Designers know that no matter how eloquent a writer you are sometimes a picture just says it better. Visual data can often translate information better and faster than textual. Today, we are wired to recall what we’ve seen faster than what we’ve read, which makes infographics a great way to deliver your message.
Infographics deliver for a variety of reasons:
- Short attention spans are long enough to take in the message from a colorful infographic.
- Infographics call attention to information easier than blocks of text.
- A cool infographic is a great way to showcase your expertise on a subject.
I know what you’re thinking. “Sure infographics are cool, but I don’t have the time or budget to be bidding for a designer.” Well, with the following apps and programs, you can become your own infographics designer.
Just remember that while these tools are great for making simple infographics for a blog or to share some research, they probably can’t support a full-scale infographics campaign – in that situation, you’ll probably want to look into getting a designer to use their talents to put something awesome and unique together.
Founded in 2011, Piktochart is an infographic service that allows users to choose from standard themes or create custom designs. With easy drag-and-drop navigation, users can build infographics in second. Then you can export materials as HTML or a static file. Check out the pro library because it includes more than 4,000 graphics and 100 themes.
Piktochart users can choose from different pricing packages. The free option makes seven themes available to users and provides access to all charts. The paid packages include a $29 monthly pro option or a $14 annual pro option.
With Creately, users can drag and drop shapes — including your own vector images — and use thousands of templates to map out your message. You can invite anyone with an email address to collaborate on your diagram in real time. Creately will also show you examples of graphics by other users. It works with your apps such as Google docs, Chrome, Jira, Confluence and FogBugz.
You can choose between Creately Online and Creately Desktop options. Check out their plan rates online.
What do you do when the data you have is more complex than a pretty little pie chart can illustrate? StatSilk is software for creating interactive maps and complex, interactive infographics. Easy click-through mapping options also allow users to animate data changes over time. Change up the visualization with one click for maps, bar charts, scatter plots and more.
StatSilk does offer a basic free version called StatPlanet, but with more complex tools the pricing options can run higher than some of the other infographic software providers.
Remember those awful timelines we had to do in elementary school? They would have been a lot cooler if we had access to Dipity, a free digital timeline website. Dipity allows users to integrate video, audio, images, text, links, social media, location and timestamps into interactive timelines. You can embed the timelines in your website or blog.
The personal version is free to use and they also offer premium options starting at $4.95 a month.
Infogr.am is a great place to start to create free interactive infographics. Choose from more than 30 different charts and jump right in. Infogr.am has a built-in spreadsheet that helps you change and update data. You can import your XLS, XLSX and CSV data files directly into Infogr.am. The site lets users download the finished file as a PNG or PDF and you can also publish it for your followers on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
Gliffy is an online diagramming app that can do super cool infographics, but it also includes capabilities for floor plans for architects, designers and party planners, site maps for web designers and play charts for your sports team. The symbol library is huge and users like the drag and drop interface. Gliffy also lets you collaborate with other users on your designs.
Casual users can create five diagrams free and there are additional paid options.
Tagxedo is a way to create visually awesome word clouds. You can turn just about any shape into pretty spectacular word art. Portraits, logos, banners, cards. They can all be customized with Tagxedo. Users can customize the font, theme, colors and shape. You can even create your own handwriting font and use it to customize your word art.
The current version is in beta and offered to users for free. The premium version will require a subscription and offer more advanced features, but a free version will still be available.
Well, there you have it. Seven easy tools that will have you producing professional-grade infographics in no time are just a click away. Happy designing.
Aaron Walker works in the design and development fields as well as blogging in his spare time.