When you hear the word “infographic,” what do you picture? A tall, skinny image full of big numbers and simple graphics or charts? These types of infographics became popular a few years back. They were often intended to show the facts of a problem or depict the results of a nonprofit program, which they accomplished in an attractive and engaging way.

In addition to showing facts and results, inforgraphics can be used to tell a story. One example is The Reality of Her Day, created by Lemonly for the United Nations Foundation for International Women’s Day. Idealware uses this example in our four-part online course, Visual Storytelling: The Complete Infographic Toolkit for Nonprofits, which we are offering in April this year. The course costs $180 and runs Thursdays, March 8 through March 29, from 1-2:30pm EST.

Storytelling infographics often lead the audience on a defined visual path through an overall narrative. The best ones also have multiple points of entry, and sections that can stand alone. For example, in this infographic, the cooking image might catch your eye and lead you to read the detail about that, then be drawn to the related items—and the cooking segment could also be cropped to become a Facebook or Twitter image. Along that visual path, storytelling infographics can reach a reader’s emotion as well as his or her intellect, presenting key facts, images, and details that bring the story to life.

In a recent conversation about design trends, Kien Tseng, founder of Yippa, a design studio focusing on nonprofits and progressive organizations, pointed out that interactive, digital infographics can make the story even more vivid.

The Women’s World Banking Annual Report is a lovely example of an interactive digital infographic that tells a story. Marcy Rye, who created this report with her team, is the owner of Wire Media, a long-time friend of Idealware, and a frequent guest speaker on our webinars. What I like about the Women’s World Banking Annual Report’s user experience is the way more items keep popping up as I scroll, enticing me to keep reading. I also like the interactivity with the map, and the use of a few beautiful images makes the piece pop.

You might think this kind of design is out of reach for small nonprofits. I know I did, but I was surprised to find out how affordable it is. Designers are building frameworks that streamline this kind of work, bringing down the cost and improving quality at the same time, Kien told me. And for nonprofessionals with some DIY skills, tools like Canva and Infogr.am make it easy to create simple or even quite sophisticated infographics on a shoestring budget.

To learn more about the latest trends: Six Reasons Why Infographics Matter, our free webinar, March 1, 1-2 pm.

To dive deeper into infographics: Visual Storytelling: The Complete Infographic Toolkit for Nonprofits, Thursdays, March 8 through March 29, 1-2:30 pm.

To gain practical design skills: The Accidental Designer: How to Design Images Like a Pro