The DIY Infographics Movement

By Justin Beegel, MBA, The Infographic World Team

Here are some words that may strike fear into the hearts of professional infographic designers: Anyone can make an infographic. You’re probably thinking that if anyone can make an infographic, who would ever hire you to create one?

It’s a valid question, but look at it this way: The quantity of published infographics has risen astronomically. Along the way, the quality has improved, too. With a little help, you can learn the importance of great research, a well-designed plan, and awesome technical skills to create graphics that beautifully bridge the worlds of data and design.

Attention spans keep getting shorter! The global marketplace has an insatiable need to present information that works across language and cultural lines. You should be able to find plenty of work.

And there’s plenty of room for people who are not designers to play around with the form. Some cool things out there:

  • Tableau Public allows a user to submit raw data, which Tableau’s programming language turns into “data visualizations.” The finished products are shared to the general public, and can also be uploaded to the user’s website, blog, or other platform. Some major media outlets are using Tableau, but it’s free to anyone.

  • IBM runs a program called Many Eyes that allows users to create free infographics based on data sets. The program lets users try out more than a dozen different treatments of their information, from pie chart to bar graph to flow chart. Finished products are publicly available and ready for review by other Many Eyes users.

  • In 2012, Stanford professor and social-media maven Drake Martinet’s proposal to girlfriend Stacy Green took the form of an infographic. Martinet used statistics and female icons to prove that Stacy was the one perfect woman for him. This is a classic case of knowing your audience: Green is the chief marketing officer for online news site Mashable.

  • Some intrepid job seekers are creating infographic résumé. This is a bit of a gamble. Getting a job is serious business; especially in traditional industries, you don’t want to appear too whimsical.

    In creative fields, though, a résumé in the form of an infographic might just help you stand out and show your prospective boss just how creatively you can think. Perhaps your career history is shown on a subtly illustrated timeline.

    You could place your most relevant skills in bubbles, perhaps overlapping with key terms from the job description. Former employers could be shown, not listed, with small icons based on their corporate logos.

    An infographic résumé would also provide an easy way to link to your previous work. This figure shows how one young job seeker put his résumé in graphic form.

    An infographic can serve as a résumé.

    An infographic can serve as a résumé.