“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Good design is the very thing that makes infographics tick. It is what makes them so engaging and easy to process for us “visually wired” human beings.
Good design, however, is not easy to accomplish. It lies at the intersection of art and science. On one hand, it requires imagination and creativity to create something fresh and beautiful.
Primarily, however, it also needs to be functional. An infographic is well-designed when it effectively communicates the messages within, and not when its design steals the focus away. Typographer John Berry puts it well:
“Only when the design fails does it draw attention to itself; when it succeeds, it’s invisible.”
And this is the dilemma that our design team of four contends with on a daily basis. Each week, they craft two delightful infographic templates for our users to play with – there are over 500 in our database to date.
It’s harder to create a template than an infographic
According to Mok, the latest addition to our design team, there “is a difference when it comes to designing an infographic for a specific purpose compared to a template for Piktochart’s magic editor.”
“We could unleash our creativity on the former, but we face restraints on certain aspects when it comes to the latter,” she adds.
The process begins with an understanding that they are designing for non-designers, helping them to “make information beautiful.” Design thinking, therefore, is essential in accomplishing this.
“We always strive to create good, user-friendly template designs,” explains Kimberly, who joined the team earlier last year. “Hence, it is very important to take time to understand our users and audience, to observe how users are utilizing the templates,and the difficulties that are faced by them.”
Here’s where they get the inspiration to keep the designs coming.
Websites, books, and magazines
Any modern professional who takes his or her job seriously will have a set of go-to materials to keep themselves updated on the latest and best.
Our designers are no different. Listed below are some of the websites, books, and magazines that give them a headstart.
Books and magazines
- Computer Arts
- Delayed Gratification
- Creative Review
- Information Made Beautiful: Infographic Design
- Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills
- Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type (Design Briefs)
- 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design
- Infographics Design
To keep up-to-date on their latest offerings, our design team uses a Chrome extension called Panda which aggregates all of their content on a simple dashboard.
“It helps curate a variety of quality designs each time we open our browsers. Inspirational designs at our disposal!” explains Kimberly.
Beyond these websites, she says that the team also keeps an eye out for any form of random inspiration which they might stumble upon at any corner of the web, such as advertisements on Facebook.
Our Head of Design, See Mei, came across this video four years ago, which she says still inspires her to this day:
Inspiration from abroad
While the Internet does an admirable job of connecting us to the rest of the world, there’s nothing that can truly replace the experience of being out there in person. Our designers unanimously agree that they’ve gained new perspectives and insights while overseas.
Penang (where our headquarters is) might be well-known for its street art, but See Mei thinks that Bangkok and Cebu – in Thailand and Philippines respectively – have served as even greater sources of inspiration for her.
In particular, she was very impressed by “how daring the Thai and Filipino are when it comes to their art.” Bangkok’s street markets and temples have left an impression, as well as their advertising videos, which she thinks “are funny yet very impactful.”
See Mei spent some time staying in Cebu, so naturally she has fond memories of the city. She recalls the striking colors and design elements used at the Sinulog Festival, a religious and cultural event that happens annually on the third Sunday of January.
She also thoroughly enjoyed the cheerful artwork and banners used for Geeks On A Beach, an annual tech event in the Philippines. The aptly-named Cebu-based creative studio Happy Garaje is the mastermind behind them.
The next two countries she hopes to visit very soon are Germany and Japan.
Mok has a different take on getting inspired while overseas. To her, it’s not so much about the surroundings, but the people that she gets to meet abroad.
“I’d like to think that it’s the people you meet or befriend there who influence you the most,” she says. “By chance, I got to interact with the design community from Singapore last year, and they left quite an impact on the way I perceive design in general.”
She describes them as “outspoken and energetic.” “The designers work hard and play hard despite the hectic lifestyle they lead,” Mok adds.
Keep things simple
Here are some parting tips from our designers:
- Always ask another person for honest feedback
- Remember the five basic essentials to creating good design: typography, whitespace, color, consistency, and content
- When in doubt, keep things simple
Have any questions for our talented design team? Now’s your chance! Drop them in the comments below, or tweet us @Piktochart and hashtag #PiktoAsk.