Stop! The Zebra Mussel Spread: The Power of Infographics

Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes (ppssst, the real number is actually 11,842 lakes). If you follow my blog, it’s likely you already know that this is my home state. And with all of the freshwater here, we as residents need to be wary of invasive species that can negatively impact them.

Zebra mussels are a continuing issue as they like to hitchhike on water-related equipment, and move from lake to lake. They’re a known invasive freshwater species in the area, but still, not everyone [who should] knows or understands the significance of the spread of zebra mussels.

Because of this, an infographic is the perfect way to help make anyone aware of what zebra mussels are, why they’re a threat, and how to prevent their hitchhiking. See below for my zebra mussel infographic. 

Zebra Mussel Infographic

There’s no doubt that a lot of detail goes into creating an infographic. To help ensure my graphic was as effective as it could be, I followed some specific call outs from a few articles by Neil Patel. “19 Warning Signs Your Infographic Stinks,” and “12 Infographic Tips That You Wish You Knew Years Ago.”

  • Have compelling titles.
  • Use colors that make sense together and with the information given.
  • Cite sources/use call to actions. See my references listed at the end of this post.

Of course, I also had to follow the steps that I’ve defined from my previous blog post, “How to Create an Effective and Compelling Infographic.” The steps are fairly basic, but within each one, I’m going to describe a little bit more about what went into this process. 

Step 1 – Know your audience. 

My audience are those who live near and travel to fresh bodies of water, particularly in the midwest, United States. Zebra mussels arrived in the US by a contaminated cargo ship back in the 1980’s, so their largest population is near the great lakes. I kept this in mind when designing.

Step 2 – Collect your data.

The data, of course, is about zebra mussels. I learned a lot during this research and made sure I touched on all of my questions to ensure I provided the best information for my audience. It helped me to narrow down to pointing out what they are, their threats, their spread, and what we can do to prevent their continuing spread. 

Step 3 – Define the scope of your infographic layout.

There are many different infographic layouts available, but the layout very much depends on the content. For example, if sharing chronological information, a timeline layout would work well. 

Because my information is just that – very informational, I wanted to section it out per stats and call outs I shared. So, this helped me know to use a sectioned, informational style graphic. 

Step 4 – Define the scope of your infographic style.

As far as color goes, I chose to use cool colors that mimic water and environment, and to also keep the audience psychologically relaxed as they learn about something that might not be so fun. I also made sure to use complementary colors from blues, greens, yellows, to orange. 

With my font, I chose to use a bold typeface for the title and subtitles – something that would give the audience an alarm that this is important, but also organic enough to follow suit with the rest of the design. Then, there’s a secondary title font which is less bold, but still has an accommodating character to it. Lastly, the subject font is a basic sans serif so it’s easy to read and understand. 

The elements I used are all rounded, circular, and organic. By doing this, I kept a consistent feel throughout the infographic. 

This infographic was very fun to create, and it makes me feel proud to share issues related to my home state. Especially now, in the heat of the summer time, it’s essential to be aware of zebra mussels, and to stop the spread.

Infographic Citations:

About Zebra Mussels. (2021). 

Benson, A. J. (2020, March 20). The Exotic Zebra Mussel. 

EDDMapS. 2021. Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System. The University of Georgia – Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. Available online at; last accessed June 30, 2021.

Malcom H. (2020). Millbrook, NY; Cary Institute. 

What are Invasive Mussels? (2018). 

Zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha). (2021). 

Blog Citations:

Cao, J. (2015, April 7). Web design color theory: how to create the right emotions with color in web design. 

Cox, L. K. (2021, May 14). How to Create an Infographic in Under an Hour [+ Free Templates]. 

Fussell, G. (2020, May 16). The Psychology of Fonts (Fonts That Evoke Emotion).–cms-34943. 

Patel, N. (2021). 12 Infographic Tips That You Wish You Knew Years Ago. 

Patel, N. (2021). 19 Warning Signs Your Infographic Stinks. 

Sinar, E. (2016, February 14). 7 Data Visualization Types You Should be Using More (and How to Start).

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