Five years ago, “infographic” wasn’t even a word. Now, sharable, clickable, interactive infographics are one of the cornerstones of a successful online marketing campaign, and there are dozens of ways to create them.
Whether you want to make graphics to supplement a robust blog post or if you need something concrete to attach to a marketing pitch, try one of these great tools for creating engaging infographics without an art degree.
Still the gold standard in FREE infographic services, Infogr.am offers all the features a novice could need. Not only is it great with spreadsheets and CSVs, it allows you to create a multitude of charts that can be used in business presentations. Infogr.am makes it easier than most infographic creators to download your graphic into PDF format, making it easy to email and embed on your website.
Visual.ly is a great program if you’re working with a lot of data. Maps and charts are the Visual.ly specialty, and you can even create a data-rich video, too. You can easily create a limited number of free infographics here with some standard templates, but if you’re willing to pay the nominal fee to upgrade, you’ll be impressed at all the options.
Piktochart is the kind of graphic maker you need if you’re a blogger or simply want to make something pretty, not display thousands of points of data. It’s designs are colorful and cartoonish but delightfully sharable. The service costs about $30 a month but it’s one of the largest infographic communities on the web right now.
It doesn’t have a lot of extra features, but TimelineJS is the perfect tool for creating a timeline, particularly of your business. All you have to do is upload your data in a Google spreadsheet and viola, timeline! It links up to Youtube, Flickr, Twitter and other social sites so you can share the graphic you create seamlessly.
If you have data that’s constantly changing, you need to check out this platform. Not only are InfoActive’s designs super mobile-friendly, they’re able to be embedded with live data. It’s not a free service (once the Beta period is over), but if you need professional, dynamic graphics, this simple service is the first place to look.
Not exactly an infographic tool, Present.me is one of the coolest design tools in presentations. You can record yourself talking next to slides of data, pictures, or even charts which makes for an extremely professional video when it’s all said and done. It’s something different, which is really half the battle.
The folks at IBM are experimenting with the Many Eyes software, trying to figure out the best way to display all different kinds of data. Essentially, you upload the data have in .CSV format and the program offers you several suggestions for displaying it: from maps to charts to line graphs. That way you can decide before you put in time and effort which infographic setup works best for what you had in mind.
For the Windows user who’s always left out of the app wars, Tableau Public is a fantastic free desktop application for creating infographics. There’s an active community in which to try out your graphic (from maps to charts) before it goes live and once you’re happy with the result you can imbed the image right onto your webpage with just a few clicks.
Word clouds are hit are miss – sometimes they seem to just be taking up space. But Tagxedo’s bridged the gap between visually interesting and informational and allows users to create word cloud from any document that actually look like something interesting. For example, you can create a word cloud of the text of the Gettysburg Address to look like the profile of Abraham Lincoln. How cool is that?
Creating an infographic can be time consuming but it’s well worth it if your content gets shared. All you need to get started is a little data, a lot of determination, and the perfect infographic design tool to make it all a reality.
About the author: Ryan Currie is a product manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development. In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.