As we’ve explored previously, infographics are an immensely powerful tool for explaining things to audiences in a highly shareable and easy-to-digest format. With 90% of information transmitted to the brain being visual, and with quality infographics being one of the most sought-after marketing tools today, icons can play an integral role in creating a successful infographic.
You might not notice it while reading an infographic, but many of the same skills required for quality icon design come into play when it comes to making infographics. You’ll recognise quickly that the majority of infographics are made up of text, graphs and charts, and most importantly, visual diagrams and icons.
Icons remain one of the most powerful and effective tools for conveying information to other people—that’s why, after all, they are a mainstay of all smartphone homescreens. So how can custom icons help your infographics look and feel out of this world?
Icons are versatile
There are almost as many unique styles of icon out there as there are icons. From 3D to flat and almost-flat icons, icons are incredibly versatile and can be used to depict almost anything imaginable. Even a coherent icon set with a distinct style can be used to represent information diversely, and the same information can also be represented in a myriad of different ways depending on the style, form and function of an icon set’s design.
Straight to the point
Infographics are only effective if they convey information in an efficient way. “The human brain can process images 60,000 times faster than words,” points out Lisa Toner of Hubspot.com. Icons are effective in this regard because they are straight to the point—a well made icon immediately communicates what its function is or the information it represents.
This becomes exceptionally useful when it comes to infographics because it allows designers to pack a large variety of visual signifiers into a graphic where space comes at a premium.
They allow you to diversify
Pie charts, line graphs and statistics may be a mainstay of infographics, but they often need to be complemented with more abstract representation visual signifiers. In other words, infographics are at their most powerful when they rely on a wide range of diverse visual information. If, for example, you juxtapose icons with text, you can make your message much clearer and more recognisable. You not only need to demonstrate the tangible, rational connection between the facts—you also need to demonstrate their connection with humanity and society. Combining the versatile medium of icons and other imagery with the hard facts is the best way of explaining your story to an audience in a way that is both informative and relatable.
As an example of a good infographic which showcases the rise in visual communication, check out Visual Dominance courtesy of Mammoth Infographics: