No matter what type of content you’re making, it’s never a good idea to just hit the ground running. When it comes to infographics and infographic design, that’s especially true. As tempting as it seems, going full speed without guidelines is a great way to end up with a project that’s off the mark.
Why You Need a Creative Brief for Your Infographic Design
It takes a lot of people to make a great infographic, and to do it well, everyone needs to stay on the same page. That’s why a strong creative brief is so important. While it might seem like a hassle, especially if you’re ready to dive into infographic design, it’s essential to help your infographic succeed for several reasons.
1) Infographics have a lot of moving parts: You may have a lot of stakeholders, especially if you’re outsourcing your infographic design to an agency. A strong creative brief keeps everyone on the same page, including your copywriter, designer, project manager, etc.
2) You might not even need an infographic: You might be ready to greenlight your next infographic, but an infographic isn’t always the right choice. Content marketing is about solving a communication problem and delivering the right message in the right format. A strong creative brief outlines your goals and objectives—and reveals whether or not an infographic will help you achieve those objectives. (BTW, here are 6 ways to know if an infographic is the wrong format for your goal.)
3) A brief helps you vet your ideas: Yet another common content marketing mistake is getting too excited about an infographic idea and forgetting to anchor it to your objective. A strong creative brief helps distill your thinking, clarify objectives, and come up with better ideas that track with your goals.
So you know a creative brief is mandatory, but what should yours look like? We’ve outlined the essential elements to include in your brief—and even created a convenient template to use for your next project.
What to Include in Your Creative Brief
A creative brief should contain the core information needed to inform every aspect of the creation process, from ideation and copywriting to design and distribution. Different projects will require additional info, but a solid brief for infographic design should include:
- Title: Use the project name, campaign name, or other shorthand.
- Overview: Sum up the impetus for this campaign or project.
- Objective/focus: Clearly detail the main goals you hope to achieve.
- Budget: Include a specific number or range.
- Timing: Include a start date, end date, and any other timeline information.
- Audience(s): Detail the audience you are trying to reach. Prioritize as best you can (primary, secondary, etc).
- Perception: Offer insight into the audience’s mind. What is their current perception(s) of the brand, knowledge level, etc.? How do you hope to influence this? You may also include their pain points and how you hope to address them.
- Primary message: Spell it out simply. Include specific messages related to each audience (if applicable).
- Value proposition: Describe your differentiating attributes/benefits. These should be unique to the brand, product, or service.
- Tone: Specify how you would like to communicate. Include the adjectives or feelings that might influence your approach.
- Success metrics: Outline specifically how your content will be evaluated.
- Current and recent projects (if applicable): If this project fits into a larger campaign, builds on previous efforts, or is an extension of messaging, include a brief synopsis/link.
- Specs: Width, length, orientation, etc.
- Additional considerations: Include any other elements that may influence the project, such as:
- Competitors: What do you know about them, and how can you act on this info?
- Important insights from past experiences: What previously succeeded or went wrong?
- References or inspiration: Include any pertinent content, resources, reading, or viewing materials.
If you need to create a fresh brief, use (and bookmark) this creative brief template to make your life easier. (See preview below.)
7 Tips to Create Better Infographics
Once you’ve crafted your brief, keep the following tips in mind to make sure you and your team work as effectively as possible.
1) Mix up your ideation: Try these 16 ways to come up with infographic ideas if you’re hitting any creative blocks. You might also look for new ways to turn standard communication into engaging infographics or learn how to newsjack an infographic without being a jackass.
2) Vet your ideas through personas: A great idea is only great if it’s relevant to the people you’re trying to reach. To make sure your ideas will help achieve your goals, craft marketing personas to vet your ideas. If you haven’t made them, follow this template/exercise to create them in under an hour.
3) Learn about the 4 types of creative thinkers: No matter what you’re doing or who you’re working with, different personality types will affect your group dynamics, ideation, and collaboration. Learn how to identify different types of creative thinkers (including your own personality type), and get useful tips to work better together. (You might be surprised at how much this improves your creative realtionships.)
4) Find the right story: Whether you’re uncovering a story in your own data or trying to distill a message, find out how to tell a single story to make your infographic as effective as possible.
5) Follow best practices: From brainstorm to design, there are a lot of little things you can do to improve your infographics. Follow these tips to do things right at every stage of the process.
6) Experiment with your design styles: While it’s important to adhere to your visual language, mixing up your designs keeps your content fresh and exciting. For a little inspiration, check out 10 examples of minimalist infographic design or experiment with these 7 different infographic styles.
7) Avoid the most common design mistakes: Even a design pro can slip up from time to time. Here are 15 infographic design mistakes to avoid in your content.
Above all, remember that great infographic inspiration is always around you. With the right team, guided by the right objectives (and a strong creative brief), you can find awesome opportunities to create engaging content at every touchpoint.