It’s the data.
It may be beating a dead horse to say so at this point, but infographics are data-driven designs. Even the strongest design can fall short of the standard without the right data behind it. Unless your client provides you with the data, the onus is on you to ensure that your infographic is both attractive and well-sourced.
So, where should you look for the right data? There is a lot of information out there, and it’s important to know where to find data that is both reliable, well-sourced and accurate, but how do you weed out the good from the bad? Below are several resources to get you started.
FedStats.gov is the ultimate data resource for any government-related or political infographic. The site links to statistics and information from more than 100 federal government agencies, allowing you to get the scoop on crime, demographics, income, labor, education, transportation and more. If your infographic needs well-sourced, statistically strong data on just anything in the realm government or politics, this should be your go-to.
If you want to look into scholarly literature for your data, look no further. Google Scholar is the central hub for all things academic. You can search many sources across several disciplines all in one place, locate specific documents and view them online if available.
Neilson and Forrester
The best source of data on the pay, demographics, and education for several thousand different professions.
Though citing Wikipedia directly isn’t exactly best practice for infographic research, there is a wealth of information available through Wiki if you know where to find it. Once you find a statistics you’d like to use, scroll toward the bottom of the page and check those sources for legitimacy. Chances are, they’ll lead you to more data that you can use.
The Old-Fashioned Google Search
If all else fails, I like to give my topics a good, old-fashioned googling. Try searching the keyword for your infographic topic along with “statistics,” “by the numbers,” or “facts,” and see what you can find. However, be sure to take search results with a grain of salt and make sure that they come from legitimate sources before using that data. In general, most .gov, .org and .edu sites provide really great data from reliable sources. Avoid using .com and blog websites as a resource for any academic, economic, or political data as the quality may not be up to snuff.
Infographics are becoming a widespread tool for link and brand building, and more and more IGs on niche topics are coming out of the woodwork. For the more obscure topics, it may be difficult to find the right data, but the above resources should help point you in the right direction. Whatever the topic, infographics are a valuable tool for conveying complex information in a way that is both simple and digestible. With good sources and a strong understanding of the research, a great designer can knock an infographic straight out of the ballpark.0