You say infographic, I say data visualization. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to, right? It seems that every day a new graphic representation of data shows up begging us to zoom in, scroll and otherwise engage, but how you get to the final result comes down to the using the right data and the right tool. We can’t help you with your data, but we can help you find the right tool. We compiled our list of the tools for creating infographics and data visuals. Today, we present our top five tools for creating infographics.
Infographics v. Data Visualization
First of all, infographics and data visualizations are different animals. Infographics are best for visual storytelling and can sum up bite-size amounts of data in a quick, easy, compelling way. They require less time to create, but can be effective. Data visualizations, on the other hand, are useful for showing patterns in data. It requires more from the user as far as data sifting, cleaning and analyzing, but can also tell effective stories.
Second, visual content isn’t just a snappy way to show off data, it’s visual content. As you may have noticed, visual content is popular right now, thanks to Pinterest and other visual social sharing networks. If you have the data, and the time, creating a visual representation of it may extend its lifespan across social networks.
Tools for Infographics
Visual.ly is by far the most popular tool for creating infographics. It has created a great space for sharing and exploring infographics. Users can also create their own infographics using Visual.ly, but are limited by what they can create. At present, Visual.ly lets you generate infographics that summarize your presence on Facebook and Twitter, as well as let you compare Twitter handles and analyze hashtags. You can also “Twitterize” yourself to generate an visual personification of your online presence.
Below, we created an infographic that chronicled the history of a hashtag. While the types of infographics you can create through Visual.ly are limited, the user community is engaged, featuring ideas, insights and their own creations as inspirations. Plus, Visual.ly promises more templates.
easelly is a new site, currently in beta, that lets users create and share visual ideas online. They give you the themes, icons and all the graphic elements you need to drag 'n’ drop, edit and customize an infographic. Best yet, you can see what others have created and borrow elements to create your own. If you want an infographic, but want it to show more than just activity on Facebook and Twitter, but don’t have the design skills or the time, easelly is a pretty great tool.
infogr.am lets you choose from among several templates to create an infographic. Once selected, edit and upload or manually enter your data. You can change fonts, type size, add photos, charts and quotes. When done, you can publish and share (you can even create a custom URL). Your creations are stored in a library, which you can revisit and edit as needed. You log in using your Facebook or Twitter credentials.
An example of an Infogr.am template
Looking for a little more from your infographics? For US $14.99/month, Piktochart users have access to a slew of themes from which to create beautiful infographics. There is a free version, but it limits you to 3 themes. With a vast library of themes and a community from which to glean inspiration, you can create and customize your data with drag 'n’ drop functionality and a more comprehensive suite of tools with which to enhance and customize.
An example of Piktochart's user interface for customizing a template infographic
Looking for a way to tell your own story? Re.vu helps to create a story using your resume or LinkedIn profile. You can choose from a variety of themes and customize your story as appropriate. You can provide just the basics or add in other charts and graphs representative of your skills, activities and interests. You can share your profile across social networks and embed on your website.