EDU - Design Infographics
ATD Blog

Infographics: A Quick Way to Clarify Learning Content

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Through visuals, you can improve the perceived professionalism of your presentation. Indeed, the correct visual choices help engage your audience consciously and unconsciously.

Enter Infographics

Informational graphics, or infographics, use any means (and graphic type) necessary to improve understanding. Infographics can include symbols, quantitative charts, and photographs; most use visual metaphors to communicate. For example, to explain transition, consider a bridge infographic. One side is the current situation, and the opposite side is the goal state (see figure below from A Trainer’s Guide to PowerPoint: Best Practices for Master Presenters).

Figure 1. An Infographic Shows Transition With a Bridge Metaphor

Parkinson_ Infographics_01.jpg
Using a visual metaphor tells a brief story and contextualizes your content. In this case, the bridge metaphor intuitively communicates stability, connection, span, and other descriptors your learners associate with this image. A visual metaphor supports your messages consciously and unconsciously. (Use the graphic types in appendix A to select the best graphic to meet your needs.)


As with colors and fonts, the style of your infographic sends a message to your learner. For example, a layout with a simplified, clean aesthetic tells your audience that the content is modern 117 Render: Design Principles for Professional Slides and, perhaps, innovative. A traditional aesthetic communicates that your content is established and trusted. Style is another visual queue that engages your learner unconsciously.


The styles of the three infographics in Figure 5-20 (from A Trainer’s Guide to PowerPoint Best Practices for Master Presenters ) convey different messages. For example, the left-most infographic uses large text, a relatively fun font, saturated colors, and a cartoon-like style. These choices make the content more approachable and appealing to certain audiences. Compare that with the center infographic, which uses a traditional font and icons with subdued, mostly monochromatic colors. As a result, it is perceived to be more academic. The third design’s aesthetic choices send yet another message to its target audience. Style plays a critical role in how you and your content are perceived.

Figure 2. Infographics Conveying Different Messages

Want to learn more? Check out my book A Trainer’s Guide to PowerPoint Best Practices for Master Presenters, and be sure to join me February 4-5 at ATD TechKnowledge 2019 for the preconference Designing Visuals for Learning Certificate program. Taking this certificate course at an ATD conference ROCKS! Unlike standalone certificate classes, participants can attend related sessions that further increase their understanding of the materials, share what they learned with other attendees, and watch others present and see what works and what doesn't.

About the Author

Mike is one of 34 Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs in the World and is an APMP CPP Fellow. He is a visual communication expert, professional speaker, educator, and award-winning author. He regularly conducts workshops and creates graphics, presentations, and content for companies like Microsoft, FedEx, Pfizer, Xerox, Dell, Subaru, and Boeing as well as at learning institutions and government agencies like NSA and CMS. Mike also wrote two industry best practice books, “Billion Dollar Graphics” and “A Trainer's Guide to PowerPoint: Best Practices for Master Presenters.”

Mike owns Billion Dollar Graphics ( and 24 Hour Company ( Contact Mike at [email protected] to learn more.

1 Comment
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I would love to read your book in the near future. It sounds like a perfect addition to our training materials. Maybe next year I can attend the conference! That would definitely be worthwhile.
Hi Diane. I'm sure you will get a lot out of the book. There are a lot of golden nuggets. The 2019 conference is going to be amazing! I hope you can make it. I'm giving a session before I head out for another event and hope to see ya there. If you have ANY questions, please reach out to me at [email protected] I'm always happy to help. :)
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