The Infographic Demystified

What is an “Infographic”?

An information graphic is a visual representation of data that allows complex information to be presented in a compact and easy-to-understand format.

Click here for a huge list of examples of different types of infographics.


Why Use an Infographic?

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Depicting large amounts of information as images is said to be a less intimidating way for the viewer to digest the information.


What Types of Data are Best-Suited?

Information, such as facts, statistics, timelines, processes, location-based data, patterns and trends are all well-suited to being delivered visually.


How do I Create a Good Infographic?

Some tips I’ve gathered from expert resources like Sneh include:

  1. Define the theme of your infographic.
  2. Review and condense your data into the most relevant information.
  3. Group relevant data together.
  4. Create a flowchart (“a skeleton of words and arrows”) to create a visual flow of information.
  5. Assign certain colours to specific flows of information.
  6. Create icons as visual aids to reduce amount of text on page.
  7. Follow a 1:1 ratio of data to graphics.

What Kinds of Tools Should I Use?

Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word do allow you to convey data and information visually via graphs and SmartArt – but the design lacks the visual appeal that is needed to turn the banal into the engaging. Secondly, these tools lack the power to work with complex or large amounts of data.

When planning out your infographic, Microsoft Visio can be a useful tool to organize data into flowcharts.

Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard for creating graphics.

During my research, I compiled a list of free online tools for creating Infographics. I have not personally used any of these tools so I encourage you to share your feedback to help us determine which tools are the most useful and user friendly:

  • Stat Planet – create interactive maps and charts; map-based visualizations, gives you access to world data and allows you to import your own data.
  • Hohli – chart maker – line, bar and pie charts, Venn diagrams, scatter plots, radar charts
  • Creately – allows you to create diagrams and flow charts (like Microsoft Visio)
  • Many Eyes – lets you use your own data
  • Google Public Data – turns public Google data into Infographics
  • Wordle – create word visualizations using text you enter
  • easel.ly – dragging and dropping pre-made design elements; you can upload your own graphics to include in your infographic.
  • infogr.am– upload spreadsheet information to display in customized chart; four basic types available: bar, pie, line, and matrix; can change fonts, type size, add photos, charts and quotes.
    • Con: Can’t make infographic posters yet; Log in using your Facebook or Twitter account;
  • Piktochart– drag ‘n’ drop functionality with more comprehensive suite of tools.
    • Con: $14.99 US/month


-Kelly Marshall,
Director of Communications,
Sector Learning Solutions

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infographic
http://www.instantshift.com/2009/06/07/infographic-designs-overview-examples-and-best-practices/
http://spyrestudios.com/the-anatomy-of-an-infographic-5-steps-to-create-a-powerful-visual/
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