Cheat Sheet

Infographics For Dummies

From Infographics For Dummies by Justin Beegel, MBA [with The Infographic World Team]

Infographics present complex information, data, or knowledge quickly and clearly. Found in print material and online, infographics use a variety of approaches to convey meaningful information. A number of easy-to-use, free tools make creating infographics easy. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow infographics to be spread among growing audiences.

Choose the Right Infographic and Chart Type

The ultimate goal of an infographic is to make complex ideas simple. Therefore, make sure that the information is displayed in the clearest, most accurate way possible. Here’s the best way to use some of the basic types of charts and infographics.

  • Bar chart: Great when you have a fairly small group of numbers to compare, or when the difference in bar length will show a dramatic contrast.

  • Line graph: Useful for showing numbers that change over a long period of time. Also nice for adding historical facts, figures and illustrations as art elements.

  • Pie chart: Best for showing parts of a whole.

  • Static infographic: Feature art that does not change; can be in print documents or online.

  • Interactive infographic: Allow the reader to choose certain elements, or to manipulate the graphic to derive the data they want to see; found in online graphics.

Find Infographic Data and Statistics

Infographics are much more than pretty pictures. The stronger the statistics and data, the better the finished infographic will be. Here are a few websites specializing in topics and numbers an infographic designer might explore:

Basic Infographic Design Tools

Infographic designers have some basic tools — from design software to online sites and services — that help them create effective infographics. Here are some basic needs for any infographic design toolbox.

Professional designers need to invest in one or both of the big guns in infographic design: Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop.

If just beginning to test the infographic waters, a designer should take advantage of a few free or low-cost options. Infographics can be created easily and effectively with:

  • Microsoft’s PowerPoint or Publisher

  • An infographic design-and-share site, such as infogr.am.

  • A drag-and-drop site that uses preset visual themes, such as easel.ly.

  • Tableau Public uses drag-and-drop technology to help you build infographics, which are then placed online for public viewing and commentary.

When working with a client, always ask to see what resources they are willing to share or lend you. This can include expensive software or something as seemingly small as a family of fonts.

Attract an Audience to an Infographic

When not creating an infographic for a specific client, finding an audience for the infographic is up to the infographic designer or design house. Here are a few ways to make sure an infographic attracts readers.

  • Create a website or blog. If you don’t already have a blog, WordPress and Blogger are popular blogging platforms that provide pretty easy ways to launch a blog where an infographic can be placed.

  • Post on social media. A designer or design house can share an infographic with friends and contacts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. Use social sharing buttons and encourage friends and business contacts to retweet or recommend the piece through the social media they use.

  • Research metrics on website readership. Websites that provide online data can pinpoint sites that receive a lot of traffic and tap into the same topics covered by the infographic. Good resources for such information include compete.com, alexa.com, and technorati.com.

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