5 blunders that ruin infographics (and how to avoid them)

Your graphic won’t have any credibility if the percents don’t add up to 100 or if the graphs aren’t set to scale.

I’ll be the first to admit that I love geeking out to a good infographic.

There’s nothing better than seeing data in a clean, aesthetically pleasing way. Unfortunately, as the number of infographics online continues to skyrocket, so does the number of really bad ones. Here are five signs your infographic is misleading or downright awful.

1. The percents don’t add up to 100 percent

I know fancy pants mathematicians can make up numbers and have perfectly justifiable reasons for doing so. However, when you are talking about percentages or fractions, they should always add up to 100 percent or one. End of story.

2. Information overload

Infographics are best used to visualize small amounts of data. If you are trying to compare too much data, it is guaranteed to confuse 99.9 percent of people. The .01 percent left are the fancy pants mathematicians I mentioned in the point above.

Abide by the KISS principle: Keep it Simple, Stupid!

3. Graphs and images are not set to scale.

I can’t stress this enough. Make sure everything is set to scale. For example, three-fourths should look like 75 percent of whatever object you are showing, and vice versa.

4. Faulty analogies or comparisons

Infographics should compare apples to apples, not apples to bananas or kiwis. Putting two unrelated statistics together doesn’t make your infographic more compelling. It just makes it really, really misleading.

5. The infographic is too busy

Infographics are an art form. They should be organized, clean and clutter free in order to get your point across. Don’t put text over photos, or large amounts of text or photos in a small area.

If it takes a person more than three seconds to get the gist of what’s going on, you are probably doing something wrong.

What are some other infographic no-nos?

Jessica Malnik is a PR/marketing coordinator, social media specialist, videographer and avid blogger. A version of this article originally ran on her personal blog.

Topics: PR

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