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Randy Krum infographic designerRandy Krum

President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization, Infographic Design, Visual Thinking, Product Development and Marketing professional fascinated by good infographics.  Always looking for better ways to get the point across.

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Entries in charts (137)

Friday
Oct102014

5 Great Online Tools for Creating Infographics

Professional infographic designers rely primarily on a core vector graphics software program to create their infographics designs. The main advantage is that all the icons, charts, images, illustrations, and data visualizations are treated as separate objects that can be easily moved, resized, overlapped, and rotated. No matter where you create the individual design elements, the final infographic design is usually put together in a vector graphics program.

Creating infographics using online tools has never been easier. In the last few years a number of online tools have emerged that allow anyone to create great visual content.  Whether you are working on a project for work, personal use, or social media, each new project starts with a template. With the dimensions laid out for you, you can focus your attention on quickly creating effective designs. Search, drag, and publish - it can be that simple.

These new tools are vector graphics applications that run in your browser as a replacement for using an expensive professional desktop application like Adobe Illustrator to put your infographic design together.  Each one offers different tools, image libraries, charts, fonts and templates as a starting point.  None of these have the full capabilities of a professional desktop application, but you probably don’t need that much power to create a simple infographic.

In this article, we take a quick look at 5 of the best online tools for creating infographics: Visme, Canva, Easel.ly, Piktochart, and Infogr.am. All of these tools are evolving quickly, and this is just a snapshot of their current capabilities.

 

Visme screenshot

1) Visme (visme.co)

Visme allows you to create interactive presentations, infographics and other engaging content. With tons of templates, and huge library of free shapes & icons to choose from, Visme has you creating awesome visual content right away.

The templates are set up simply and beautifully. If you wanted, you could just edit the placeholder text, insert your own, and publish your infographic.

One of the greatest aspects of this service is changing percentages within the charts. All you have to do is click on the graphic you would like to change, enter a new number, and the chart changes to reflect the new information automatically. Saving you hours of frustration trying to do it on your own.

Pros:

  • Creates infographics, presentation, animations, ad banners, and custom layouts.

  • Insert and edit chart objects directly by changing the data values.

  • Large library of icons and images.

  • Embed YouTube videos directly into designs.

  • Special pricing for students & teachers.

Cons:

  • The basic free version is limited.

    • Only 3 projects.

    • Must include the Visme logo.

    • Limited access to charts and infograph widgets.

  • JPG download is still in Beta, with a few bugs.

Price: Basic version is free with pricing plans available

 

Canva screenshot

2) Canva (canva.com)

Canva just celebrated their 1-year anniversary last month, and has made a big splash in the online design space.  Your experience kicks off with a great “23 Second Guide to Beautiful Design,” where they walk you through a brief introduction to their design program.

After finishing the brief tutorial, you can start a new design. Canva is filled with options, whether you are working on a project for work, personal, or social media. Each new project comes with a template for the project you choose to work on. With the dimensions done for you, you can focus your attention on creating beautiful designs in seconds.

Pros

  • Excellent (and short) intro tutorial to get you started, and many more on advanced concepts.

  • Templates for social media, blogs, presentations, posters, business cards, invitations, and more.

  • Easy and intuitive to use.

  • Large library of images to choose from.

Cons

  • No editable chart objects. You need to import your own data visualizations as images.

  • Have to pay for different image assets individually, instead of a monthly subscription.

Price: Free, but you have to pay for Pro quality design assets individually

 

Easelly screenshot

3) Easel.ly (www.easel.ly)

Easel.ly is a great program, but lacks some of the guidance, and features, that come standard in other programs.

Easel.ly lacks a “How-To” introduction section to their program, and just kind of throws you into the design process right away. Their focus seems to be primarily based on infographic design. Whereas other programs offer a plethora of design project options.

If you’re just looking to design an infographic, this program will work well. If you want more variety, you’ll have to utilize one of the other programs in this list.

Pros:

  • Free.

  • Very basic design layouts and assets.

  • New charts feature allows some basic editable charts in your design.

  • Easy downloads for JPG and PDF versions.

Cons:

  • Not a very large selection of themes, called “Vhemes”.

  • Small library of image assets. You’ll want to upload your own images and icons.

Price: Free

 

Piktochart screenshot

4) Piktochart (piktochart.com)

Piktochart is one of the best looking programs on this list. All the information you need to get started is provided in their tour.

Their program is easy to use, and offers tons of freedom in building and editing your infographic using their simple graphic tools. They have categorized icons, resizable canvas, design-driven charts, and interactive maps to utilize.  

Their intuitive user interface is where Piktochart truly excels. All the tools you need to create are laid out intelligently, making your new job as a “designer” so much easier.

One of the coolest aspects of this program is that they show how versatile infographics are for different projects. Whether you’re creating for a classroom, office, website, or social media setting - Piktochart gives you the heads up on how to use infographics effectively.

Pros:

  • Themes and templates are of high design quality.

  • Intuitive. Allows you to edit anything and everything with ease.

  • Create infographics, reports, banners and presentations.

  • Embed videos from Youtube and Vimeo in your design.

Cons:

  • Limited selection of free templates. Higher quality templates are available with a Pro account.

  • $29 per month is a high subscription price compared to the others.

Price: Start for free with pricing packages available

 

Infogram screenshot

5) Infogr.am (infogr.am)

Infogr.am has got the best charts. For illustrating data, there are more than 30 different types of charts to choose from. Anything from bubble charts and tree maps to simple pie charts.

Editing data can be easily done in Infogr.am’s built-in spreadsheet, or you can import your own XLS, XLXS and CSV files.  Once your infographic has been edited and beautifully designed, you can save it to your computer as a PNG or PDF file with a paid subscription.

Pros:

  • Ability to create and edit great charts by changing data

  • Built-in Spreadsheet. Can also import your XLS, XLXS and CSV files

  • Widest variety of available chart types

  • Educational and Non-profit pricing plans available

  • Embed videos from Youtube and Vimeo in your design.

Cons:

  • Only creates infographics and charts

  • Small selection of infographic templates

  • No image library, you must upload your own image assets

  • Download options require paid subscription

  • The White Label subscription service is the most expensive options of the group

Price: Basic version is free with pricing plans available

 

Which design sites have you tried? Which tools are your favorites? Post in the comments.

Friday
Oct032014

The Graphic Continuum

The Graphic Continuum data visualization poster

The Graphics Continuum is a new poster of data visualization styles and methods from Job Schwabish and Severino Ribecca. Available as a printed poster for $25 on Mimeo.

The Graphics Continuum shows several ways that data can be illustrated individually or combined to show relationships. Use of various shapes, chart types, and colors can help identify patterns, tell stories, and reveal relationships between sets and types of data. Bar charts, or histograms, for examples, can illustrate a distribution of data over time, but they also can show categorical or geographic differences. Scatterplots can illustrate data from a single instance or for a period, but they also can be used to identify a distribution around a mean.

This set of charts does not constitute an exhaustive list, nor do the connections represent every possible pathway for linking data and ideas. Instead, the Graphic Continuum identifies some presentation methods, and it illustrates some of the connections that can bind different representations together. The six groups do not define all possibilities: Many other useful overlapping data types and visualization techniques are possible.

This chart can guide graphic choices, but your imagination can lead the way to other effective ways to present data.

The Graphic Continuum data visualization poster closeup 1

I’ve seen a few other attempts to gather and categorize data visualization techniques, and I really like this poster. One of the biggest challenges for people is to break out of the Big Three chart styles: bar charts, line charts, and pie charts. It doesn’t matter if they’re designing an infographic or a PowerPoint presentation, I am often asked to help clients find new ways to visualize their data.

The Graphic Continuum data visualization poster closeup 3

Jon Schwabish has posted a great article on Visual.ly about the development process and includes images of some other arrangements they attempted during the design process.

 

Tuesday
Mar182014

The Power of ACC Basketball

The Basketball Staff at CBS Sports has put together a handful of really good data visualizations showing the 29-year history of the NCAA Tournament since the field expanded to 64 teams.  The chart above shows Most Wins won in the Tournament by conference, color-coded by round.  These aren’t complicated designs, but the story they tell is very powerful.

Go N.C. State Wolfpack!  Fantastic win over Xavier tonight!  The Big East looks pretty strong too, but there’s nothing like ACC Basketball.  These data visualizations tell that story much better than text and numbers.  In Texas (Big 12), they just don’t seem to understand the importance of basketball.  Football is what you play in the off-season!  They have it reversed here in Texas, where football is much more important.

Here is that same data shown as a color-coded table that spells out the Most Tournament Wins by Year by year.  This looks like it could have been designed with Conditional Formatting in Microsoft Excel, but it’s done very well.  The simple color-coding adds context and makes the entire table easier to understand.

As an infographics design, the PNG image file itself should include a little more information, in case it gets shared online without the rest of the article (like this blog post).  It should list CBS Sports as the publisher/designer and the URL back to the original article.  I also would have used the conference logos along the y-axis instead of text.

Here’s their chart of overall NCAA Championship Wins over that same 29 year period.

 

 

Friday
Jan242014

Famous Movie Quotes as Charts - the Poster

Famous Movie Quotes as Charts infographic poster

Dr. Nathan Yau, PhD from FlowingData.com has charted the 100 most memorable quotes from American movies, as selected by the American Film Institute, into a data visualization series called Famous Movie Quotes as Charts.  He had designed the first handful of them a few years ago, but only recently got back into the project and completed all 100.  

These have now been compiled into a beautiful 24”x36” poster available for a limited time before the one-and-ONLY print run for $19.00.  Pre-order your copy this week here!

This 24” by 36” poster is printed on 80lb cover with a matte finish, each signed and hand-numbered.

There’s only going to be one printing, so take advantage of the special pre-order price while it lasts.

Shipping February 2014.

Each chart is a clear visualization of the movie quote, and easy for the audience to understand.  They are beautiful in their simplicity and can be very funny in their interpretation.

Famous Movie Quotes as Charts Jaws Chart

Here’s a link to the big version for all of the detail.

Friday
Sep062013

Visualizing the Microsoft-Nokia Deal

Visualizing the Microsoft-Nokia Deal

Good data visualization uses visuals to put data into context for the readers, making the information easier to understand.  This simple infographic takes a couple charts previously published by Nielsen, and uses them to provide context to the news story of Microsoft acquiring Nokia’s handset devices unit for $7.2 Billion.

Combining data visualization with text and images should make the information easier and faster to understand, and this design does a great job.

Designer unknown.  Thanks to Mike Elgan for posting on Google+ and Luke Millar (@ltm) for posting on Twitter.

Wednesday
Aug072013

Don't Design by Committee!

Design by Committee chart

Rule #5: Avoid branding by committee or focus group.  This is true for most design projects.  It doesn’t matter if the project is a logo, and advertisement, a product or an infographic.  The number of people may be off though.  I find a small number of people can create a fantastic design, but it goes downhill quickly beyond that.

From 7 steps to create a killer brand, by Jim Price, posted on StockLogos.com

It’s good to be inclusive and seek opinions and ideas. But if you form a committee and put everything to a vote, you’re likely to end up with a least-common-denominator brand that’s bland, uninspired, and may look more like a hybrid camel-elephant than the thoroughbred you’d hoped for.

Found on the Brands of the World Facebook feed.

Friday
Aug022013

The 2012 Feltron Annual Report

The 2012 Feltron Annual Report

The 2012 Feltron Annual Report is a report by information designer Nicholas Felton whose numbers were gathered with a custom-built iPhone app called Reporter. At random intervals each day the app sent reminders to complete a survey. The results of these questions were saved alongside background measurements to form the basis of this document. You can see the examples of the report at Feltron.com and buy it at the shop.

An extensive write up can be found on Fast Co Design:

Today, you probably know Nicholas Felton best for his most widely seen work, Facebook’s Timeline. But since 2005, he’s been working on a cult-favorite project all his own, the annual Feltron Report. The 2012 version is out now for $28.

As always, the report is a meticulously documented year in review of everything he’s done, presented in a series of rich infographics that push the boundaries on personal data quantification. With a glance, you’ll learn some of Felton’s most intimate details. Each day, he consumes coffee around 10:40am and booze around 8:38pm. He spends about 4x as much time with his girlfriend as his mother. And on June 20, he shot a Glock 22.

 

 

Found at http://feltron.com

Tuesday
Jul092013

Methods to Sell My House in the UK

Methods to Sell My House in the UK is an infographic from YouSellQuick.co.uk that looks at the different ways to sell a house and the financial implications.

When looking to sell your home you may not realise that there are a variety of different options available. Not all are as favourable as others and there are different pros and cons for each. Such as how long will it take to sell my home and what amount of cash can I receive. Should I sell my house at an auction or would it be better to use an on-line property buyer?

I like the diagrams that explain the different processes, but the pie charts have really been used poorly in this design.  I think I nderstand what they were trying to explain, but it won’t be obvious to most readers.  Many readers will think they got the pie chart data wrong because the percentages shown don’t add up to 100%.

Thanks to Mark for sending in the link!

 

Monday
Jul082013

How Startup Funding Works

How Startup Funding Works infographic

How Startup Funding Works from Funders and Founders co-founder Anna Vital does a great job of visualizing the split of equity at different stages of a company’s life.

A hypothetical startup will get about $15,000 from family and friends, about $200,000 from an angel investor three months later, and about $2 Million from a VC another six months later. If all goes well. See how funding works in this infographic:

Is dilution bad? No, because your pie is getting bigger with each investment. But, yes, dilution is bad, because you are losing control of your company. So what should you do? Take investment only when it is necessary. Only take money from people you respect. (There are other ways, like buying shares back from employees or the public, but that is further down the road.)

This is a great design that uses pie charts correctly and effectively!  This is in contrast to the many designs that use pie charts inappropriately.  This is a great example of a visual explanation that uses a combination of data visualization, illustration and text to tell a clear story.

The color coding is also effective, but for some reason they didn’t color the co-founder icon character green to match his portion of the pies.  The URL link to the original infographic landing page is also missing in the footer, so it makes it hard for readers to find the full-size original version when they see it posted on other sites.  People aren’t always good about creating links back to the original, so the URL should be included in the infographic image file itself.

Thursday
Jun062013

Most Reliable Cars

Most Reliable Cars infographic

Are you looking for a new car? The Most Reliable Cars infographic from MoneySupermarket rates how reliable the manufacturers are as well as specific car models. The lower the score, the more reliable the car is. If your current car isn’t on the list. Maybe it is time to get a new one.

It is never a pleasant experience to find yourself stranded next to a broken down vehicle at the side of the road, particularly during the winter. Breakdown cover can help to reduce the pain somewhat, but it is still worth making sure that you pick the most reliable car available.

MoneySupermarket.com has therefore teamed up with Warranty Direct to put together the following lists which highlight the most reliable cars on the road. This is decided upon by taking into account overall reliability and the average cost of repairs for these manufacturers and models – coming up with an overall Reliability Index (RI) score. Just for reference- the average RI is 100, and the lower the score the better.

We’ve broken this down by both car make and by individual vehicle models to come up with a definitive list which could prove invaluable to you during the car buying process.

This is a really good use of bar charts.  The company logos or car photos and the relevant data is built directly into the chart so there is no need for a chart legend.  Very easy to read and understand.

Thanks to Mark for sending in the link!