can’t. That's why it's important to choose the best fonts for your data.

That being said, try to limit the amount of text you include on your infographic. The best infographics have visual impact, with the text acting as a secondary explanation for the visual content.

This infographic design relies on icons, dates and headers, with minimal explanatory text:

infographic design


 

First and foremost, make sure your type is legible. In most cases, avoid decorative or script type as it tends to be hard to read.

If you have to use small text or an elegant font, use it sparingly (like in the below example). It always helps to increase the line height of bodies of small text if it starts to become hard to read.
typography infographic design
Source.

To keep infographic designs cohesive, limit your use of fonts to a maximum of three types, but also don’t stick with just one. A tasteful use of two brand fonts can create a nice dynamic and hierarchy of information.

This infographic design uses one font for the headers and one for the body copy:

infographic design


 

Alternatively, a number or statistic in one font type next subtext in another creates a hierarchy of information:

typographt infographic design 2

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7. Use photography in your infographic design

The use of photography can be tricky if there is not a photographer available to take the shots of exactly what you need.

There are ways to work around not having a photographer at hire by incorporating stock photos that are royalty free from places like Pixabay or Unsplash. The only risk is that using stock images can look uncreative and, frankly, cheesy. That's why you need to take care when deciding which images to use.

Be sure that the photos you use have a consistent style and lighting. Try to pick photos with the same lighting effects, same backdrops, same amount of dark areas, etc. It's important to stick to a certain style as images that clearly don’t fit the set will distract from the information being communicated. 

If you're going for a simple modern use of photography, use only images with flat colour (or white) backdrops. If you're going for a neutral newspaper approach, use only black and white images.

racism-in-sports infographic design

Source.

Photos that take up a majority of space in your infographic, which can distract from information. This issue can be solved by using a cropping such as circle frames.

infographic design


 

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8. Use contrast in your infographic design

Contrast creates visual impact by placing two strikingly different elements beside each other. If an infographic has a light background with bold colored shapes, our eyes are immediately attracted to the bold colors. This allows you to organize information by having a certain element more prominent than another.

Contrast using colors

Color selection can have a big impact on your infographic design.

Try pairing complementary colors to make your headline pop. One of my favourite combinations is a darker blue with a brighter color like orange which makes your headline stand out. 

infographic design

Contrast using typography sizes

A header is usually the largest text on an infographic, followed by the subheader and then the body copy. The header should pretty much always be the largest point size so that the viewer knows the subject of your infographic right off the bat.

infographic design


 

Contrasting visuals

Use a tinted image contrasted with a chart overtop to add context.

infographic design

Source. 

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9. Create symmetrical and asymmetrical balance

An infographic with visual balance is pleasing to the eyes because everything fits together seamlessly. A balanced infographic keeps the entire composition cohesive, especially in a long form infographic.

If there are heavy visuals on the top of an infographic, you should keep the flow going right to the bottom. There are two types of balance: symmetrical and asymmetrical. 

Symmetrical balance is when each side of the composition has equal weight. This layout is effective in a comparison infographic like this one:

symmestrical infographic design


 

Asymmetrical balance is more natural and less uniform than a symmetrical composition. It creates a more complex relationship between objects. It can make an infographic more dynamic since the composition is not repeated excessively. 

For example, if you are creating timeline infographics, alternate text between both sides of the timeline for a balanced composition.

google graph infographic design


 

Check out these creative timeline templates.

 

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10. Use color effectively

Decide on a color scheme before creating your infographic. A good rule of thumb is to design your infographic with two or three main colors, and to use minor color accents.

When choosing your color scheme, decide on the tone of your infographic. Is it a business infographic? If so, try using neutral colors like blue or green, or, of course, your brand colors, especially if you're including your logo.

For fun, eye popping infographics, use brighter hues, but be careful not to use large amounts dark or neon colors as they can be straining to the eyes when viewed on the web.

Color can also be used as a sectional tool. Add blocks of color to section your infographic, giving the eye some breathing room as viewers scroll down. 

blue graphic infographic design

Source.

Here are a couple of helpful tools on the web to help you choose a color palette:

Adobe Color CC

LOLColors

COLOURlovers
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11. Make sure there's consistency in your infographic design

In order for your infographic design to flow from start to finish, the design elements need to be consistent. If you are using icons that are filled in, rather than line art icons, then keep using the same style throughout the entire infographic. 

infographic design


 

The same goes for the style of images you use, the font style, and the color palette. This will prevent your infographic from looking cluttered, and will actually make it easier to read.

Confused about how to use icons properly in your infographic? Our video will teach you in under 3 minutes:

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12. Leave plenty of negative space in your infographic design

Negative space is the blank space surrounding objects in a design. 

Blank-Space-Where-People-Can-Write-Names

Negative space has a big impact on your design. If your infographic design is too crowded, it can overwhelm readers and make it difficult to read the information.

Creating space around the elements in your design allows readers the breathing room to process the information. Pro tip: if you are using a 16pt size, the line height should be no less than 1.2.

infographic design


 

Leaving negative space can be as simple as making sure there is enough space between lines of text. Just look at the difference that a little space makes in the example below:

negative space infographic design
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13. Practice, practice, practice

This is going to sound cliché, but when it comes designing infographics, it will probably take your a couple of goes at it to get the hang of it. You will need to figure out what works in a design and what doesn't.

Luckily, this learning process is made a lot easier by infographic templates and guide. And there are certainly a lot of examples out there for you to draw inspiration from.

When in doubt, ask someone else to look over your design before you publish it--they will be able to tell you if there is any information that is unclear, or if there is any way that you could make your design even better.



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Read our step-by-step guide to creating infographics:

Infographic Design 101: How to Make an Infographic in 5 Easy Steps

make an infographic