This is a guest post by Matt Haworth, director and co-founder of Reason Digital, a UK-based social enterprise that helps nonprofit organisations get the most out of digital media. This is the first part of a two-part series on infographics. You might also want to read the second part of this post: How to create infographics.

Matt Haworth, Reason DigitalA great infographic can convey a story, new or previously undiscovered information or can present a new angle or fresh perspective on accepted wisdom. It should be compelling, in terms of the information and the visual design. You should be able to understand the key message from looking at it for 5 seconds, but it should also be teaching you things if you look at it for a minute or two.

A great infographic should be clear and shouldn’t confuse. It should tell a meaningful story in an instant and should be easy to skim read. A clean, uncluttered design allows the key elements to stand out and communicates your main point clearly. According to Todd Defren, co-founder of SHIFT Communications, it should communicate “the maximum amount of data in the least amount of space”.

The most viral infographics are often controversial. If you’re a charity addressing a particular social issue, you could use an infographic to visualise data you’ve collected from different sources and cross-referenced to reach a new conclusion or find a new correlation.

Here’s an infographic from Infographics Showcase about why infographics are effective:

Use infographics

See what the experts have to say about what makes a good infographic.

If you want some inspiration or just want to take a look at some great not-for-profit infographics, see some examples at:

Matt Haworth

Follow Matt on Twitter: @acrim