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Picture This: Using Graphics to Tell Your Story


They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and who has the time to read a thousand words these days?

Graphics – everything from charts and graphs to illustrations, photographs and video – have the power to simplify complex facts and figures, bring color to dry but important information and complement a well-written story.  

Using Graphics Effectively

“Keep it simple” is good advice in writing and speaking, and applies to using graphics as well. Sometimes we’re so eager to make something colorful and pretty that we let the graphics overcome the content.

Some common mistakes:

  • Filling the page with so many images that there’s no focus. Your eye doesn’t know where to land. Don’t be afraid of white space, also known as negative space. It will give the graphics you do use more impact.

mistake 1.png
  • Mixing styles and images. Multiple typefaces, shapes and visual styles can be overwhelming. Choose one or two and use them as a theme or thread throughout your piece.

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  • Using a graphic just because you can. Always ask yourself if it enhances or improves the audience experience, or if simple words might be clearer.

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  • Neglecting flow. Just as your words need to have a flow, graphics need to be presented in a logical order.

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The Infographic

Infographics are generally engaging and efficient in delivering a lot of information in a small space to an audience with limited time or attention spans – in other words, most of us. 

Infographics are especially effective for communicating data, such as statistics and surveys results, making those numbers easier to grasp. Infographics also do a good job of presenting how-to information (5 Tips for Effective Infographics), suggestions (5 Great Vacation Spots) and timelines, lists and comparisons.

How do you create an infographic?

Decide what your message is. Why are you sharing this particular data? What are you trying to communicate about the accompanying text?

Decide on a style that fits the mood or purpose of your information. You can be cute and cartoony (those 5 great vacation spots) or serious and straightforward (data and health information). Think about where this is going to be used, and what might grab your audience's attention.

After choosing the right graphics, let it flow. Make sure both your text and graphics transition smoothly from one section to the next, so that the audience and reader can easily follow from point A to point B and so on. 

People have been telling stories with pictures since the beginning of time. Today’s technology allows us to give those pictures more impact than ever.

Here are some examples of how we’ve helped our clients communicate visually:

  • American Association of Diabetes Educators Survey Results infographic

  • National Society of Genetic Counselors DNA Test social graphic

  • National Society of Genetic Counselors Best Jobs social graphic