With all the free infographic templates, image editing tools, and in-depth databases online, it’s becoming increasingly easy to plan and execute your own infographics, even if you don’t have any design experience. However, there are still situations when you may be better off investing in a high-end freelance infographic designer. If you’re interested in making an infographic just to test it as a marketing tool, you can probably create it on your own, but if there’s more at stake—say, you want to roll out a number of infographics over the course of several months or you want to unveil an infographic to correspond with a new product release—you’ll most likely want to go with a pro.
There are a couple of major disadvantages to creating your own infographic when there’s a lot on the line:
- Infographics take valuable time to make. Even if you use a very intuitive template tool, personalizing it and formatting all your information just the way you want it can take hours—and taking all that time to work on an infographic may actually end up costing you, if it’s taking you away from your normal job responsibilities.
- Templates are, well, uniform. I’ve talked before about how you can do a lot of personalization with infographic templates, but there are still limitations, especially if you’re using a free template site that only has a handful of basic design options. Even if you spend hours turning a template into your own creation, there will likely still be some tell-tale signs—such as a distinctive design element or font—that you developed your infographic on a template website. Web users can often tell (especially if they’ve stumbled across other infographics using the same template) and tend to be more responsive to unique designs.
- Optimizing your presentation can be a challenge. Infographics need to be a careful balancing act of eye-catching visuals and information that is easy to understand and tells a compelling story. When you’re creating an infographic for the first time, it’s easy to get carried away adding fun design effects and neglecting the actual content—or to present the content in a bland, uninteresting way.
So in addition to saving you time and reducing your stress, what can a professional infographic designer do for you?
Pros of Working with an Infographic Designer
They have experience translating data and images into a story. You shouldn’t just present a basic bar graph or scatter plot and call it an infographic (though inexperienced marketers do). Your data is your starting point—you need to be able to look at it and find the “So what?” behind it, then drive that message home in your presentation. It’s easier said than done, which is why it can be to your advantage to work with someone who is in the business of telling stories through visuals. Any good infographic designer should be well-versed in looking at data and finding an angle that will appeal to the target audience, and then presenting that information in an easy-to-follow and visually appealing manner.
They’ll likely have out-of-the-box presentation ideas to set your infographic apart. Maybe you’ve been looking at your data set and have become convinced that a pie chart is going to be the best way to present it, but then you talk to an infographic designer who sees a way to turn the data into a more compelling 3D representation, or to transform it into an interactive infographic. An infographic designer can help you break out of a design rut and release infographics that will stand out from the ones your competitors are producing in-house.
They know how to get the visual tone of the infographic to match the content and your brand. Tone is a big deal when it comes to infographics—you don’t want to confuse viewers by, say, using a flowery design for a serious infographic about World War II tanks. That may be an extreme example, but scan through a gallery of infographics that have been made using a template and you’d be surprised by how often the design fails to match the content due to the limitations of the template. An infographic designer can help you get the tone to work with both the content and your brand image.
Professional-looking infographics are more likely to be shared on high-traffic sites. The goal of your infographic should be to get as many shares as possible in order to drive qualified traffic back to your site. To do that, you’ll need to have a professional-looking infographic. Prominent bloggers and website curators aren’t going to want to share a low-quality infographic that could damage their credibility, after all. If your infographic is polished, unique, and tells a compelling story that will appeal to a lot of web users, though, it might just be shared on a high-traffic site like The Huffington Post.
If you do decide to go the professional route rather than creating your own infographic, there are plenty of qualified and affordable infographic designers available to work on a per-project basis. Try sites like Visual.ly or freelancer databases like oDesk, and ask to see samples of a designer’s work first to make sure you’ll be getting an aesthetic that you like. Working with an experienced infographic designer will likely have both tangible benefits—in the form of increased exposure for your infographic—as well as intangible benefits, such as the peace of mind you’ll get from knowing that your new infographic will be done well.