1st July 2019

Dress to impress when it comes to figures.

If ‘the suit maketh the man’, then a well-designed financial services infographic is a Paul Smith suit that truly ‘maketh an impression’. 

The internet is full of cats, I know because I saw an infographic which told me so, and increasingly there are nearly as many inspiring infographics as there are fluffy felines.

We’ve seen infographics explode and become increasingly visually extravagant, moving away from what began to emerge in the mid 2000’s as intelligent data visualisation, it has morphed more towards brash data illustration. I’m sure, like me, you’ve baulked at the wilder excesses of designers who can’t grasp the ‘less is more’ approach but undeniably this method of communication is engaging, charming and evidently effective in arresting the ever-decreasing attention spans of eager consumers.

People remember 80% of what they see and do, as opposed to 20% of what they read, and 10% of what they hear. And as visual creatures, astonishingly, the amount of information we consume outside of work on an average day equates to a colossal 34 gigabytes or 100,500 words. Small wonder then that dynamic companies embrace infographics with gusto and bellow and roar their messages across the web.

But what if you’re a respectable traditional financial institution keen to impart your informative knowledge and engage in a more restrained tone of voice that befits your institution? How can you join the infographic conversation and communicate complex data simply without either boring people or throwing in wildly inappropriate flourishes that simply don’t speak with your necessary tone of voice? If you need to send the signals of measured credibility, respectability and trust then you tailor your infographics to suit.

The best financial services infographics have an air of the Paul Smith suit about them: immaculately tailored and subtly restrained, but then you glance the disguised flair, the flash of colour, the modest daring little detail that delights and surprises. What appears restrained and stilted at first glance can elegantly offer up an effortless considered style while making a subtle impression.

A charming example of minimal styling for financial services infographics is showcased by Kuber Ventures. Their approach is assured, stylish, it humanises dry information, the sparing colours – usually blue and grey – are business like, calming and quietly authoritative – they own the conversation and the tone of voice is official.

Likewise the Annual VCT industry ‘Alternative Investment Report contained multitudes of carefully crafted and intricate facts and figures all folded into grids of infographics. They use a dominant background to throw out citric bursts of information.

HSBC as you’d expect present an engaging public face, sharply dressed and immaculate. Opting for a white background and muted colours they exude a relaxed and welcoming vibe that draws you into a sit forward read.

Another bolder approach is that taken by Grant Thornton. Their rather overt and playful tone nonetheless remains a strikingly confident statement of intent. It’s ‘almost’ disruptive in its immediacy but somehow balances a high-wire and appears perfectly acceptable, even moderate in comparison to the majority of infographics which any google search will blurt out to you.

In summary, we all dress appropriately for our careers, the suit truly does maketh the man and this quote endures for good reason. We are sending myriad messages by how we present ourselves and silently speaking in tones of voice that convey the impressions we want and ‘need’ to display. The financial services industry necessarily needs to speak volumes of it’s values and attitudes in today’s world and when dressed in stylishly designed finery it talks to you convincingly, and as a friend.

Further examples: