The newest sensation, spreading on the blogosphere in 2011, and making a huge presence in 2012, has been Infographics (IG). In case you’ve been hiding from the internet the past year, these pictures are intended to make complicated sets of data easy to read. Their bright colors and playful graphics have caught the attention of everyone, myself included. Most recently, “A World Without Facebook”, has been circulating in response to the SOPA bill.
As a business person, marketer or designer, this is can do a few things for you: It makes data easier to understand for yourself, your blog readers or your employees. The question is can you actually put one of these together? The most common way to go about making an IG is through Adobe Illustrator. Visual.ly, though, has created a tool which will help non-designers create their own in a few simple steps.
For a newbie to the IG creating scene, you may not have invested in the Illustrator software. In which case, you can rely on Visual.ly to provide you their services, free on the web. “We knew we were onto something big, having seen the power of data visualization work so dramatically across the Web,” said co-founder and CEO Stew Langille, reported by Mashable.com. So, how do you do it?
Well, there’s a catch. Currently, the site’s tool is due to be released in the coming months, though no specific date has been promised. However, you can visit the site now to “Twitterfy” yourself. Using a very simple tool, you log into your Twitter and Visual.ly pulls the information into a cute IG within seconds. For those of us with no Illustrator skills, this will have to suffice.
Using Adobe Illustrator CS4
Whether experienced with this software or not, you can create your very own IG. Here’s a quick tutorial.
1. Gather your data
This is the most important aspect because infographics are more useful when expressing potentially confusing or extensive data. You can find a medley of information with IBM’s research tool. Here you can put data into scribble words, maps and various graphs. This tool is helpful, as the data has already been pulled together for you.
2. Create your visualization
Once you have chosen your set of data, you will need to create your visualization. With a simple search for “Facebook” I was able to pull up an information set named, “Facebook Statuses.” I made my visualization choice, and created this:
3. Compile the graphics and data into the Infographic
Once you have assembled your graphics and researched the information, you’ll need to compile it into your IG. While I am fascinated with these images, I lack skills in Illustrator. The steps to do these are rather intricate, and you can find them in great detail from VectorTuts. This is the best step by step tutorial I have found thus far.
How to Make Your Infographic Influential
While creating your IG can be fun, you want to be sure it will effectively relay the information. There are a few key points to keep in mind when putting your data together.
- Be simple. The point of an IG is to relay complex information in an easy to understand manner.
- Don’t be afraid to use color, in fact, make sure you do. Much of the IG’s popularity lies in the eye catching pops.
- Keep your text to a minimum. Make use of your creative data presentations.
As these displays become more popular, I am sure we’ll see new IG creator sites pop up. In a world where information is in such high demand, infographics appease that desire in an attractive and simple way. So, while we wait for Visual.ly to make their tool available to the public, you’ll just have to try your hand at Adobe Illustrator. Happy creating to all!