How to Do Infographic Research

Unrecognizable group of business people in a meeting at the office looking at strategy documentsThere’s no doubt: Image-rich content is more popular and shareable than the average blog post with few or no images. No matter a Web consumer’s age or background, images remain the second most popular type of content. Infographics are particularly powerful: They’re liked and shared three times more than any other content. Infographic research is key in creating graphic content that is successful.

Over the last few years, marketers have found all kinds of software to help them produce infographics. Still, they need fundamental skills to research and organize their findings into a visual narrative.

Luckily, anyone can gain these skills with a little practice.

Infographic Research 101

In pure scientific research, you gather information and figure out what it tells you about the world. Designing an infographic is different: You probably already have an idea what story the data will tell, but an effective structure is the key.

Four points can guide the entire research process:

  • Use data the target audience will find believable and compelling;
  • Keep written material concise so imagery does more of the work;
  • Make the most important ideas the largest and brightest visually;
  • Make your infographic a story with an intro, sections, and closer.


flat-vector-illustration-of-website-seo-icon-set-185517378_4938x3410An organized approach is always best, but research isn’t always complicated. It can even be fun! You start simply by looking for data that confirms or challenges the ideas of your story.

Let’s look at some of the secrets of master-level infographic research:

Start With Wikipedia, But Don’t End There

Most experts will warn you not to use Wikipedia – it can be inaccurate, and your readers are less likely to trust it. However, this is only true to a point. Many parts of Wikipedia use accurate, reputable references. You can browse Wikipedia to get ideas, but always cite the real sources.

Be Flexible About Your Assumptions

Sometimes, much of the data you find will contradict your assumptions. It’s best to figure this out early, since it means you might have to go back to the drawing board and re-plan your infographic. If you stand by your position, be ready to defend it in long-form content later on.

Aim for Timely, Reputable Data

Group of people analyzing statistics documents in a business meeting at the officeA lot of information could be outdated when you find it, so set a “cutoff date” for when a source is too old. For trustworthy data, start with relevant federal agencies – for example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics for workforce data. These stats can often form the foundation of a infographic.

There’s no scientific formula for the perfect infographic. If it’s visually interesting, easy to read, and backs your core message with good data, it works! With that in mind, start experimenting with infographics right away. They can draw people to your ideas like nothing else!