Arts marketing and infographics: ideas, opinions and suggestions
Every so often someone somewhere in the digital marketing agencies is mourning the death of one marketing strategy or another in the arts or any other industry, but looking closely, you’ll find that many times this turns out to be a storm in a teacup.
Hootsuite’s team recently raised very relevant points in this matter, specifically addressing one key marketing strategy: infographics. These have proven to be less and less effective in driving traffic and, since its peak between 2007 and 2012, have actually lost some of its original purpose.
The whole point of infographics was to make a clear representation of data however, it got to a point where they became so popular that they were no longer being thought out properly and were being poorly designed. This rather negated the reason for having them and as more mediocre ones appeared, the good ones were rendered less effective.
It’s key that infographics are perfectly clear and understandable at a glance: these shouldn’t create more confusion to your audience, in the contrary your message should be clear, concise and direct. You have to clearly communicate the value of your brand through an instantly understandable infographic, always bearing in mind that ‘less is more’.
The ugly infographics
If you have data that contains thousands of words, it is clearly unsuitable for an infographic. An article would, perhaps, be a better tactic to represent this information.
Just have a look at some of the very confusing and ugly infographics on the Pinterest board "Ugly Infographics". Those are great examples of how NOT to do it!
Spotlight: The improvements of the Arts Council Infographics
Every year, the Arts Council of England produces an infographic on the data collected about the value of the arts and culture sectors to society. They measure it by economic impact, wellbeing and other fronts - as well as individuals.
If we see what they have done since 2012, the year of London's Olympics' Games, we can see massive improvements: (click on the images below to enlarge) these started off by being wordy and messy as compositions. In order to understand the content you would need to be able to read words and numbers. In 2013/2014 their infographics were still quite wordy. In their 2014/2015 report however, there is a clear change where the design is less text heavy and the graphic elements showcase the differences of values. This is much easier to interpret, look at and understand. Click on the images below to enlarge.
Approaches to your infographics design
In 1970, graphic designers started using the term "Information Design" that is referred to as the practice of presenting information in a way that fosters the efficient and effective understanding of it.
In this lies the key to working on your data visualization: the design and artwork must be effective in showing off your data in a simple manner, easily to understood. The data is the most important aspect – the design is the icing on the cake.
What you can achieve with a winning infographic
With the relevant skills and, more importantly, interesting numeric data here is what you can achieve with a good infographic:
Traffic (non-search): remember you won't improve your SEO, as Google softened the infographic impact on ranking, but you will likely see a traffic increase due to its high shareability;
High Value backlinks (referrals): one of the signs you have achieved a winning infographic is that they can be picked up by national newspaper sites, and very popular portals such as Buzzfeed;
Brand Awareness: when your infographic is shared on popular websites, your logo (or your client's logo) will be exposed to so many users that your brand awareness can only gain from it.
Arts marketing infographics
The arts industry is a niche market that requires you to be proactive and get the most out of the rapidly changing technological and social environment along with the habits of cultural consumers.
Infographics aren’t simply images, so why do we continue to design them as static images? Nowadays we use our mobile devices to purchase tickets, use vouchers and collect information amongst many other things. In fact, according to a recent Ofcom report, the UK is now a smartphone society with a third (33%) of internet users rating their smartphones as the most important device for going online, compared to 30% who use their laptops. Therefore it is only a natural progression that we should be thinking of designing for the mobile consumer.
Infographics as we know them are bound to die but, there is no doubt that a new generation of them will rise from the ashes. Mobile devices give us so many fantastic opportunities to have users interact with us – that is too rich a vein to miss out on.
You only have to look at the recent activities on Facebook: the US passing gay marriage laws saw users using a rainbow filter on profile photos for a month; social media users supported the people of Paris after the terrorist attacks in Paris by using a French flag filter as well as using the hashtag #jesuischarlie, amongst many other examples we’ve recently seen cropping up on our social media timelines.
People love to interact with things in a digital (virtual) environment, and make them personal. The simple use of a filter on profile images on social media, shows consumers have a strong interest in becoming personally involved as well as sharing our social identity and values, as consumers, which means businesses can take advantage of this feature.
Use the element of surprise! People love to be surprised, amused and even shocked by marketing campaigns. These are the ones that normally stay in people’s minds for a longer period of time.
If would like to discuss your graphic design needs, or an infographic requirement why don’t you get in touch with our team of experts for a no-obligation quote?
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