When it comes to brand engagement, whether on social media, websites or print, it’s more important than ever to make your data look as appealing and sexy as possible. The infographic has been with us for a long time now, having been used to present sales and marketing figures for decades, but, with the explosive rise of social media, the humble infographic has secured a lasting role in the content landscape. This is because the infographic fits perfectly the consumption habits of the modern user; they’re visually appealing, take very little time to read, and can highlight the key points of a massive range of topics and industries all within a mobile-friendly image file.
Since those early beginnings of infographics residing solely on the meeting room walls of big finance companies, the format has come a very long way, with the business of designing and creating infographics now estimated to be worth around $20 billion in the U.S. alone. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the dynamic business of infographics, and see what the biggest design trends are right now.
Gradient flows styles were flagged up by GraphicMama earlier this year as one of the biggest emerging trends in infographic design, and they certainly weren’t wrong. Gradient infographics generally are defined by two features; a chronological flow of information and a corresponding colour gradient to accompany it. As you might expect, this attractive and crisp structure has proved a popular way to present data trends such as timelines; for example, how big film studios like Disney will use infographics to illustrate a sequence of Pixar films over time, along with the rise in box office growth for each subsequent film. Another typical example might be the evolution of a brand, to playfully show how it has developed over time, with a textbook example being this infographic showing how the Star Wars video game series has changed since its launch in 1982.
Storytelling infographics are probably the most versatile out there and are much beloved by companies and designers for this reason. Everybody loves a good story and, if you can creatively present data in a way that tells a fluid, engaging story, you’re guaranteed to have a captive audience, whether you’re discussing GDP figures or casino games. Designers also enjoy the high level of creative freedom that comes with opting for a storytelling infographic, as there are endless directions you can go in. It doesn’t need to be a time-based story, as you can easily use an infographic to tell the story of how the odds of drawing certain hands in a card game varies depending on what you’re playing, the kind of thing that online casino brand Betway recently added to its marketing repertoire. You can also use the storyline template to highlight the various purposes of a product, and how that may change depending on the context, with entrepreneur.com highlighting some of the best practice in the industry.
This is undoubtedly the latest and greatest frontier in high-impact visual design and something that is being embraced by brands the world over as an effective and simple means of engagement. Having an infographic that viewers can actually interact with increases the chance of engagement several times over, as well as giving users something fun to do! These are best for showcasing data on a massive scale, such as figures concerning entire countries or international organisations; this hugely effective map created by The Guardian highlights women’s rights around the world, for example.
Interactive maps are great because you can cram in much greater amounts of information, simply obscured from view until a user should choose to click on it. This way you can have the history of an entire city lurking within a sleek infographic, such as in this beautiful infographic by National Geographic showing the development of the New York City skyline over time, and projected growth figures for the next few years.
We all love a little bit of minimalism, and there’s no denying that 2018 has been the year of the minimalist. This explosive lifestyle trend has filtered its way into graphic design, and certain types of brands have naturally gravitated towards a more stripped-back, abstract way of presenting data in a way that represents their aesthetics and has a high impact. A gorgeous example of abstract infographics would be this helpful one by hotshot design start-up Visually which explains their principles of good design. You can also use abstract infographics to present technical information as easy to understand instructions, such as perhaps how to use certain types of cameras for photography, something that the digital photography school Shutter Teachers frequently does to great effect. With infographic design, the most overwhelming trend of this year seems to be that less is more.
It has been a huge year for digital design, and infographics continue their march of domination across the sector. We look forward to seeing what kind of innovative and original designs 2019 throws out!