These are five of the most common mistakes I see when looking at infographics. I’m the project manager the top infographic design studio in the UK and I’ll tell you a secret: at some point, I’ve probably made most of these mistakes myself.
It’s a new business. Anyone and everyone thinks they can do it. By the end of this article though you’ll see what’s stopping people from sharing your work and which in my experience are the top 5 mistakes to avoid.
1. Font Abuse
Font Abuse comes in two flavours. One is using an excessive number of fonts on your infographic. The example above has at least 4 or 5 fonts in it for instance. That’s too many.
The other problem is using a font and then resizing the text, instead of resizing the box. You end up with stretched and distorted letters. Check out number three on the example: you can see that the titles have been stretched upwards.
2. Painting the Rainbow
Painting The Rainbow is using an excessive number of colours on your infographic. Just because your computer can display over 16 million colours doesn’t mean you need to use every one of them.
Generally the most effective infographics have a palette of around three colours and two shades. There are some exceptions where using more colours is a successful part of the design (see below).
3. Drawing an Article
They call it an infographic, but all it really is, is an article with pictures next to it. For it to be an infographic, you need to take advantage of the medium. It should display information or data in a way that would not be possible for an article.
Usually an infographic has at least one dataset you are trying to communicate in a visually interesting way. For example this one here, IT Predictions 2012, could easily have been an article. It gains nothing by being an infographic.
4. Graph Porn
This is where you’ve made a graph for the purpose of it looking awesome, rather than for the purpose of making data easier to understand.
In this Sunshine and Happiness infographic, we see an astounding graph. It is a thing of pure beauty. It is also incomprehensible. The point it’s trying to make doesn’t even seem to actually exist. It also displays the same data twice, a cardinal sin of information design.
5. Google Image Parachuting
In this example, at the bottom in the editorial part of the infographic, they suddenly felt the need to illustrate some if the words.
You can clearly see that they’ve simply typed MASSAGE into Google Image search, dropped the image, PHILLIPINES, dropped the image, and DESSERT, dropped the image. It’s plain lazy.
Now here are two examples of how things can go horribly wrong.
Flame text is rarely as awesome as it sounds.
Under no circumstances do this: