Five years ago, almost nobody knew what the heck an infographic was. I sure didn’t, and I was studying Multimedia Technology at college at the time.
Now that the infographic craze has saturated us with new visual knowledge and marketing gimmicks, something interesting has happened: The creation of infographics has become democratised. No longer is the act of creating a visual data story confined to professional designers using professional tools like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Now anyone with a data set can build an infographic.
Trust me when I say that with these tools, you don’t have to be a designer to create a high-quality, effective infographic. Does this mean there’s no place for professional designers and data? Not at all. Uniqueness and customization will always carry a premium, but there are plenty of instances where a prefab or low-cost alternative can be mighty useful.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of services that even non-designers can use to create great infographics.
Infogr.am is a free platform that has seen more than a million infographics created to-date. Infogr.am is nice and simple, but the features it does have are power-packed. For instance, you can make more than 30 different types of charts (compared to 11 in Excel). Speaking of Excel, Infogr.am’s built-in spreadsheet editor makes editing data easy and enables importing of XLS and CSV files.
One of its best features is the ability to download files in PNG or PDF format. This is perfect for including the infographic in a presentation or emailing it to a colleague. Many people will like the fact that you can publish your infographic online, which makes it shareable and embeddable. If your data is sensitive, give it a password and a private link.
Infogr.am is far and away my favourite online infographics editor at the moment.
Of all the infographic tools that claim to make data ‘fun,’ (there are more than you’d think), InfoActive probably comes closest to delivering on the promise. It’s unique features – including interactivity and live data – make it seem more up-to-date than the competition.
The platform lets you visualize data that isn’t just static – a big plus in today’s environment where people want to become part of the story. The addition of embedding live data is important given how quickly information can become outdated.
The InfoActive website phrases it like this: “Hitting ‘publish’ isn’t the end of the story; it’s just the beginning.”
Simplicity is a core feature here: the InfoActive site boasts that you don’t even need a tutorial to get started.
For $29 a month, Piktochart gives you access to a WYSIWYG editor that will let you drag and drop elements to create an infographic.
Some 400,000 users strong, including clients such as Harvard University, Red Bull and GE, Piktochart has built that following on the back of more than 90 included themes.
But from a design standpoint, many of those themes are decent, but others are mundane or downright bad.
As with Infogr.am, you can share your creations via social networks or download print-quality files.
One nice bonus: In the latest version, Piktochart lets users create search friendly graphics!