Find Inspiration for Custom-Made Infographics

By Justin Beegel, MBA, The Infographic World Team

The customized infographic piece leaves an impression of you when the work is done. Custom style is all in the name of the project, of course. But who is to say it’s for the client or editor alone? Ideally, your readers will connect with and embrace your customized infographic’s theme.

When planning your theme, if you reach deep down into your very existence and come up with cobwebs, don’t panic. Sources for inspiration abound. When you need inspiration immediately, a few sources of graphics genius can be your best friend.

Targeted web searching can provide you inspiration. Try using specific search terms to find images that pertain to your subject. For example, try “life insurance icons,” or “term life insurance images” instead of simply searching “life insurance.”

For less-targeted searching and general browsing for ideas, take a tour of websites run by the graphics greats:

  • Nigel Holmes, former head of the graphics department at Time magazine, now turns out some fabulous freelance projects.

  • The New York Times is a go-to for graphics with a strong news component. Even its more feature-oriented graphics, without a strong news peg, will surprise you with their brilliance.

  • Infographic World makes custom graphics.

  • Shutterstock: Perusing a stock photo sites can jog your cramped creativity. Running a simple search of a subject will produce large numbers of images that may spark your own idea. For instance, you may need an idea for cyberbullying.

    A search of visual images on cyberbullying may inspire your depiction of angry digital arrows attacking you from a computer monitor.

  • Xocas.com: This is the interactive graphics blog of the The New York Times own Xaquin Gonzales Viera. Xaquin’s infographic work spans a good portion of the last decade. He is well known for his great interactive information graphics. He also cooks a mean paella.

  • John Grimwade has been Condé Naste Traveler’s information graphics specialist for long enough to compile a portfolio of exceptional graphics.

  • Juan Velasco is the veteran art director of National Geographic magazine.

  • Javuer Zarracina, formerly of the El Correo newspaper in Bilbao, Spain, is the graphics director of The Boston Globe. His work combines 3D, pencil drawings, and a lush array of beautiful infographics.

  • Daily Infographic, featuring a new infographic every day, is a great place to stroll through its archives for ideas.

Or look in a book:

  • “Information Graphics” (Taschen Books) by Sandra Rendgen and Julius Wiedemann. London-based blog Urban Tick describes this book as “a tasteful framework to showcase the many awesome examples of the data narrative.” It’s great.

  • “The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics: The Dos and Don’ts of Presenting Data, Facts, and Figures” (W. W. Norton & Company) by Dona M. Wong. This book is organized into mini workshops. You will learn what works and what doesn’t.

  • “The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization” (Peachpit Press) by Alberto Cairo. Alberto Cairo is the twenty-first century’s Nigel Holmes. Cairo describes his book as “an introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization, the communication of facts and data by means of charts, graphs, maps, and diagrams.” It includes a DVD featuring 90 minutes of video lectures.

  • The Society for News Design’s “Best of News Design” annuals. These design annuals always come to mind for quick inspiration, particularly if you are focusing on news-oriented infographics. They are stocked full of amazing design ideas and graphics.

  • “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” (Graphics Press) by Edward R. Tufte. Ask any graphic artist from the past two decades who fathered present-day information graphics theory, and they will probably cite Edward Tufte. This book, along with Tufte titles “Envisioning Information” and “Visual Explanations,” are the top three must-reads in the graphics realm.