Can it easily be done – so that the end result presents the necessary information successfully, and conveys meaning to the audience?
This is the challenge we recently set our intern, Luisa Fulcher, working at Equinet for the past few weeks. To make the challenge even tougher, it should be mentioned that Columbian Luisa is a native Spanish speaker, working in an English-speaking, British business, with no previous experience of B2B inbound and content marketing; but happily, she possesses a natural creativity and an enthusiasm and propensity to learn. So, an easy task then!?
And this is her journey from content marketing newbie to infographic creator, in the time it takes to say “Buena suerte con todo”.
An info- what now?
The first step on Luisa’s journey was to understand what an infographic is - for clarity, you will know that infographics - as the name suggests - are graphical representations of information or data, also known as “data visualisations”. Infographics are used in many fields to portray what might otherwise be quite complex pieces of information, such as survey results, data snapshots, or knowledge, in a way that is simpler to understand, and visually attractive.
She researched numerous examples of B2B infographics, in particular, to understand how they present information through design, in a succinct, precise, attractive and easily comprehensible manner, and also, how they are increasingly used by researchers, B2B content marketers and designers to convey knowledge and message.
What free infographic tools can I use?
The next step for Luisa was to start to compare and rate the various free infographic creating tools out there, and decide on the best one for her to use.
She completed some detailed research on five different programmes which allow you to create infographics; namely, Infogr.am, Easel.ly, Visual.ly, Piktochart, and Tableau Public. Each platform offers different methods for producing visual interpretations of your data (from charts to maps to stats to images to iconography, etc.), and to varying degrees of sophistication.
Luisa investigated the various tools in turn, seeking to understand:
- their repertoire of visual and design features (backgrounds, font, colour palette, symbols, etc);
- their usability – how straightforward (or otherwise) it is for the user to steer themselves through the process of creating an infographic, from start to finish. For example, there is a useful “help” function in Piktochart, whilst in Tableau Public , they offer live online training Fridays;
- their flexibility – the ease with which you can modify “template” infographics to suit your own needs;
- their functionality and additionality (e. g. in Infogr.am, as well as the usual tools, you can include video or tree-maps, etc. in your infographics, whilst in Visual.ly you can embed a Google Analytics report, for instance).
In undertaking this research, she also came across a whole host of other useful links and websites for those wanting to create infographics; for example, Datavisualization which is a library of links to web applications and software tools for processing data, maps and charts, both free and purchased.
Putting it into practice
And then, after reporting back on her findings to us, Luisa got creative!
She chose to design her very first infographic [ever] in Piktochart, considering this to be the easiest platform to use in order to develop the type of infographic she wanted, and to present the information and detail she wanted to convey. Her subject: her native country of Colombia and the challenges it faces of embracing a sustainable approach to development, entitled “Colombia is…”
Here’s how she went about it:
- Firstly, she found a background theme she liked, which she felt could be adapted to illustrate her data, considering the number of sections she required, the type of information she wanted to represent, and the look/style she preferred
- Secondly, she designed her own map of Colombia (see below), using tools within the platform to layer and shade shapes, insert icons and define a key, to create a unique visual interpretation of the country and its socio-economic and geographic traits
Thirdly, she again utilised and manipulated the various shapes, text boxes, colours, lines and symbols offered within the programme to illustrate the challenges and solutions she proposed around Colombia’s progress towards sustainability.
- Lastly, she published her infographic here (all in her second tongue of English)
So, from novice to infographic publisher in just a short space of time – in her words, “I loved doing this piece of work, and learnt so much”. If you want to replicate the task for your business, you might also find this “how to” video useful: Piktochart in 2.5 minutes.
Luisa is now sharing some of her newly acquired skills as a volunteer trainer at a London-based charity working with Latin-American women – transferring knowledge to those who might find it useful in their future work.
¡Bravo, Luisa! ¡Mis felicidades!