Brief 2, Research Post #4 – Layout

An informative and interesting infographic will make good use of layout techniques to discover what is the most appealing.

One rule I found was the ‘show don’t tell’ meaning that if I can use visual aids to show data, then do it. Good layout placement will combine graphic and text, allowing the viewer to grasp what’s occurring in a short space of time. For my own infographic, I won’t need to use data as it’s a ‘how to’ so the graphics will have to simple, clean and effective to support my use of text. One website suggested turning off text layers now and then to see if the infographic still makes sense, which could be helpful in mine to make sure my ‘how to’ diagrams have a flow and narrative structure.

Another layout tip I discovered was the use of whitespace whic can create harmony between text and graphic. Too little can make it look busy whilst too much can leave it with a sense of being incomplete.

whitespace-matters

Using the above image as an example, the difference is instantly recognisable in how whitespace has been used in layout design. It’s kept text in shorter lines to make it appear like less of a read and made good use of the available space in doing do, whilst the one on the right however has left large chunks of space around the work, giving the incomplete feel I mentioned before. This is noticeable in the bottom layer by using a grid-like pattern, the graphics become like bullet points to combine with text so although there isn’t data to show the graphic complements the text rather than dominating or being unnecessarily used. It still has whitespace between each point but its done in such a way where it doesn’t leaving it feeling incomplete like the one on the right. On the right side is a large chunk of space which could’ve even been minimised if text had been aligned in the centre rather than the right. It really shows the impact layout and whitespace can make in treating engaging infographics.

Good layout should also make use of an engaging ‘hook’, which is typically found in the centre or end of the piece. In my own infographic my hook, which will be a guitar will most likely at the end of the piece in the top half of the infographic. As our eyes read left to right, I will also place the now/then graphic in top, left, maximising potential engagement.

The infographic above makes use of a good hook, using the grumpy cat meme and Justin Bieber who are pop culture icons as hooks to draw the viewer into the infographic. However, I would argue that the image itself is far too busy with a lot of text and minimal images.

Sources:

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/10/14/the-dos-and-donts-of-infographic-design/

http://piktochart.com/layout-cheat-sheet-making-the-best-out-of-visual-arrangement/

http://www.meltwater.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/sxsw2014-1000x2000_1-1

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