How we create infographics

Find out how the team here at Emerald Works develop and create engaging infographics for your business, simplifying processes at the heart of your work.

Written by Emerald Works
Published 20 October 2015
How we create infographics

Our Toolkit contains thousands of online resources for working professionals that span a variety of formats from articles, to infographics, to videos etc.

Our aim is to provide content that is engaging, useful and current. So recently, we embarked on a project to introduce more infographics to our suit of content and here’s what we did to create them.

Firstly, what is an Infographic?

An infographic is one of the best ways of bringing data, information or knowledge to life in a visual, easy to digest format. Infographics are a great format to use when you need to communicate large amounts of information quickly and clearly.

How we got started 

We have developed a highly collaborative internal process to create our infographics. We also work with some amazingly talented designers. Here’s an insight into our creative infographic development process, and how it helps us get great results.

Have a cunning plan

We wanted to develop a new infographic on ‘Coaching versus Mentoring’. The content team felt this would be a great topic to cover, as people can be confused about what ‘coaching’ and ‘mentoring’ mean, and how leaders and managers should use them.

We start with a written brief. This sets out all the information that will go into the infographic. We’ve found that the best infographics succinctly blend facts and figures about a topic with useful tips and best practice advice. We conduct thorough research which involves: 

  • Identifying relevant, credible research findings, surveys and statistics
  • Checking our bank of existing content
  • Reviewing popular books on the subject
  • Carrying out thorough internet searches to find relevant news stories, articles or blogs

After all this research we end up with rather a lot of ‘stuff’ that could potentially go into each infographic.

It’s all about the content

Now, the tricky bit is then deciding what goes in and what stays out. As we’ve developed more and more infographics, we’ve got better at this. Good infographics are short and sweet, but still pack a punch in terms of content.

In the early days of this project I think it’s fair to say that we tried to cram far too much into them. Now, we spend a fair bit of time on content curation and refinement, so that only the most relevant, helpful information about a particular topic is included. We always ask: “What would be most useful for leaders and managers to know?” and take it from there.This process means that our infographics will:

  • Be informative and helpful
  • Be pitched at the right level for our audience of leaders and managers
  • Offer a new twist or angle on a subject
  • Not simply regurgitate information you can find elsewhere

And into design

Once we had our content we were ready to jump into design concepts. We are always excited to see what our designers come up with. As we had not worked with this particular designer before, we wanted to see what they could create without any upfront design ideas. Often this works well, but sometimes it doesn’t. Not suggesting a style or theme gives a designer freedom to express their creativity, but this sometimes means the first draft doesn’t quite hit the mark.

It’s good, but it’s not quite right

Here’s a little snippet of the first infographic design we got back. Whilst there are good things about this design, it didn’t feel quite right for what we needed.


The colours didn’t quite work, and we would have liked to see more use of colour, iconography and imagery.

The orange bearded character shown above is taken from Greek mythology and is supposed to be Mentor, who was a friend of the Greek king Odysseus*. Although this was an interesting idea, it was a bit too obscure a reference to make sense to a large proportion of our target audience.

Lets chat it through

An important part of infographic development involves getting feedback from the wider teams. Although this takes time, getting multiple perspectives can be invaluable.

For example, our colleagues are not afraid to say what they think, and with us all having recently read Pixar founder Ed Catmull’s book Creativity Inc, I can safely say that feedback in our team is delivered with honesty and candour **.

We trust our colleagues to say what they really think, even if it means starting again from scratch. In this case, despite the work that had already been done, everyone felt the same: this one needed a fresh approach.

This says a lot about how we work as a team, and our values as a company. Rather than sticking with something that we know is just OK, we wanted to make sure this infographic was good enough to make the cut and appear in our toolkits.

It’s a process, and that’s ok!

We then had a conversation with our designer where we shared our thoughts. We were lucky to be working with someone who had great design skills and who was able to take the feedback on board positively. We were both committed to getting the design just right.

We decided to try a ‘spot the difference’ theme, with animal characters to help to bring out the important messages of the infographic in a more playful, fun way. We also asked for more colour and iconography to illustrate all the great tips and advice.

The designer then worked up the second design. Here is a peek at what we got back. As you can see, although it’s the same information as above, the design is completely different.

Our approach to creating infographics is a highly iterative one, and often involves a number of rounds of feedback until we are 100% happy with how things look.

Here’s one I made earlier

We asked our colleagues to take a look at the second design. We all agreed that it was definitely on the right track. It has a much more friendly feel and the animal characters work really well.

We got some great suggestions and ideas about what we could tweak to make the infographic look even better.

Lovely jubbly

Here’s a look at part of the final version of this infographic which has just been added to our toolkits. We are all really pleased with the end result. It presents the information in an easily understandable and fun way.

The process has taken around three weeks from start to finish, but we hope you’ll agree that what we’ve got has been worth the effort.

This is a great example of the collaborative work processes we use and it also shows how sharing ideas and getting feedback from colleagues can help take an idea to the next level.

Your turn!

Infographics are just one of the many types of great learning content we create. Our clients tell us that our content is engaging and interesting – that’s why they come back to us time after time.

About the author

Emerald Works

Emerald Works

At Emerald Works, we’re committed to helping individuals and organizations around the world realize their full potential by using evidence-led learning solutions that work.

We work together to build learning cultures that empower people to bring about real change for real impact.

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