Art STEM

Peek into Infographics

From newspapers and magazines, online and offline, Infographic is the rage. They convey numbers in an attractive, easy to understand visuals for most people. There are everywhere! In this blog, I’ll offer some practical advice, tips, and resources.

First, the caveats

While Infographic can be a lot of fun to make, avoid these pitfalls and keep the following in mind:

  • I’ve seen many incorrect/bad scaling or representation (of data/numbers) in graphics, charts, even in reputable media. To avoid these, I recommend working mostly if not, completely first in Excel for accuracy of the charts. Curate the data, model and shape the data there, and then create meaningful charts BEFORE you try to make them pretty.
  • For posters and just prettiness , use PowerPoint and PDF, but only AFTER the scaling/data are confirmed by the actual Business Analyst/Program Manager/Data Scientist who collated the metrics…don’t rely on illustrators alone! It can have embarrassing/expensive consequences.
  • PowerPoint has the ability to interact with underlying data in Excel from WITHIN it, so learn how to do it, use it. It’s far more reliable than handing off an Excel chart to someone else who doesn’t have a view or understanding of the underlying data and letting them make an attractive poster.
  • I have demonstrated  (not via tutorial) in my previous blogs, that you can animate Excel charts leveraging Animation module in PowerPoint and as I said before, they interact with each other in the Microsoft Office suite. And don’t forget sharing/ collaborating in the Cloud. PowerBI and Excel can work hand-in-hand.

Materials You Need

You’ll need a decent sense of aesthetics, and then some tools + resources to display your talent. I’ve noticed that the most commons font used is Lato, and even Poppins, with various other slight variations.

You can download these two fonts from below for free (then install them on your main device):

That’s just for the info (text), but you’ll need graphics! Info + Graphics, afterall.

There’s a great new feature in Microsoft Office as of recent, where you can download curated icons (in compliance with their app and disability guidelines) for free from within the Office suite (Insert menu). But you’re not limited to that, you can download SVG and/or PNG files from the popular Noun Project site as well and integrate those into your output.  There are 2M+ resources supported by a global community (royalty-free/Creative Commons).

Need Basic Help?

  • For some basic animations and infographics tutorials, you can contact these folks directly: sandbox@senecacollege.ca
  • A quick primer on infographics and PowerPoint can be found here (there are many, many more, I just picked one randomly to share)

The Tools

Yes, you can do Infographics of any size in PowerPoint…which is especially important for printed outputs. You don’t need any other tool really, although there are alternatives.

If you need a service (i.e. to pay someone to do a presentation/Infographic for your organization), there are various services that will charge you at the rate of about $35+/hour.

I personally don’t use them as I create them myself in my own time from start to finish 🙂

Freebies!

In addition to the above links I shared (which are virtually free), you can also find some
“free” downloadable templates (for PowerPoint, or Apple KeyNote, or Google Docs, etc.) online by searching the WWW. One of the examples I downloaded (yes, you have to share your email address) is a set of slides for PowerPoint from here. Nothing too fancy, no animations, but the commonly used themes are there for you to customize…

Next Steps

Now that you have the primer, all the tools to get started for free, next is to practice with real data, charts, in Excel and <-> PowerPoint. Then play with the animations features in PowerPoint creatively. Finally, save as a PDF (for non-animated versions) or upload to the web (for animated versions) and have fun! Feel free to contact me with questions or additional resources, I don’t do this full-time but I do have practice and willing to help for the right cause.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top