Educate Yourself about Creating Infographics

By Justin Beegel, MBA, The Infographic World Team

If you’re looking for education in the field of creating infographics, you’ve got some great options. You may already be an expert at creating charts, maps, and diagrams, but creating infographics also requires an understanding of

  • News gathering

  • Storytelling

  • Brand messaging

  • Data collection

  • Computer skills

Some of the country’s best journalism schools have enhanced their course offerings to include infographics, often under the umbrella of journalism or digital media.

  • Northwestern University: The renowned Medill School of Journalism offers undergraduate and graduate programs in journalism and an integrated marketing communications graduate-level program. Additionally, the school employs a director of digital innovation.

  • Columbia University: The Columbia Journalism School offers several academic degree programs. And a New York Times graphics editor is a professional in residence.

  • University of Miami: Infographic design is an elective course that’s part of an MFA in interactive media. The program also covers game design, app development, web development, and more.

  • The Media Sandbox at Michigan State University: Many classes are taught by expert practitioners, and there’s a heavy emphasis on the convergence of all media – old-school, new-school, and combinations of all. Design programs like Adobe Illustrator are taught from the introductory level on.

If your college days are long gone by or you don’t want to commit to a semester-long class or a degree program, you can take advantage of course offerings from industry groups or graphics professionals. The Society of News Design and the Orange County Register sponsors The Graphics Garage. For $75, attendees get a morning of lectures, an afternoon of hands-on workshops, and portfolio critiques from graphics pros.

Infographics designers are passionate people who love to share the wealth of their knowledge. Many prominent designers have offered one-day workshops or online classes in infographics. In 2012, the renowned Alberto Cairo taught a free six-week course in infographics through the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, part of the University of Texas at Austin. The course, an example of the fledgling format known as MOOC (massive open online course) was so popular that enrollment reached system limits. Future offerings are planned.