You might remember Mark Hooson from when we posted his rather excellent BAFTA infographic (look here for a refresher). We thought it would be a nice idea to talk to the man behind the brilliance and get some top infographic tips for all you fellow dummies out there. Here’s what he has to say.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in Preston, Lancashire from 2004-2007. After graduation I took a job with North Wales Newspapers Media Ltd. where I worked as a reporter on a small local newspaper for three years.
What made you decide to get involved with infographics?
Last summer I took a job which involved copywriting and SEO (including link-building). I found that infographics worked great as link-bait for other sites, so I thought I’d try my hand at it. I’m still very new to it all, and I think 99.9% of the infographics on the web are better than mine!
What do you use to create your infographics?
I just use Photoshop. I’ve toyed with using Quark XPress, as I trained to use it for page layouts on newspapers, but I’d still have to do a certain amount of the work in Photoshop anyway.
With the decline of print media, the way people read news is changing. Online readers tend to skim copy, so you need to be succinct and engaging with your information. I think infographics are good for capturing the attention [of the viewer/reader] and conveying a lot of information in a short space.
What do you think makes a good infographic?
I think muted and complementary colours are the most important thing. I hate it when graphics have clashing or garish colours. Fonts are the other main thing. 3D and bubble fonts look childish, so it’s better to use clean modern fonts like Futura. There’s a time and a place for silly fonts. I also tend to use silhouettes of images rather than the original photographs. If you can’t tell what it is from the outline, then it’s not the best image to use.
What tips would you give to a newbie who wants to have a go with infographics?
I’m very much a novice designer, so it wasn’t long ago I just gave it a try. Look at other people’s work and identify what you like, but don’t rip it off. I love the work of Tiffany Farrant-Gonzalez, but I’m nowhere near as skilled at representing data as Tiffany.
You can find more of Mark’s work at http://www.markhooson.com/