What you can learn from icon design when creating infographics
In the last EF Creative article, we talked about some of the different classifications of infographics. Let’s look at the role of the icon within infographics.
One aspect that differentiates infographics are their visual styling. Some are highly illustrative, while others have a illustrative feel but aren’t overly detailed. Rarely, some use photos. Some are even more in the vein of a Data Visualization, utilizing charts.
What we are talking about today are the infographics which stick to a more icon based design.
Icons have been an integral part of User Interface for a long time. There are icons on car dash boards, on ovens and even modern fridges. But we most commonly see them on our phones. Weather the App icon doubles as it’s logo or if the app itself contains few words and uses icons as it’s buttons to trigger different actions in the App.
As the influx of infographics has streamed onto corporate websites, health food blogs and onto Pinterest boards, you may have noticed some that use custom icons as their main method for visual communication.
There are a few icon designers out there. These specialized designers are not only sharing their own creations, but they are sharing their love for icons by teaching icon design. Although these designers and teachers are not creating infographics, I find their work very valuable and love the power that icons bring to the communication medium.
I became familiar with Kyle Adams as I was gaining interest in the seanwes network. I eventually joined the network as a member and soon started following Kyle a bit more closely. He has released a Icon Design guide. He also is prolific in his output and shares a new icon daily it seems. He also has some great insight into building an audience and running a business. You can hear more of that on the podcast he is a part of called Behind the Brand!
Justas runs a website called Icon Utopia. He also has a Icon Design guide available as well. Justas blogs and puts out quite a bit of original icons. He rounds up the best icons of the month and sends out that information via his blog and newsletter. He has also has released some blog posts of a more technical nature, which includes setting up an illustrator file for creating icons.
The power of an icons really lies in the fact that words do not need to be used. We all accept older symbols such as letters to mean “Send/Compose E-mail” when we see them in an app or on a website. Some of these universal icons can be really effective when used on an infographic.
But custom icons that bridge that grey area between icon and illustration can add a whole new layer of depth to visual communication. When distilling visual information into a compact space is the name of the game when designing infographics, custom illustrative icons really pack a punch.
Style and Audience
Every audience and product may benefit from a different style of infographic. You probably wouldn’t want to design an infographic that looked like it was designed for the Tech industry if you were trying to communicate with the natural food industry. So the icon style infographic won’t work for every audience and for every subject matter. But it certainly can cut through the constant noise of the web with it’s simplistic and minimalist, yet potent approach.