10 great resources for infographics and visuals

Minard infographic 1869Don’t you love a good infographic? According to Wikipedia, infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. My favorite part is in that last prepositional phrase: to present complex information quickly and clearly. Yeah!

Infographics aren’t new; they have been around at least since the days of lithography. The famous infographic at top left is Charles Minard’s 1869 chart showing the number of men in Napoleon’s 1812 Russian campaign army, their movements, as well as the temperature they encountered on the return path.

An infographic can be created in almost any software that offers good support for visuals: Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, PowerPoint, even Word. Infographics can be poster-sized or notebook-sized. It’s all up to the designer.

Infographics sure are great. But here’s the rub. Not all of us are visual designers–I count myself among the aesthetically challenged.What to do?

Fortunately, there are some great resources for designing infographics and images. Best of all, you might discover that someone else has created the perfect infographic, and with proper attribution, you can borrow it for your own purposes.

In no particular order of favoritism, here are 10 of my go-to sites:

10. Cool Infographics: Randy Krum’s blog highlights some of the best examples of data visualizations and infographics found in magazines, newspapers and on the Internet. This site can inspire you to greater heights in your own visuals.

9. Daily Infographic: According to the founders, “We spend countless hours searching the web for the most interesting, stimulating, mind-blowing infographics. We then curate our findings and choose one infographic to publish every week-day.” It’s true! Much like Cool Infographics, you can gather inspiration or find the perfect infographic for your presentation. Bonus: subscribe to receive a daily infographic in your inbox or feed reader.

8. Infogr.am: Not to be confused with Instagram, this site allows you to build infographics and charts from templates. Like most free sites, your options are pretty basic. If you upgrade to pro, you get a few extra perks. But for a quick infographic for school or a business presentation, this site will do the trick.

7. MorgueFile: When you need some free high-resolution stock photographs for your infographic, MorgueFile might be just the ticket. Don’t let the name scare you: in newspaper terminology, a morgue file is a place to keep post production materials for use of reference, an inactive job file. This is one morgue you’ll enjoy visiting!

6. IconsPedia: This site is great for when you need some stick figures, social media icons, or other themed icons for your infographic.

5. Piktochart: A drag-and-drop infographic editor, with several good-looking free templates. One caution: that nice functionality means that the site uses lots of Flash. The paid versions might be worth checking out if you plan to create infographics for your company or school on a regular basis.

4. Wylio: Wylio functions much like a Google image search (it’s not, but you can use your Google login to get up and running quickly). The free version of Wylio allows you to download 5 free images a month. Wylio is a “bootstrapping startup”, so you never know what you’ll find.

3. Mashable Infographics: Need to convince your company to launch a social media campaign? Mashable’s infographics cover every aspect of technology and social media. You’re sure to find something interesting here.

2. CompFight: CompFight searches Flickr Creative Commons images and produces some great hi-res images. You can filter by license, and best of all, they provide the HTML that will allow you to credit your source.

1. Visual.ly: Lots of cool infographics to pin, embed, or favorite. Visual.ly also bills itself as the marketplace for infographic designers and customers; you can find each other here.

Bonus: Easel.ly, another do-it-yourself infographic builder, is one I just discovered. It allows you to apply a theme (timeline, maps, etc.) and add objects. Seems like a really user-friendly site!

There you go! Get working on your awesome infographic. And add your favorites in the comments!




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