Really powerful infographics don’t start with expensive software or a computer. They start with an idea. With a well thought out story, you could create a great infographic using just pen and paper or spices in your cabinet, photograph the results, and post them on social media. Most people still use digital tools to add polish and optimize an infographic for print and the web.
What Program Should I use to Make Infographics?
There are many different choices for people looking to get started with infographics. I recommend starting with a program you already know well, unless you want to use this opportunity to learn something new, which will take a bit longer. There are several different approaches people take:
- Use a professional design program or set of programs
- Use word processing programs (Google Presentations or MS Powerpoint for example)
- Use an online infographic or presentation tool like Piktochart or Prezi.
Many people are comfortable with Photoshop and that works fine. The most recent Photoshop CC even has artboards to make it easy to mockup the same infographic at different sizes or to create comps. There are other similar tools that also work well such as GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program). Vector-based programs include Adobe Illustrator, Sketch (Mac only), or Inkscape. People also use MS PowerPoint, Pages, Google’s Presentation or MS Word, which will do an okay job, but your results may not look as good or be as easy to print or format for different screens You also won’t get ideal compression for web, but using those with a PDF optimization tool for final output will work well.
The Minimal Supplies to Get Started
The best results happen with white boarding or sketching out concepts and mockups before turning to a computer. Here I’ve listed the minimal supplies to get started making high resolution infographics.
- Pencils, pens, or other drawing tools
- Paper (copy paper is fine), post-it notes or a whiteboard
- Internet access for research and to publish your infographic
- A design program like Adobe Illustrator, Sketch or Inkscape **
- A computer or tablet
You may also want to have a social media account or two handy to research how other people promote their infographics and to try publishing your own.
I find that starting with low fidelity tools like a white board, post-it notes, or pen and paper help keep the focus on the goals of the project. The less polished the sketch looks, the easier it is to make changes in direction, think things through and invite others to get involved and buy in to solutions early on.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to the tools needed to create infographics. What struggles do you have using tools to create infographics? Is it the learning curve or do you have trouble finding the features you want?