Infographics are neat. They're in. And lately, they're everywhere. But they've never been particularly easy to create. Even if you are a designer, or have access to one, a good infographic requires both a great idea and solid design skills to produce. Or at least, it did. Now, with the emergence of a couple of DIY infographic tools, fun and informative infographics are becoming something you might be able to create yourself, in no time at all.
According to an article published on BetaKit just a few days ago, DIY infographic tools that "make anyone a designer" are now available online. Says post author , "Infographics are a way to convey complex data in a creative and simple visual format, and they’re an increasingly popular choice for displaying information online, popping up everywhere from mainstream publications to blogs. Often creating infographics involves hiring external designers or tapping into internal design talent, but a new crop of startups like Easel.ly and Infogram are trying to make anyone a designer with their DIY online tools."
When creating an infographic with Easel.ly (which is currently free, while in beta), you can pick from a series of designed templates with customizable options. You can insert visual objects and images (from a small database), change colours and add text. You can also scale the items you insert, making them bigger or smaller to suit your purpose. Bam! Instant infographic. Says Manning, "Easel.ly soon plans to add paid features that will allow users to privately create and share images with options tailored for groups like schools and companies. Easel.ly also hopes to create a marketplace within its site to incentivize designers to create themes for users."
Over at Infogram, the process is similar. To make your free infographic, you pick from a database of themes, and then enter the content you want to share in a WYSIWYG (What you see if what you get) editor that's as easy to use as MS Word. According to the BetaKit article, more than 10,000 infographics have already been created using Infogram since its launch less than two weeks ago, so clearly, it's working.
It's hard to say what the value of infographics will be, moving forward, but at the moment, they're the hottest thing around in the world of information sharing. "With some infographics gathering over 1.5 million views on platforms like Visually, and with some people now using them to propose to their girlfriends and visualize their resume," says Manning, "they’re a mainstream way to show off data or trends." Consider the data you might have to share with your community and consider trying out some of these DIY infographics tools while they're still free. Taking part in this design trend certainly can't hurt.