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Essential best practices for creating animated infographics

What is an infographic?

An infographic is a visual representation of information or data. Historically, Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint were common tools used to produce graphics such as pie charts, bar graphs, scatter graphs, and so on. But more recently, infographics have become much more of a comprehensive story-telling deliverable. By displaying multiple bits of information or data in a linear fashion along with relative visuals, marketers are able to use infographics to relay more complex stories that touch on several aspects.

Bringing infographics to life

By animating an infographic, the story being told has the opportunity to literally come to life. Different aspects are able to be emphasized by introducing motion to them: slowing down, speeding up, and zooming in and out, are all effects that can help achieve hierarchy in the story being told. Animated infographics have the ability to infuse an emotional reaction to the information that is being presented. This reaction is often the catalyst that brings the audience to act.

Best practices:

  • Know what story you are trying to tell. Why is the story important, and what are the desired outcomes?
  • Highlight the most relevant and impactful data points.
  • Arrange the data points in an effective way to create an easy-to-understand narrative.
  • Story boarding is key. Having a plan for each animation and transition ahead of time will help bring to life the story and help highlight gaps in the story.
  • Define a visual style that aligns with the overarching brand guides.
  • Define an animation style and transition effects.
  • Much as in the movies, continuity is key. Ensure that as objects move throughout the animation, they remain consistent or have an obvious reason for changing.
  • Be sure that your animations help tell the story. Each animation and transition should support the narrative. The goal is to inform, pique curiosity, and ultimately move the audience to take action.
  • Timing: The voiceover, or narration, should line up with the animations. Be sure that when the narrator says “25% of…” the animation and other visuals come alive at the same time. This goes the same for the background music. Make sure that it is in line with what is happening on screen and carries the same tempo as the animations and voiceover.
  • Less is more when it comes to the length of the animation. The average animated infographic delivered as a video is 2–3 minutes long, which is the best length to captivate your audience, inform them, and then lead them to take action.
  • Tell the audience what to do next. Include a CTA to encourage the audience to take action.