What Tools Do You Need to Create Infographics?

By Justin Beegel, MBA, The Infographic World Team

Adobe Photoshop gives ordinary folks the power to edit photos to appear extraordinary by smoothing away blemishes, adding features, and altering composition. Photoshop, which has added features over the years, has become a standard tool for graphic designers. Photoshop is a key part of the Adobe Creative Suite, and as of 2013, is available through Adobe’s Creative Cloud (CC) subscription service.

Adobe Creative Cloud

If you’re working in the Creative Cloud (CC) versions of Adobe’s Creative Suite software, you’ll likely notice similarities between your workspace in Photoshop and Illustrator. Adobe has designed a common user interface between related programs, making it easier to apply what you know about one program when you’re learning another. The workspaces look very similar and have similar commands, panels, and tools.

Photoshop is a raster graphics editor, which means that users can create or edit drawings or photographic images by manipulating pixels. Compare that with vector image editors — like Illustrator — which allow users to manipulate lines and shapes.

Different tasks may call for different programs; we’ll talk about some of the benefits and drawbacks of both kinds of programs. Nowadays, an infographic designer should have a good working knowledge of both.

Getting started with Photoshop

Has a parent or coach ever told you, “You have to walk before you can run”? Photoshop is a bit like that. Mastering the basics and getting a handle on how to organize your work will help you build a good foundation for the trickier features that can really make your work stand out.

Start out by learning about some of Photoshop’s essential functions and remember to keep your work organized so that you don’t lose track of your hard work.

Learn the basic Photoshop tools

Conveniently, Photoshop and Illustrator share many similar functions. At times, you’ll have to decide which program to use, but there’s really not a wrong answer. Many infographic designers use Photoshop and Illustrator, sometimes alone and sometimes together.

Use effects sparingly

It’s easy to spot an infographic done by someone who has recently discovered the joys of Photoshop. Many an enthusiastic designer has piled on all the special effects, and unwittingly created a jumbled, distracting mess.

It takes a lot of trial and error to find out which Photoshop effects work best for each project. The good news is that no matter what tool you try, it’s easy to undo your work and start again. The better news is that it’s all pretty fun.