A few days ago, I shared an infographic about some of the projects I completed for a company in the last three years. The infographic also showed facts of what happens behind the scenes while I am working. I got so many positive reactions that I decided to share some details of my creation process. So, here’s the behind the scenes of my Behind the scenes infographic.An infographic is a visual representation of information, but it is important to highlight that it is a visual representation with a purpose. A beautifully designed graph that doesn’t communicate a message, that doesn’t tell a story or that doesn’t help the viewer to gain a better understanding of a topic is not an infographic.

The purpose of my infographic was to provide a visual representation of the number of projects, total amount of work hours and technology used during a specific period of time, but most importantly, I wanted to share a part of my story too. By telling the story behind the scenes through personal hobbies and likes, I wanted to create a stronger emotional connection with the viewers.

With that purpose in my mind, I started gathering the data. I keep track of all my projects by organizing them into folders, so most of the data came from these folders. The information about my daily habits came from mobile apps such as Nike+RunClub and MyFitnessPal.

While I was reviewing my folders, I was tempted to include more information in the final infographic, but after giving this a second thought, I decided it was better to segment the data based on a single criterion. So, I created a first layer of information related to all the projects that were part of a training and communication strategy for one company.

With all the information on my desk, I started to visualize the kind of relationships I wanted to draw attention to; and after a few sketches on paper, the idea of intertwining work projects with hobbies became clearer.

The final step was to explore different ways to structure the data. While I used different types of graphics to capture the details, the overall structure of the infographic is a “superimposed parallelism” to intensify comparisons and reveal variations (Edward Tufte, 1997, Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative).

The color selection was the easiest part. Orange is the color of my personal brand, because it represents energy and that is the essence of my personality 😊 So, I mainly used a palette of darker and lighter variations of my brand color…and voilà! – a part of my life told by graphics.

A further step would have been to make the infographic interactive. This was only a personal project so there was no need to pursue that direction. However, with projects that require more than two layers to organize all the relevant data, it is a great idea to encourage exploration by making users interact with different layers of information. This allows them to follow their own discovery path and unfold their own narrative according to what intrigues them from the data presented.

I am sure you have seen plenty of “boring” graphics, and I hope this post helps you see (or create) them now in a different way. Try to find their purpose, the story behind them, there is always one.

You can see my “Behind the Scenes” infographic in a broader context here where I used it at the end of a case study to summarize the results of my work.

Please, let me know if you have any questions about different ways to present your data and get your message across more effectively. Or, leave your comments below!