If you don’t know what infographics are, it’s about time you learned.
If you are a teacher and you don’t know what these are, it’s about time you started getting your students to use and create them.
Infographics, also known as information graphics are: The picture worth more than a thousand words¹.
Wikipedia presently states an infographic is a “graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge’.
But why are they important to harness and use?
You have probably come across a few infographics in your life: Subway route systems, weather maps, and even the common red octagonal stop sign, which is a simple form of an infographic. Below, I have listed the importance and reasons why I love infographics:
- Graphics are universal, meaning they are easily understood across cultures.
If you have traveled to a non-English-speaking country, think of a time you have tried to read signs to figure out what they mean. If you were in a Spanish-speaking country this was possibly easier than if you were in China or Thailand where not only the words, but also the script is completely unintelligible to you. However, many of these countries have used the idea of infographics to convey meaning to those who need it. Think of the red octagonal sign with the gibberish script on it. Placed at a corner, an English-speaking driver of a car still should inherently know to stop. Just as they might understand the squiggly lines on a yellow sign might mean a curvy road up ahead. The graphic does more for the international user than any word in any language ever could.
- Complex information is displayed visually to appeal to this type of intelligence.
Howard Gardner explains those having Spacial/Visual intelligences as “having visual and spatial perception. [They are able to] interpret and create visual images. [They have] pictorial imagination and expression [and] understand relationship[s] between images and meanings, and between space and effect.” http://www.businessballs.com/howardgardnermultipleintelligences.htm
I feel this is my primary type of intelligence.
We understand why we might want to use or create infographics and for who, but how?
- Determine topic of the infographic.
- Research data needed to display.
- Decide on color scheme.
- Design infographic and keep it simple.
- Try: Graphs, Timelines, Flowcharts, Size Comparisons, Venn Diagrams, Annotated Pictures and Maps
- To create graphics use:
- GapMinder (Animated Infographics)
- Google Public Data
- Wordle (Word Visualizations)
- Hohli (Pie Charts)
- Stat Planet (Interactive Visualizations)
- Creately (Diagrams and Flow Charts)
- Many Eyes (Allows upload and retrieval of data from websites)
- New York Times’ Visualization Lab
- Tableau (Visualization creator – Windows Only)
- Antetype (Visual service to design prototypes)
- Slatebox (Collaboration tool for brainstorming)
- Visualizing.org (Community creating Diagrams and Charts)
- Spicynodes (Create Visuals for websites)
- Bubbl.us (Collaboration for Flowcharts)
Go Beyond: Use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, 3D Studio Max or any free available graphic design software like:
- Vector Inkscape | Insightpoint
- Raster Gimp | Gimpshop | Smoothdraw | Serif Drawplus | Project Dogwaffle Free
- 3D Graphics Blender | Google Sketchup
Find more graphic design tools at snap2objects blog here.
See a step-by-step guide to creating an infographic using Adobe Illustrator here at vector.tutsplus.com
See a few website examples of infographics here, here, here, and here.
¹ Coined by Thomas Adam Johnson Monday, June 13th, 2011