MAKING INFORGRAPHICS USING CANVA
Speaker: Rey Dennis B. Caballero, ICT Manager, SU Library
Date: 16 September 2020
An infographics is a chart, diagram, or illustration that uses graphic elements to present information in a visually striking way. A chart, graph, or other image accompanied by minimal text, intended to give an easily understood overview, often of a complex subject.
The key terms that stand out for a good inforgrpahics are: Visually striking, minimal text, easily understood, enjoyable.
Building on those elements, here are 9 tips for creating a infographic by Mark Armstrong
1. Write a catchy headline. One that gets attention, makes people curious, and gives a clear idea of what the infographic is about.
2. Leave plenty of white (or negative) space. A busy infographic is off-putting, hard on the eyes. If that’s the case, people will just scroll on by.
3. Create the infographic for your target audience. You’re a brand trying to engage prospects. Create infographics geared to their needs and interests.
4. Keep text to a minimum. Using visual elements to communicate your data will give it extra impact.
Data visualization expert J. Ford Huffman: “…the text and the image must reinforce each other. Each must show or tell what the other cannot… Few readers want to read more than they have to read… My hunch is that if a graphic is text heavy, its visual isn’t doing its job well, and/or the writer didn’t know when to stop writing.”
5. Show things visually. I’ve seen infographics that are short on the “graphic” and long on the “info.” The best infographics are ones that have a good balance of visual information with written information.
This infographic uses a few icons and an image, but not a whole lot of other visual elements. To qualify for the “graphic” in infographic, it needs some more visual pizzazz.
6. Stick to a single topic. Multiple topics can make the infographic cluttered and overlong. Cardinal rule: it needs to be easy to understand.
7. The information should flow like a good story. The graphic elements should guide the reader’s eye through the story from beginning to end.
8. An infographic is like a term paper. You’re making a case by presenting facts and data. You need to vouch for that information by citing your sources. This is typically done by listing the relevant URLs below the infographic.
9. The use of Hand-lettered fonts gives it an organic feel, but most infographics use computer fonts. Use two at the most. Using a lot of different fonts creates disharmony. Make sure the smallest type (font size) will be legible.
10. You’re a brand, and you hope people will share your infographic and give you exposure. So be sure to include your logo and/or your website URL on the infographic.
11. Limit your palette, i.e., don’t use too many colors, and make sure the colors you do use are compatible with each other. You want your infographic to be visually striking, yes, but you also want it to be harmonious and that means easy on the eye.
Canva is a free tool with a huge database of free-to-use images and illustrations. The platform allows you to design and download infographics in any size and file format (PDF, PNG, JPG). Canva even offers a library of pre-built infographics ranging in presentation styles and data types.
To build your infographic, you will need to first sign up for Canva by creating a free account. You can sign up using your email or with your Google or Facebook account. Once you sign in, its time to learn how to create an infographic…
1. Choose an infographic template
Once you’re logged into the editor, choose the dimensions of your final image. You can select a custom size, or choose from one of the pre-built templates. Search for “Infographics ” on the homepage. The default size for an infographic is 800 x 2,000 px.
2. Select your design style
After you’ve chosen the right size canvas for your project, Canva rolls out a list of layout options that will serve as the base of your infographics. There are literally hundreds of designs to choose from, but the first 50 are typically the most customizable.
Canva offers both free and premium design templates, but the vast majority in this category are free to use. Each template has a variety of options based on the type of data being displayed, the visuals used, and the specific niche intended for the design.
With some browsing, you are likely to find a perfect template. No need to start from scratch.
3. Customize the background and select fonts
Now that you’ve selected a stunning template, it’s time to choose an eye-catching background. Canva provides unique infographic skins for free, and you can pick from a library of different patterns, colors, and design elements.
To change the background, click on the background icon in the left sidebar. The background options are sorted by color and include everything from solid colors and macro-photography, to quirky sketches and minimalist patterns. Choose one that aligns with your brand.
For the infographics you see here, I have selected a design from the “Education” category.
Changing color palettes is simple. Just click on the canvas, then click on the multi-colored box at the top of the design space. Use the search box that pops up to find a variety of relevant color schemes.
Canva offers 20+ different filters which you can apply to photos you find within Canva or images you upload from your personal stash. You can adjust brightness, contrast, X-Process, and saturation to get a sophisticated image that matches your website’s style.
Typography is an important part of how to create an infographic. Add or change fonts in your graphic by selecting the text icon on the left side. Drag and drop the type of text you want to the canvas, remove the demo content, and start typing.
There are thousands of fonts to choose from in Canva. Select a font that works with your branding and the content of your infographics. Use the standard text editor features to fill out the details of your infographics.
Because the typography can be so dramatically customized, using certain fonts can affect your infographic’s template. Make sure you’re paying attention to the readability of the content.
4. Add graphical elements
The ease at which Canva lets you add graphic elements is a big reason why we decided to choose Canva for our ‘how to create an infographic’ guide. Infographics are so effective because they use powerful imagery to convey key data points. Be sure you’re picking relevant images to represent your info.
Canva has categorized its graphical elements into “images”, “grids”, “charts”, “frames”, “shapes”, “illustrations”, and “icons”. Under the “elements” tab, you will find an icon for just about every niche. To give you a feeling of the variety, we have created our infographics using some of the elements available in Canva.
To select an element, double click on the type you want. You will find several styling options available for each type (“grids”, “icons”, etc.). Simply drag and drop the elements you like and resize to fit your design by dragging the corners.
If you’re looking for something specific, use the search box provided to filter the results.
CREATE YOUR OWN GRAPHIC
I used to be intimidated by vector images, but after understanding how combining other shapes can create a completely different shape, I create custom images all the time.
It’s easy to create nice-looking vector graphics from various shapes. After some practice, you’ll be able to start deconstructing vector images you see online or elsewhere.
Here’s a useful guide by Visme to help you learn how to use shapes in infographic design. With a few pre-made shapes and a bit of imagination, the list of unique graphics you can create is endless.
In the example above, notice how one of designers at Visme created a simple envelope graphic out of three shapes.
One light gray triangle (placed upside-down), one dark gray triangle (placed right side up), and one medium gray rectangle (placed at the bottom).
Use alignment in your text and graphics to add order and symmetry to your design. Alignment is a design concept used for organizing elements along the edges or the center to create a clean, uncluttered visual effect.
You use this concept all the time in word documents, where there are three to four buttons for left-justified, centered, or right-justified text.
This infographic design tip is especially useful if you’re going for a more minimalist approach to your design.
RULE OF THIRDS
If you have ever taken a photography class or a visual media course, you are probably familiar with the Rule of Thirds.
The Rule of Thirds is a visual hierarchy rule that calls for the subject of your photo, video, or design to be slightly to the left or right of a frame.
There are several reasons for this, but it all boils down to it simply being more interesting to your viewer and, in general, more aesthetically appealing by not drawing the eye immediately to your subject.
The way the Rule of Thirds can be applied to your design is imagining each vector image as an individual picture that exists in an individual frame.
This imaginary frame can be divided into a 3x3 grid and your vector image should be placed on the right or left intersections of this grid. This will generally be more applicable when your elements are closer together.
5. Download your file
When you’ve settled on the perfect design for your infographic, click the download button to bring up a list of file types.
Adjacent to that button is the sharing option. Canva allows you to share your Infographics directly to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
You can even use the embed tool to add your infographic to a guest post and boost user engagement. Sharing your content is an important step in generating brand awareness.
This was a quick guide to help you learn how to create an infographic with Canva. The tool is a super-effective way of generating highly-usable, engaging designs that increase the value of your digital content. With tools like these, producing powerful blog posts is simple and affordable.
Armstrong, M. (2019). Gist: How to Create a Good Infographic [9 Tips]. Retrieved
Caballero, A. (2020). 18 Infographic Design Tips Every Marketer Should Know. Visme.
Mcguire, A. (2020). What Netflix’s Top 50 Shows Can Teach Us About Font Psychology [Infographic].
NEILPATEL (2020). 12 Infographics tips that you wish you knew years ago.
NeoMam Studios (2020). 13 Reasons Why your Brain Craves Infographics. Retrieved from https://neomam.com/interactive/13reasons/