Infographics are so powerful. They can take on just about any tone. Done well, they can present amazingly complicated data clearly — or pretty simple ideas invitingly. And they can be used to make routine presentations fascinating and even fun.Visual.ly‘s website (which is a treasure trove of infographics) to “Twitterize” myself. Automatically generated from my Tweets, it guessed — incorrectly — that I am a designer.
These examples could all work as infographics:
advice or tips
Intriguing, real-life infographic examples
Here’s a post showing a dozen of the most intriguing examples I had come across, which I wrote for the wonderful folks at 12 most. I later contracted with two of the biggest brains behind 12 Most, Peggy Fitzpatrick and Paul Biedermann — who happen to run re:DESIGN, a slick strategic design, social media and branding firm — to create four really smart infographics for a client project I was managing.
And, just as I had envisioned, those infographics packed a bundle of data into far less space, and in far more captivating ways. Bullseye.
The drawback. . .
Unfortunately, infographics are not easy to do. Planning is important, but can be difficult. Gathering the data and sources also takes work.
But those weren’t the obstacles preventing me from using more of them in my work. What held me back mostly was my, uh, talent (or lack of it). See, creating infographics takes the right equipment and software. Yet even more important is this: making infographics come to life takes plenty of design and artistic know-how.
I could imagine the selection of infographics I’d use for projects to make them really stand out — to persuade powerfully and communicate clearly. I couldn’t execute most of those infographics, though, because I am not a designer.
Sure, I partnered with some talented artistic designers and commissioned a few infographics, such as the wonderful work that re:DESIGN handled. But I would’ve done more and used them in all sorts of ways if I could dream them up and make them, too.
Infographics for Everyone
Now, I can. And so can you.
An amazing site called Easel.ly offers us creative folks who are not designers a whole new world full of options for creating infogaphics and charts and graphs that pop with excitement and color.
Before I get ambushed, let me say that this site is not going to replace graphic designers. Even great ideas and this site’s tools, templates and capabilities can take a person only so far. Natural talent still matters. It always will. And, just as I can paint a wall in my own house, if I were going to do something much bigger and more challenging — such as paint the entire house — I would outsource that to someone far more skilled than I am.
Still, with Easel.ly, great ideas and information can take on magical forms that weren’t possible until now for most of us. (I have no connection to Easel.ly, by the way, other than being a big, new fan.)
There’s a fabulous, short tutorial video about getting started on Easel.ly, which I’ve embedded right here.
The first infographic I dreamed up and created
Check out this infographic I created all on my own the same day I first started learning about Easel.ly.
It took a couple of hours, but that was as much a matter of my unfamiliarity with the tools and icons and ways to navigate the site as anything. For a presentation or report of yours that’s got to wow your audience, it’s really worth checking out this site and playing around.
What will you create?