Infographics can engage both visual and casual learners who want summaries of facts in minutes.
Their appeal and ability to compress information without compromising clarity are what make them so effective.
As proof, the Content Marketing Institute reported in 2014 that the popularity of infographics rose to 62 percent from 51 percent in one year, according to its 5th annual content marketing survey.
In addition, content strategist TJ McCue reported that over 65 percent of the population identify as visual learners. It’s no wonder that infographics are such widely shared resources these days.
All too often, some presenters suffer from the impression that content and delivery are enough to leverage their proposals.
They end up falling into the trap of relying on either a bare deck or text-heavy slides. This has led to ineffective slide decks that have tuned audiences out and vilified PowerPoint.
It’s interesting to note that PowerPoint presentations rely on the same graphic design principles applied to infographics, such as color, typography, and white space.
With the success of infographics, it can’t be denied that visuals play a crucial part in influencing and engaging your target market.
That’s why using infographics for your pitch lets you emulate their style for your business presentations. You don’t have to rely on plugging in a finished infographic to get the job done, though.
A PowerPoint deck can equally benefit from incorporating the balance between information and graphics in its own design.
1. Organize your research
Segregate key points from supporting details. Key points should be included in the deck, while supporting details can be left for verbal explanation, or further reading.
Here’s how to distinguish what data to keep, and what to edit out:
Identify your goals. Having a clear objective in mind can help you sift through the bulk of your research quickly. Summarize your presentation to specific one-word parts to determine the core message you want to show. This gives you a better idea of what facts you need to back it up.
Draft an outline. Once you’ve narrowed down your main goal and selected the needed information, arrange them in order of importance. This lets you sort the most important supporting parts from the less relevant ones.
For sales pitches, we recommend Sequoia Capital’s business plan/sales pitch template, which covers the basics components:
- Introduction/Title slide
- “Why now?” or the urgent need for your offering
- Market size
- Business model
By the way, Airbnb’s legendary pitch deck also features most of these components.
On the other hand, if you have a general presentation focused on being informative and educational, consider using TED’s basic presentation structure:
- Use a relatable example or intriguing idea to make your audience care
- Explain your idea clearly and with conviction
- Describe your evidence, and how and why your idea could be implemented
- End by addressing how your idea could affect your audience
Consider the audience. As with any output intended for other people’s viewing, infographics and presentation decks should take note of what’s relevant to their audience. Prioritize what they deem more important, be it stock reports or step-by-step explanations, to keep them interested and engaged.
Whether it’s infographics or slide decks we’re talking about, your audience won’t pick up anything useful from fillers. The end goal is still to inform your prospective viewers about things that will benefit them most.
2. Minimize Visual Clutter
According to futurologist Alvin Toffler, information overload can be counterproductive when informing people. The human mind just isn’t designed to hold too much information at once — we’re only meant to process one thing at a time.
With that in mind, you should layout your deck like an infographic to avoid visually overwhelming viewers. Here’s how to do that:
Use white space. If you want to highlight the right information, don’t shy away from white space. This helps relax people’s eyes and focus their attention on the more important visuals in your presentation.
According to Piktochart head of design See Mei Chow’s infographic layout cheat sheet, it also lets you arrange content according to your intended goals.
Visualize as much as possible. While graphs and charts are good visual representations in your presentation deck, it’s highly encouraged to get more creative with your visuals.
Design Shack’s Joshua Johnson suggests that you establish a visual metaphor to focus on when you’re visualizing data.
One of the examples Johnson shows is a Grant Thornton infographic on various nations’ race to economic growth, featuring a literal race track serving as the bar graph. Similarly, reinvent conventional diagrams and incorporate them into metaphors relevant to your topic.
Make it readable. Although you’ll want to make appealing visuals, make sure your data is readable at a glance. Avoid over-embellishments by keeping your visuals simple enough to read. Use the appropriate font size and style for your typography.
It’s the calculated use of visuals that makes infographics so appealing. Apply the same tactical reduction of clutter to your deck as you start designing and formatting its overall layout.
3. Specify Your Data
Presenting hard facts is necessary to supplement your claims. On the other hand, engaging images certainly help to pique people’s interest.
In order to make both work together, infographics and slide decks both need to be clear in their data visualization.
Make your contents as specific and concise as possible with these tips:
Label the info. One of the easiest ways to distinguish the objects on your deck is to label them. This works if you’re presenting statistics, which can be very technical.
For example, when labelling your diagram, specify if the item is the percent of market share increase, the amount of new lead conversions, or something else.
Explain connections. Dropping information at random can be confusing. Your presentation needs a narrative hierarchy that connects each of your points.
Show how Point A gets to Point B in your visualized data. Is it through a comparison of these points, or a progressive timeline? This gives your deck a smoother flow that complements your pitch.
Differentiate images. Establishing a pattern makes your design look more consistent. Just leave enough room to differentiate between similar objects to avoid any confusion.
Aside from labels, give your images some variety in order to make each point distinct. Data on this year’s sales might be visualized differently from, say, the age range of your customers.
Be careful not to oversimplify your visuals. The mind may be designed to avoid processing exaggerated images, but making your visual presentation clear to the viewer is just as important to get your message across clearly.
Summing It Up
Visuals and content are designed to cooperate with each other so that you can produce substantial output regardless of topic. That’s why you should never compromise on one for the other. After all, beautifully presented data might not work without the appropriate specifications.
Likewise, a bulk of content won’t be given a second thought if it isn’t broken down into engaging images.
Infographic design does indeed help in attracting viewers and sharing information. People creating business decks can learn a thing or two from infographic design to also become visually engaging, and yet substantial as well.
Segregate your research into main points and supporting details, bring these main points to the fore in your layout, and don’t forget to clarify what these represent. These can illustrate your most convincing points in a visual deck to get your message across in a memorable way.