Infographics are all the rage these days. A growing number of businesses are using images and graphic design elements to deliver information in way that’s more graphically engaging than your typical text-only blog post or article.

Why are they so popular?

Infographics are easier to read than articles or blog posts and more fun to share on visually focused social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Slideshare –and they’re far more likely to viral.

What’s not to love?

The only problem is, too many marketers churn out infographic after infographic without asking themselves if the images they’re using do the best possible job of conveying their ideas – or if the ideas themselves really lend themselves to getting a stellar visual treatment.

In my opinion, a bunch of random facts and figures laid out against a graphic background doesn’t make a compelling infographic. Nor does a complicated flow chart where 99% of the meaning is conveyed in text boxes.

The infographics that really smack me over the head with their awesomeness are the ones in which the bulk of the meaning and impact is conveyed by the images themselves – where the words serve to enhance the images as opposed to vice versa.

Like this one created by to illustrate the value and size of all the world’s gold, for example:

All the world's gold

(Click on the image to see the full infographic in all its glory.)

OMG, isn’t it one of the most beautiful visual learning tools you’ve seen?

Not only is the production quality of the images incredible, they deftly communicate information that would be impossible to grasp if presented as words alone. I love the objects they use as bases of comparison to illustrate the size of the different measurements of gold – the dollar bill, the Swiss army knife, the pick-up truck, the B2 stealth bomber. They helped me comprehend the size and value of gold in a way that had never been clear to me before.

I swear, it makes me want to go watch Goldfinger again – and this time root for the bad guys.

He looks like a fun guy, right?

He looks like a fun guy, right?

How to strike gold with your own infographics

As you brainstorm topics to bring to life in your next infographic, look for ideas that are best conveyed visually. Your images and graphic elements shouldn’t be mere window dressing, but should carry the bulk of your infographic’s meaning.

Whenever possible, look for opportunities to make people say “Wow!” When you present people with thought-provoking ideas or encourage them to look at time-worn topics in a radically new light, you make them sit up and take notice. And you make it far more likely that they’ll share your infographic with their friends and networks as well.

Seen a great infographic lately?

If so, post a link to it in the comments. We’re always on the lookout for more great examples to feature on our blog! (We’re happy to give you credit for it, too – whoo! Free inbound links! 😉 )