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Donít Take Your Infographics for Granted - 6/22/2016 -

Donít Take Your Infographics for Granted

The editorial and design team that produces ACR Bulletin at the American College of Radiology has transformed stale, need-to-know information into engaging, actionable content by creating infographics. Learn how you can too at AM&Pís Annual Meeting, June 27-29, 2016 in Washington, DC.

By Apryl Motley, CAE

Infographic has quickly become a new buzz word among content creators. However, not all infographics are created equal. The effective ones are more than just words and charts thrown together haphazardly. As Meghan Edwards, and Lyndsee Cordes, copy writer and managing editor, respectively, for ACR Bulletin at American College of Radiology explain in this recent interview, infographics require careful planning and positioning to be worthwhile for your audience.

Sidebar: Has your publication always used infographics of some kind? Do you use them in the both in print and online?
Yes, since we came on board, weíve worked to bring smaller, snackable pieces of content to our publications. And infographics are one of the best ways to do that. We design our infographics for both print and web, adapting as needed. Print infographics can spread over the entire page, but digital ones need to be more vertical (so that they present well on mobile devices). We make sure the design is relatively versatile so that when the time comes to post, we donít have to spend toomuch effort remaking the graphic for the web.

Sidebar: Has your use of infographics increased or stayed the same over the years?
Weíve always been interested in making the Bulletin graphically interesting. Our members tend to be very visually-oriented and need to take information in quickly. Because of that, weíve always relied on images and infographics wherever we can.

With that said, weíve ramped up our use of infographics recently as weíve acquired better tools (like Adobe Creative Suite and our microsite). Another huge factor has been our awesome designer Jessí coming on board and taking over the design of our infographics. Being able to work collaboratively with a designer makes all the difference in the finished product.

Sidebar: From the editorsí perspective, what's most challenging about identifying potential content for infographics?
Itís tricky to pare down all the information. Itís also hard to get away from the idea that infographics are only statistics. Theyíre definitely the quickest to visually take in information, but lots of other pieces of content make great infographics. For instance, weíre working on one in an upcoming issue about leadership skills.

Sidebar: As a team, what goals/objectives did you identify and agree upon for creating infographics? How do you generally work together to ensure that your infographics achieve the goals that you want?
We generally stick with the following criteria when deciding if information warrants an infographic:

  1. Would a graphic treatment make the information visually interesting and tell a story?
  2. Could we convey the infographic in both print and digital?
  3. Would this information make more sense in a different format?

As the editors are gathering the information for the infographic, we come up with examples of how the information might look and which connections need to be made visually. We build in lots of time for concepting and review, same as we would an article.

Sidebar: What are three lessons learned/pitfalls that you would suggest that others avoid in creating infographics for their pubs?

  1. Donít just add clipart to go with sentence-long pieces of information. Your art needs to be able to convey the same information youíd get across with words. Find the right balance between words and text.
  2. Donít just throw a bunch of statistics at your designer and hope they can make sense of it graphically. Editors need to identify topline information, takeaways, and connections between information.
  3. Donít expect to use the same file in print as online. People expect different things from content on the web, so you need to adapt the format, design, and potentially the wording.

Learn more about the ACR Bulletin teamís approach to developing infographics during their AM&P Annual Meeting session, The Big Picture: What Your Designer Wishes You Knew about Infographics, on Wednesday, June 29, 1:15 Ė 2:15 p.m.

Apryl Motley, CAE is a communications consultant and freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor to Association Media & Publishingís Signature magazine and a member of its Content Creation Committee.


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