Sometimes when you’re compiling your content for your next blog post you find that, to get your point across, you have to cover a lot of facts and figures, statistics, or tabular information, and it’s really tricky to put into words. Wouldn’t it be great if you could easily compile it all into a vibrant and easy to read chart, or even a collection of charts that are all related? Then, wouldn’t it be great if it was all in one image that you could share to other people, or even print to stick on the wall of your classroom?
Search no more, for we have your solution. Infographics!
What Are Infographics?
As the name may suggest, an Infographic is a graphic that gives you lots of info. In slightly less layman’s terms, an infographic is an image that presents facts and figures on a particular subject in an easy to read and vibrant form.
Infographics have gained popularity over the last year or so, and if you are not familiar with the concept, creating them could present a challenge, so we thought it was about time we took a look at some tools that you can make use of to put together useful infographics that you can use on your blog or even your classroom wall.
Our Favourite Infographic Tools
I’ve been huntng down some of the best tools I can find for creating infographics, and other graphics you can use on your blog. Below are my favourites from the ones I’ve found.
I’ve started here because this is my favourite of the tools I’m going to look at, but not specifically for it’s Infographic ability. Canva is a general graphic design package that allows you to create images for quite a wide range of situations, such as Facebook and Twitter profile headers, leaflets and blog graphics. For this reason, Canva is extremely versatile.
The interface at Canva.com is extremely easy to use. Virtually everything is drag and drop, and they have a wide selection of graphical elements you can use to pull together your design. When generating an Infographic, they provide a selection of graphs and charts that you can customise, continent maps, stick figure people of various kinds… basically everything you need to put together a great looking presentation.
Canva is a free service, and the majority of the infographic elements are free to use. There is however a charge for using certain photographs and some other elements on the site. Photos and “premium” elements are usually $1 each, so if you DO have to use them, it won’t necessarily break the bank… and there’s always the option of uploading your own graphics, or those that you’ve found online elsewhere… although, as always, be careful of copyright implications when using other peoples’ images.
In many respects, Piktochart is very similar to Canva. Certainly in the appearance of the interface, Canva and Piktochart would be hard to tell apart.
Piktochart focuses more on infographics and printable graphics rather than providing all the pre-templated options that Canva offers, but when generating infographics Piktochart has an equally (if not more) impressive selection of graphic elements and icons that you can make use of. They also provide a number of pre-built infographic templates that you can use, or you can start from a blank template and design it yourself from scratch.
The main difference between Canva and Piktochart is the pricing model. While Canva offers all it’s options for free, and charges only for the use of certain photos or elements, Piktochart offers the majority of it’s elements for free and charges a Pro membership for higher resolution or print quality versions of your graphic (as well as some other extra features), and their Pro option costs $29/month, which may be off-putting for some educators on a tight budget. Having said that, if you’re generating infographics for your blog site, the quality of the free version they offer is more than sufficient.
Venngage focuses a little more closely on infographics, although it is possible to produce other graphics using their interface. Compared to the likes of Canva and Piktochart, Venngage does feel a little less intuitive, and the interface is slightly more “clunky”, however it does offer a decent range of icons and elements you can use in your presentation. Some of their elements are hidden behind their “Premium” pay-wall (such as their maps), but the majority of what you would need is avaiable as part of their Free package.
Where this service does fall down is when it comes to completing and publishing your package, since they don’t allow you to simply download your image like the others we’ve mentioned so far. That is a service reserved for their Premium customers… however they do offer a discounted package for Educational organisations, meaning you can grab their Premium package for $29/month and provide premium access to up to 35 teachers and students within your school, and there’s a 14 day trial period you can use too… so that does somewhat cushion the blow.
Without their Premium package, you are free to share to social media, and publish to a hosted page that you can link to, but actually on this occasion their Premium Education package does offer some added benefits that would be worth considering, such as the ability for Teachers to monitor the graphics generated by their students.
Focusing almost solely on Infographics and charts/graphs, Infogram offers a very clever way of presenting specific graphical data. Right on their website they provide a kind of spreadsheet based editor for you to input all your data, then it automatically generates a modern looking graph or chart of your chosen design that fits nicely onto your page, or even a world map, if you are trying to show global distribution of statistics. Other maps are also available, but only to premium members.
Sadly, whilst the simplicity of generating graphs and tables is extremely handy, that seems to be where Infogram reaches its limit. Unlike Canva and Piktochart, Infogram does not offer a library of icons and graphics you can use to create your own layout or catchy design. They also have a more restrictive membership system, meaning that you can’t download or print your infographic without signing up for their subscription (from about $18/month), all they allow is sharing to social media, and even that is branded… so for educators, perhaps this may price Infogram out of the race?
If you’re looking to liven up your blog, or you’ve got a presentation you need a catchy graphic for, Infographics are probably the way to go, and there are certainly tools out there to suit whatever circumstances you may be in. The tools I’ve mentioned here are just a few of the many similar resources available online, so it pays to search around, but hopefully these ones will point you in the right direction and help you generate the Infographics you need.
If you’ve spotted another tool that you think is better than the ones mentioned here, please feel free to let us know in the comments and we’ll take a look. If you have already been using infographics in your class or on your blog, let us know, maybe add a link to your comment, and help our other educators come up with great new ways to engage their class when the subject matter might otherwise be a bunch of boring numbers.