Data Visualization: Create Powerful Infographics

Data visualization helps scientists communicate complex information both effectively and engagingly because being able to visualize information helps brains digest and retain. Thus, infographics are not only impactful, but using them can increase research visibility as they are more easily shared online—like through Twitter!

However, not all visualizations are created equally. Wrong presentation—chart type, typography, colors, etc.—can diminish impact and even misrepresent data entirely. Here are our top tips for making quality infographics.

1. Keep it simple.

Getting creative can easily go awry. Start with these general best practices in mind:
  • Avoid using background images (stick to white or transparent)
  • Use simple fonts (sans serif works best for graphics)
  • Stick to a color scheme unless necessary (for more complex data)
  • Space components apart equally
  • Avoid 3D shapes unless necessary. This is because, done improperly, 3D components can easily skew data and distort perception and interpretation. For example, a 3D bar may be significantly greater in volume than a 2D bar in area.

2. Colors are your friends.

As sharing data move to the web, we can better take advantage of colors. No need to use dots and dashes to differentiate between black lines anymore! Dotted and dashed lines can be distracting especially as lines crisscross in complex graphs. Instead, use different colored lines.