How to brief in a good infographic

Infographics have proved to be a powerful format for content marketers but getting them right takes careful planning and preparation. Here's how to brief in a good infographic.

 How to brief in a good infographic

Define your strategy

The first thing you need to do before you brief your infographic designer is to treat it like any other piece of content and ask yourself what the infographic is for and what you hope to achieve by creating it. Ask:

  • Do you want to drive more traffic to your site?
  • Do you want it to support a blog post?
  • Do you want to back up an editorial news story?
  • Are infographics going to form a big part of your marketing strategy, or are you simply going for a one-off piece of content?

Thinking all of this through in the beginning will help you clarify your strategy and send the right brief to your infographic designer.

Know your target audience

Your target audience are the consumers of your infographic, so keeping them in mind during the creation process is key. Ask:

  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What kind of information do they want to see?
  • What do you want them to do?
  • What should they take away from the infographic? 

The answers to these questions will give you lots of ideas as to the kind of content that you could create. You’ll be in a better position to understand the kind of story, or the parts of a survey, that will appeal most to your audience as well as how to engage them aesthetically with graphics, colours and designs.

Use good data sources

There’s no point having a great looking graphic if its credibility is going to be undermined by weak or inconsistent data. Check:

  • Are you briefing key statistics that are consistent with the message you are trying to convey?
  • Are you using information that is interesting from a reader’s perspective?

Always make sure that your key statistics and data are taken from good, reliable sources. Ask your infographic designer to reference these sources so your readers can find them for themselves if they want.

Create guidelines

Establish some guidelines for your infographic designer and be clear about them. Think about the style and size of your infographic, the icons and illustrations you want to use and the overall tone of voice and level of branding.

But don’t get too carried away with these guidelines – provide some useful parameters without stifling your infographic designer’s creativity.

Add something extra to the data

Don’t fall into the trap of creating an infographic for the sake of it. The point of an infographic is to show something that copy can’t. When you are briefing your designer, constantly ask yourself if you are you adding something to the information. Ask:

  • Are you presenting the information in a more compelling way?
  • Are you taking a complex subject and making it easier to digest?
  • Are you adding to people’s understanding of the topic by introducing an element that copy alone couldn’t easily convey?

Make sure your brief is making the most that this format has to offer.

Find ways to re-use work

Infographics take time and energy to create. When you are briefing your infographic, think about how you can get more miles out of it.

  • Could you create a modular ‘super infographic’ that can be broken down for use on different platforms, or different audiences etc?
  • As part of the design, could you create graphical elements such as icons and call-outs that can be repurposed?
  • Can you use your commission to establish a visual style guide for future designs, so that each new infographic has the same look and feel?