Tip Sheet: Share Your Science Using Infographics

Tip Sheet: Share Your Science Using Infographics

Infographics are a relatively new but helpful strategy for science communication and dissemination of research findings. By blending text and graphics, infographics can facilitate communication of scientific findings to the public, other scientists, and patient communities. Since they are easier to read than a research paper, they can increase access to your scientific findings. (Infographics are similar to graphical abstracts, which are a visual presentation of the abstract and are a great science communication option for authors publishing in Translational Behavioral Medicine and Annals of Behavioral Medicine.)

Try not to be intimidated! An infographic can be drafted in an hour or two, with the help of a design tool. You will then want to get feedback on the infographic from your scientific colleagues and also friends and relatives who are not as familiar with your research to determine how easy the infographic is to understand and follow.



-Decide on your message and keep it brief: You can’t fit your whole research article into an infographic– so don’t try! In particular, you want to communicate the research question and 2-3 most important results (specific to what your audience cares about). Aim for 150 words or fewer.

-Consider the essential points that you want to convey to this single targeted audience: Infographics can be used to convey information to research participants, politicians, other stakeholders, the general public, or scientific audiences. Decide who you want to communicate to, for THIS infographic and tailor your infographic accordingly. One paper could warrant multiple infographics communicating different information to different groups.

-Identify a template with a vertical orientation: Readers find it easier to read down, rather than back and forth or across. SBM members who have created infographics indicate using a variety of platforms including Canva and Piktochart. Be mindful that some features on various platforms may require a paid account, but you should be able to create an effective infographic without a paid account. 

-Choose your colors and pictures carefully: Choose two main colors for your infographic from the palette of blue, green, black, grey, or white. Aim for high contrast between elements, so that your infographic is legible if printed in black and white. Red, yellow, and orange are often used for emphasis– use these colors sparingly. Choose simple pictures and shapes to help you convey your messages. 

-Follow a template with your first few infographics: Infographics, like scientific articles, are pretty formulaic. These templates and examples will provide a non-intimidating way to get started with making infographics! 

-Keep accessibility in mind: Certain colors, font types (e.g., sans serif), and font sizes may be more readable for individuals with visual impairments (see SBM webinar: “Increasing Accessibility and Inclusion in Your Science Communication”, for tips). It is helpful to add alt text to your image so that screen readers can interpret your infographic. Aim for a 6th grade reading level for the vocabulary that you use (word processing software will often calculate the reading level for you).

-Practice makes perfect! You will continue to get better condensing your studies into infographics over time, and some studies are easier to make into infographics. You can see below the evolution of one SBM member’s infographics over time. [insert Jackie’s examples] 


Essential elements to include in an infographic

  1. Link to the full scientific article (even better if the article is available open access)
  2. The infographic title– this can be article title, the name of the study as known to the community, or a statement indicating the new policy for which you may be advocating
  3. The research question
  4. The study design and/or sample
  5. 2-3 main research findings
  6. Simple visual components that help you convey your points

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