The Student Guide To Infographics

infographic

This lovely image is procured from Wired.com

Infographics are quickly becoming the go-to for every facet of business presentation. “What is an infographic?” You may ask. Well an infographic is a way of displaying information, data or knowledge, using visual representation. In Layman’s terms, an infographic teaches you to learn and make connections through pictures and diagrams rather than text.

From my little experience in using infographics in school, not only have I received a better response on projects and presentations, but I have also gotten other classmates more interested in actually tuning into what I’m talking about. Usually when you walk into a presentation, you know that only 30% of yours peers are listening due to several factors such as having their own presentation to worry about, or just that they are generally disinterested. So when it comes time for the Q&A period, you usually are able to field one or two generalized questions before slithering back to your seat unscathed.

University is seen to be as a prison in some respects, even though it is optional to attend, and you pay to go. Kids can hardly wait to escape at the end of their 1-3 hour lecture. I am not saying that it is the teacher’s fault for not making it interesting enough, nor am I saying it is the student’s fault for wanting to leave; it is simply human nature. However, the use of visual aids in learning not only helps engagement, it also helps retention. To put it in perspective, the most touted language learning platform in the world, Rosetta Stone, uses all forms of communication. However, in order to consistently make connections between word similarities, sounds and familiarity, they employ visuals to bridge the gap.

Anyway, on to how infographics can make your presentations, business proposals, or just about any type of aggregate data much more interesting. Below are a few samples of what I have used in school. They were made for an Advanced Organizational Behaviour class where we were tasked with interviewing another group in the class and auditing their performance, teamwork and morales on a previous project.

We had a lot of engagement from the class after our presentation, with a few individuals approaching me to even ask how to do that for their future presentations. Our prof commented by saying it was the best 3rd year presentation he has ever been apart of, which was most encouraging for the use of infographics in future presentations and projects.

I created these infographics on Photoshop, and I understand that many people will not have photoshop or related experience to employ these tactics. One big suggestion if you were to do everything manually is use the advantages that Microsoft Excel offers in their chart building. There are a number of diagrams you can use to generate information (some of the pie charts in my infographic were originally generated in Excel.

I have also attached several resources below in creating your own infographics.

1. Piktochart – www.piktochart.com | Piktochart is such a great resource for turning your datum into a visual experience. You have the option of being a casual user for FREE, but with limited options or if you are in school you can pay a small $3.33/month and gain access to over 80 themes and can upload photos and totally customize presentations.

2. Info.gram – www.infogr.am | Infogr.am is an online based tool for creating charts and simple infographs. Although it isn’t too comprehensive in the amount of info you can compile to make a more detailed infographic, the service is 100% FREE, so that’s a big plus.

3. Vectortuts+ – www.vector.tutsplus.com | For those Photoshoppers out there this tutorial by Vectortuts+ is awesome. To get the gist of how to make an infographic, look no further.

4. Easel.ly – www.easel.ly | Easel.ly is a free, and very visually appealing infographic creator. It is a little bit limiting in that it doesn’t give you a whole ton of choice for layout, however if you can find a theme that matches the direction your project is taking, this is definitely for you.

I hope this helps a little bit on your journey to differentiate yourself from the pack and if you find any great new resources please let me know; I’m always interested in the next best thing!

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