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March 16, 2018 (Updated: March 23, 2020)
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Whoever coined the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” understood how humans process information. Images, graphics, and colors naturally attract our interest, while massive texts with raw data crunched in rows and columns make our eyes roll. We prefer eye candy to condensed text, and graphics of any kind are 100 times more likely to be read by viewers. This adds up to a major traffic boost for your website and social media pages.
The Information Age is also the age of short attention spans. We consume five times more information than we did 30 years ago, which means we need more than a pie chart to grab and keep our attention nowadays. Infographics are the best way to graphically present lists, ideas, and concepts and engage the reader’s interest instantly. Infographics are like bullet points for your optic nerve.
Infographic by Craig Robinson
If you are a DIY type, you’ll be happy to know that there are many programs available online to make your own infographics. Deciding which is the best program to make infographics depends on your content needs and budget. Most infographic programs offer free and various levels of paid subscriptions depending on the complexity of the templates and options, the number of collaborators, and the number of projects saved.
Try using the free versions of several programs to get your feet wet, find the one with the depth you need, and dive right in. Some programs are a great fit for users with some design software experience, while others invite the absolute beginner into an easy-to-use interface. The following programs and apps each offer great ways to take your data and concepts and turn them into a visual feast for your eyes.
Vizualize.me allows users to create an infographic from their resumes, which is very handy for grabbing attention on LinkedIn or other social media profiles. Vizualize.me believes that the traditional text resume is long overdue for a makeover. Why not take your education and job experience list and transform it into a timeline full of vibrant color? You can also add skills bubble charts, language maps, and pictograms.
Sign up for a free account, and you are greeted with the words “a new user approaches.” You are then prompted to “pimp up your resume” using the available tools. More snappy dialogue includes “get ye some data.” In order to do anything, you must fill out your profile information. The remaining data fields and tools will activate upon saving your profile. You are then free to choose and edit your template style and add data from your resume. You can speed up the process by importing your resume from LinkedIn.
Vizualize.me is one of the only programs designed solely for resume infographics. More complex ideas and concepts require a different type of program.
Venngage.com offers great advice on how to get started with your infographic, how to decide which type of infographic best conveys your concepts and ideas, and how to design and create the infographic. Choose which approach best illustrates your ideas. Do you need a data-driven approach or a problem/question approach? Once you’ve decided on the approach, decide which type of infographic best represents your data. There are 10 basic types of infographics, including process, timeline, chronological, compare/contrast, and more.
Register for a free account at Venngage and choose from hundreds of free templates and tools to make your infographic. More complex templates require a subscription, such as Premium for $19 per month and Business for $49 per month. Venngage also has free plans for students and lower prices for nonprofit groups.
Infogram.com provides a robust online tool for creating any type of infographic you desire, as well as reports, social media posts, charts, maps, and more. Register for a free account and immediately access the core tools needed to design your infographic. There are three basic templates in the free version and hundreds more in the premium version. Infogram features an easy-to-use interface for adding graphics, text, charts, and more. Editing templates is as easy as double-clicking on a page element and customizing it any way you choose.
Downloading your project requires a premium membership. You may distribute your infographic in the free version with a public link. Premium Infogram memberships start at $19 per month. The Business subscription is $67 per month, and the Team subscription is $149 per month.
Sign up for a free account at piktochart.com and immediately dive into the design world. Piktochart is a full-featured program for making infographics, presentations, reports, flyers, and posters. Choose from hundreds of professional templates in the premium version, or just dabble in design with the free templates. The free templates offer six categories of infographics: crowdfunding, customer journey, CV, event promo, minimalist, and survey results.
One of the handy features of Piktochart is the ability to change the design scheme colors with one click. Instantly transform all elements of your infographic template to match your brand or campaign. Rather than changing the colors of the background, fonts, graphics, and titles one at a time, Piktochart provides a quick way to try out various color schemes to match your needs.
Premium versions include Lite at $12.50 per month, Pro for $24.16 per month, and Pro Team for $99 for five users. The Lite version includes 600 professional templates and 100 MB of image uploads.
Easelly offers a free subscription and a low-priced subscription for $3 per month. As with other infographics programs, you get many more features with the premium version, but Easelly gives you a decent selection of free templates to start out with. One of the free templates available, the food infographic, starts you off with fonts with quaint names matching the theme, like “lobster” and “delicious.” You can easily change each font, color, or element of your infographic with a single click on a toolbar with drop-down menus. Double click to change the text and data in the infographic.
Easelly offers a large number of free templates to use, modify, and share publicly. The templates are easy to customize using your own data. Double-click on any section of a template to change its contents, colors, and objects. Double-click on a block of text to replace the placeholder text. Double-click an object, image, or graphic to delete or replace it. Click the objects button in the toolbar for a list of icons Your selection will appear in the toolbar. Drag and drop one into the template, resize it, and move it around.
Visit canva.com for the widest assortment of free templates, elements, and tools to make your graphic data dreams come true. After registering for a free account, you can immediately begin designing your infographic. The free templates, photos, icons, and images are clearly marked, but if you find an image in the premium library that you simply cannot live without, the price is only $1 to use it. For nearly unlimited templates, graphics, and storage options, upgrade to a premium account with a free 30-day trial.
The best part about Canva lies in the amazing array of project types from which to choose. In addition to infographics, you can create marketing materials, e-books, posters, flyers, logos, and much more. You can even design your own headers, banners, and ads for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels — finally, an end to that maddening feeling of having your prized photo chopped up and spit out by Facebook. The Canva project templates are ideally sized for every major social media channel.
The Canva user interface should feel very familiar to those with some experience in design software. Choose from a vast library of templates by clicking “layouts.” Once you add elements to the template you have chosen, it helps to have an understanding of working with layers. You don’t have to be an expert to use Canva, and you can always grab a tutorial lifeline if you wade in too deep.
According to visme.co, people remember 80 percent of what they see and only 20 percent of what they read. That is a very compelling reason to drag your data out of obscurity and drop it into Visme’s infographic limelight. Free accounts provide several categories of graphic design possibilities, including infographics, presentations, reports and e-books, printables, and more. Visme gives you more than just the tools to create. You can also grab a free downloadable e-book on how to create the best infographics possible.
The Visme infographic e-book is packed with valuable information on not only how to create a visually compelling infographic but also how to choose the best possible data to make it all flow together. The e-book cautions users that creating an effective infographic is not about just dumping data into a graphics program. There’s already a dearth of bad infographics clogging up the web that highlight the clear and present danger of what can go wrong during the process.
If your idea is shaky or your data is not solid and reliable, no amount of color and style will save you. Do your research, or take a minute to read about some witty and funkadelic facts about infographics gone horribly wrong.
Adioma.com takes the dragging and dropping completely out of the equation with their adaptive AI infographic designer. The adaptive infographic templates build themselves out of the data you enter. Paste a little or large amount of data into the text field, and Adioma builds an infographic to graphically represent it. Adioma also generates icons out of keywords in your data. Further customize your infographic by adding your own content as needed, or change color schemes with one click.
Features this advanced come at a price, though. There is no free version of the software, but Adioma offers a 7-day, money-back guarantee. Plans include Pro for $29 per month, Expert for $52 per month, and Business for $224 per month.
If you need a versatile graphics program with thousands of templates, maps, charts, and objects, check out Creately. Creately.com offers several ways to realize your data dreams. In addition to the online version, you can purchase a desktop version for offline designing. What separates Creately from the rest is the ability to add collaborators to any project. Organize your data, plan your design using templates, or build your infographic from scratch using a vast array of objects. Share your infographic with collaborators, make notes, and leave comments.
You can try Creately online in demo mode without registering, then choose to register for the free version or pay $49 per year for the Personal subscription. Team plans cost $249 per year for up to five collaborators or $7500 per year for 500 users. Buy the desktop software for personal use for $75 and collaborate online. Desktop for teams starts at $40 per user. Creately also offers plugins for Confluence and Jira.
The Digital Age has certainly opened many technical doors and leveled the creative playing field for many people. Just as digital cameras have placed professional image-making tools in everyone’s hands, infographics programs give you the freedom to gather your own ideas, data, and charts, and transform them into eye-catching presentations. Of course, there will always be a demand for seasoned professionals to step in for the heavier projects, but it’s nice to know you can try your hand at creating an infographic yourself.
With the wealth of programs available for little or no money, it has never been easier to turn boring facts into engaging experiences. Whether you are a virtual entrepreneur looking for a snappy way to boost your site traffic or an individual in need of a pimped-up resume to stand out in the crowd, there are plenty of options for you. Most infographics programs offer the helping hand of a graphics design team for serious big business projects. If you decide to give it a go on your own, the best programs for making infographics are just a click away.
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