Types of Infographics

Charlie R. Claywell
Reviewed by Vikki Olds
Photo infographic on refugees and immigrants
Photo infographic

The use of infographics has exploded on the Web as this visual content attracts users with its catchy design. Since infographics are very easy to share they are a perfect tool, when created correctly, to convey important information and drive traffic to your site. Infographics can be styled in numerous ways, depending on the message you want to get across.

Eight Infographic Options

In a broad sense infographics are simply illustrations that help a person better understand information. They work because many people have a visual learning style or just find graphic illustrations more appealing than text-based ones. They are most often used to convey statistics, show a timeline, illustrate a process or provide information related to geographic location. Common variations include:

1. Charts

Whether it is a pie chart, bar chart or comparison chart, this type of infographic breaks down complex themes into easy to understand - and compare - points of data. For example, a pie chart can be used to explain how a student spends their time or how a typical family spends their money.

Bottom line: Charts are perfect for multiple points of data, but do not work well with less than three data points.

Pie chart infographic
Pie chart infographic

2. Flow Chart

Pulled out of the computer programming world, the flow chart makes an excellent graphic for any type of content involving a decision-making process. This format works well for if/then type of statements. When a viewer reads this infographic, they should be able to start with a problem and work through the chart to its solution.

Bottom line: Flow chart infograhics work well for processes with clearly defined questions and answers.

Flow chart infographic
Flow chart infographic

3. Timeline

Because a timeline lends itself to a linear display, this type of infographic is quite popular with historical subjects and to illustrate how future events are expected to unfold. Images or visual graphics can be introduced into the timeline to accentuate the information.

Bottom line: Timelines are great for historical information with specific beginning and ending dates.

Timeline infographic
Timeline infographic

4. Useful Bait

These infographics are often designed to be printed and used. Excellent examples in this category are common recipe cheats or foods. For example, if you need to know a specific type of wine, this chart breaks it out by color, making it easy, for example, to find a fruity red wine. The appeal of this graphic is its utility.

Bottom line: These infographics are a great way to create printable reference tool that can be branded, but it does not work well for trivia-type information.

5. Versus

This type of infographic is used to compare or contrast two items, such as a cardiac arrest versus a heart attack. These term pairs are often, and incorrectly, used interchangeably. But with a versus infographic, the designer can zero in on the key differences between the terms. In the artists vs. scientists infographics displayed here, the versus-approach is used to show how opposite mindsets can benefit a team.

Bottom line: This type of infographic is perfect for comparing and explaining two or three topics, but it does not work with a broader, general subject matter.

Marketing Artists vs. Marketing Scientists infographic
Versus infographic

6. Numbers & Stats

Some information is almost completely numbers-based - like sporting percentages. In baseball, you have batting averages, on-base percentage and fielding percentage to name a few. These infographics find clever and visual ways to illustrate numerical content as shown in this template.

Bottom line: These are one of the more popular types of infographics, because designers can easily turn stats, which can be boring to read, into small chunks of information that pulls readers in.

Numbers and stats infographic
Numbers and stats infographic

7. How-To

Like the name implies, a how-to infographic illustrates the steps for completing a task. This category can range from whimsical, like how to be a superhero, to pragmatic, such as cooking instructions or how to improve your Google results. The graphic simply breaks down the steps required into logical snippets, highlighting the text with visual aids to ensure the required steps are understood.

Bottom line: This is a great method of breaking down ideas into easy-to-grasp steps.

How to cook spaghetti infographic
How-to infographic

8. Photo

A photo infographic is a visual style that be used with several of the types of content in this list. For example, you could have a strong image of former MLB player Pete Rose with information culled from his career, like his batting average - with a line pointing to his bat highlighting the average. The image is used to pull the reader into the content while important information is broken out so users can read the content at a glance.

Bottom line: This option only works if the image is strong and compelling.

Depression PSA photo infographic
Photo infographic

What an Infographic Should Do

The distribution of valuable information is the key goal infographic creators should have. If useful information is not conveyed to the user, then an infographic is just an illustration that wastes their time. When an infographic is well executed, it clarifies information instead of repeating it.

Types of Infographics