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Infographics: Thinking about design Infographics sessions Day 4.

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Infographics: Thinking about design Infographics sessions Day 4
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Infographics:Thinking about designInfographics sessionsDay 4

Infographics:Thinking about designMorningCommitting to the right aestheticColour schemePicking the right fontsKeeping everything from looking crampedContact and license info

Welcome back to our ongoing series of talks on telling your story with infographics. Today, in our fourth session, were going to look at how you can use basic graphic design to make your information clear and polished looking.IntroductionDay 4I strive for two things in design: simplicity and clarity. Great design is born of those two things.Lindon LeaderTodays Schedule0Facilitator Text PageKey Facilitation PointsBiography PageInstruction This page is just for the participant guide. The facilitator should just quickly introduce themselves for anyone who wasnt at previous session and then get started.NotesFacilitator NotesDOTiming1Participant GuideBiography PageBackground

Bianca Woods is an instructional technologist at BMO Financial Group, where she consults on course content and media, test drives new learning technology, and passionately argues for the abolishment of Comic Sans. With degrees in both art education and education media design & technology, she has a substantial amount of interest in demystifying design and technology for others.

When shes not creating learning you can often find Bianca obsessing about new tech, live tweeting industry events, and searching for the perfect cupcake. If these things sound interesting to you, you should probably follow her Twitter feed @eGeeking.Biography:

Bianca WoodsInstructional TechnologistBMO Financial GroupInsert PhotoNotes2Notes

Facilitator Text PageKey Facilitation PointsGraphic design does more than make things pretty. It adds clarity and polish to an infographic.This session will give quick tips on graphic design for infographics.Instruction So we have two versions of the same infographic on the screen here. Both have the same information on them, but would you say both are equally good at communication their information?(have the class discuss which one works better)

Creating a good infographic requires more than just showing basic content; it also includes using graphic design smartly. Basic graphic design is at the core of every compelling infographic and it does a lot more than just make the project look pretty. It also makes the information easy to view and helps everything look like it belongs together.

If youve already got a graphic design background, youve probably got this down pat. If youve got little to no experience with graphic design, though, here are a few good tips that can make your work look substantially more pulled together. NotesFacilitator NotesASK5 minutes3SAY

vsThinking about designWhat should it look like?Technically both of these infographics are trying to show the same information, but one of them is doing a substantially better job of making that content interesting than the other is.

Thats because creating a good infographic requires more than just showing basic content; it also includes using graphic design smartly. Basic graphic design is at the core of every compelling infographic and it does a lot more than just make the project look pretty. It also makes the information easy to view and helps everything look like it belongs together. NotesNotes4Facilitator Text PageKey Facilitation PointsStart by choosing an appropriate aesthetic for your project and stick to it throughout the entire infographic.Aesthetic choices can either reinforce your message or distract from it, so its important to make sure the look and feel of your infographic matches the topic.Instruction Start by committing to a clear overall aesthetic that matches the subject of your project well. Aesthetic sounds like a terrifying design term, but in its heart it simply means the look and feel of the project. This is honestly just the same kind of design choices you may have made in the past on projects like eLearning, handouts, or slide decks. Much like those projects, the particular aesthetic you choose has the ability to emphasise your core story or derail it.

Because infographics are such a visual medium, getting the look and feel right is particularly important. That means you cant just go with your whims when making design choices. Take a good look at the examples on the screen. Now, theyre obviously comically bad mismatches, but the point they make it still valid: a mismatch is incredibly distracting. When youre making these design choices, continually ask yourself if the choice youre making matches your topic. Its also good to make sure it matches the needs of your intended audience too.

Also, once youve decided on a particular aesthetic, make sure to stick with it consistently throughout the infographic.NotesFacilitator NotesSAY2 minutes5

Thinking about designCommitting to the right aestheticStart by committing to a clear overall aesthetic that matches the subject of your project well.

Because infographics are such a visual medium, getting the look and feel right is particularly important. When youre making these design choices, continually ask yourself if the choice youre making matches your topic. Its also good to make sure it matches the needs of your intended audience too.

Also, once youve decided on a particular aesthetic, make sure to stick with it consistently throughout the infographic.

Notes6Facilitator Text PageKey Facilitation PointsA colour scheme is a small selection of colours that you use consistently throughout your project.Choose a colour scheme that matches your overall project aesthetic.Use contrast in your colour scheme to ensure readability.Instruction A core part of your aesthetic is going to be choosing your colour scheme, or colour palette.

Using a bunch of different colours haphazardly ends up looking messy and unprofessional. It also can interfere with your overall aesthetic. Thats why its important to choose a set colour scheme for your infographic. This will be small selection of specific colours that you use consistently throughout your entire document.

Select a few colours that look good together, all of which match your overall aesthetic, and youre set. For those of you less comfortable putting together colour schemes on your own, dont worry: Im going to include some resources on this topic on the session resource site.

Now, when youre choosing which colours to use where, keep in mind the idea of contrast. Putting, say, medium green text and graphics on a slightly lighter green background isnt going to be easy to read. Stronger colour contrast is incredibly useful for readability.NotesFacilitator NotesSAY2 minutes7

Main ColoursMain ColoursMain ColoursMain ColoursThinking about designColour schemeA core part of your aesthetic is going to be choosing your colour scheme, or colour palette. This will be small selection of specific colours that you use consistently throughout your entire document. Select a few colours that look good together, all of which match your overall aesthetic, and youre set.

Its also important to think about contrast. For example, medium green text and graphics on a slightly lighter green background isnt easy to read. Stronger colour contrast is incredibly useful for readability.

Notes8Facilitator Text PageKey Facilitation PointsFonts have their own aesthetic, so chose fonts for your infographic that match your overall look and feel.Choosing only one or two fonts to use keep your project from looking messy.Make sure your text is always at a readable size.Instruction Another look and feel decision youll need to make is the fonts (or typefaces) that you choose to use in your infographic. Fonts each have their own visual aesthetic, so its important to choose ones that match the look and feel of your infographic. While an in depth study of typography can help you understand the subtle detail of the style of each font, even an untrained eye is pretty good at picking out the gist of how a font makes you feel and what it reminds you of. Use your gut feeling about a font to decide if it fits your aesthetic or not.

When youre picking fonts its smart to choose just one or two that tie in nicely with the theme of your infographic. Why that number? Because its very easy for three or more different fonts on a single project to look messy or disconnected. If youre not a trained graphic designer, its best to keep it simple and just stick to no more than two fonts. Personally, I find using one font for headings and titles and then another for my body text to be an easy way to keep everything tidy and consistent.

No matter what fonts you choose, always make sure theyre at a readable size on your infographic. Also, remember that not all fonts are readable at all sizes. Do a quick eye check to make sure the size youve made your fonts is actually legible in the situations your infographic will be viewed in.NotesFacilitator NotesSAY3 minutes9

Thinking about designPicking the right fontsAnother look and feel decision youll need to make is the fonts that you choose to use in your infographic. Fonts each have their own visual aesthetic, so its important to choose ones that match the look and feel of your infographic.

When youre picking fonts its smart to choose just one or two that tie in nicely with the theme of your infographic. For instance, using one font for headings and titles and then another for your body text is an easy way to keep everything tidy and consistent.

No matter what fonts you choose, always make sure theyre at a readable size.Notes10Facilitator Text PageKey Facilitation PointsBe sure to leave whitespace in between your design elements to ensure theyre readable and clear.If you need more room in your infographic to do this, consider making your infographic larger, the design elements smaller, and/or removing elements.Instruction Another easy win with design is to avoid cramping your content by leaving enough whitespace between your design elements (like text, titles, graphics, and charts). Sometimes people want to cram as much information in an infographic as possible, which leads to the kind of project on the screen right now. The facts and design are generally good, but everything is way too close together for comfort. Cramped infographics like this are hard to read and tend to make the information seem overwhelming.

(cue animation)

Leaving just a bit more empty space makes it a lot easier to read and ingest. In some cases, spreading out your information more may mean you need to make your infographic a bit larger. Thats definitely okay in most cases. In instances where you cant adjust the size of your overall infographic, for instance, if youre designing for a particular print size, either shrink your design elements down just a bit or remove one or more of them to gain space.NotesFacilitator NotesSAYDO3 minutes11SAY

Thinking about designKeeping everything from looking crampedYoull also want to leave enough whitespace between your design elements .

Sometimes people want to cram as much information in an infographic as possible. Unfortunately, cramped infographics are hard to read and tend to make the information seem overwhelming. Leaving just a bit more empty space makes it a lot easier to read and ingest. Notes12Facilitator Text PageKey Facilitation PointsMake sure your infographic includes credit or branding (typically at the bottom of the infographic).If you have licensing information for your infographic (such as a creative commons license) include that at the bottom of the infographic.Instruction Finally, great infographic design means including a way for people to know who made the infographic and how it can be share and used.

Sure, you may originally post your infographic somewhere where its clear who it belongs to, like a branded website or your own social media feed. Because of how infographics tend to be reshared, though, means theyre often removed from their original context. You wouldnt believe the number of infographics Ive seen on Pinterest and Twitter that have no easy way to track them back to the original person or company that made them. Thats why its always a good habit to include some sort of credit or branding directly on your infographic, typically at the bottom of the graphic. Include your name or your companys, as well as a way to get in touch with you, such as a website, email address, or Twitter handle.

The bottom of your infographic is also a good place to include any licensing information you may want to release your infographic under, such as a Creative Commons license.NotesFacilitator NotesSAY2 minutes13

Infographic credit: http://infographiccommons.com/view/tedtalks-info.htmlThinking about designContact and license informationFinally, great infographic design means including a way for people to know who made the infographic and how it can be share and used.

Its always a good habit to include some sort of credit or branding directly on your infographic, typically at the bottom of the graphic. Include your name or your companys, as well as a way to get in touch with you, such as a website, email address, or Twitter handle.

The bottom of your infographic is also a good place to include any licensing information you may want to release your infographic under.Notes14Facilitator Text PageKey Facilitation PointsActivity: Identify weak design choices and discuss how to fix them.Instruction Okay, lets try another critiquing activity. Using the handout in your workbook

Imagine your co-worker handed you this infographic they made on using social media for learning. They told you they know the visuals arent working entirely, but theyre not quite sure why. Ignoring the filer text, take a critical look at this infographic.

What you think isnt working from a visual perspective and what would you do to fix it.

Give participants a few minutes to evaluate the infographic. Then open it up to a group discussion where theyll identify a specific problem based on the content from this session and talk about how it could be fixed.

Major problems with this infographic include: colour scheme and font choices dont match the theme of social media, squishing up of sections against each other, the title text colour being hard to read on the similarly coloured background, the chart on the left that doesnt match the aesthetic of the rest of the infographic, the main font type just being plain difficult to read in general, and the lack of contact information anywhere on the infographic).NotesFacilitator NotesSAYASK15 minutes15DOParticipant GuideImbedded HandoutActivity: What Isnt WorkingImagine your co-worker handed you this infographic they made on using social media for learning. They told you they know the visuals arent working entirely, but theyre not quite sure why. Ignoring the filer text, take a critical look at this infographic.

Notes16Notes

Facilitator Text PageKey Facilitation PointsReiterate that good design makes a big difference on the effectiveness of an infographic.Remind participants about the Resources section.Remind participants about the final session in this series.Instruction So that was our introduction to graphic design for infographics. Strong graphic design makes your infographic look professional, but it also does a lot to make your content easier to read an comprehend too.

Before we finish for the day, do we have any last questions about graphic design for infographics?

If youre interested in learning more about graphic design, be sure to check out the Resources section of your workbook. Weve included some great resources for you to check out.

Also, dont forget to join us for our final session in this series, where well discuss what resources and tools you can tap into to continue to learn about creating infographics.

NotesFacilitator NotesSAY3 minutes17ASKSAY

So, to summarizeThinking about designHomeworkDont forget to sign up for the final session in this series, where well discuss what resources and tools you can tap into to continue to learn about creating infographicsIf you have an infographic youd like to share with the group, be sure to submit it to the online discussion board.

NotesDid you know?Go to the myLearning listing for this session to find a link to examples of infographics created at BMO.18NotesSession summarySo that was our introduction to graphic design for infographics. Strong graphic design makes your infographic look professional, but it also does a lot to make your content easier to read an comprehend too.Facilitator Text PageKey Facilitation PointsOptional resources for participantsInstruction These are some of the resources participants can use to continue learning about graphic design for infographics (or just graphic design in general).NotesFacilitator NotesDOResource19Participant GuideResources Page

Thinking about designResourcesIf youd like to know more about graphic design, check out these resources: BooksCool Infographics by Randy Krum gives all the details on why infographics work and how you can make them on your own.The Visual Miscellaneum by David McCandless is an excellent collection of beautiful infographics.White Space is Not Your Enemy by Kim Golombiskyand Rebecca Hagen is a helpful book on general graphic design basics.

WebsitesInformation is Beautiful (www.informationisbeautiful.net): This is a particularly great resource, particularly because its so transparent about the source data and thought process behind many of the infographics on the site.Cool Infographics (www.coolinfographics.com): This site takes infographics and then critiques them, commenting on both the aspects that dont work as well as the portions that do. Its a great way to learning from examples and non-examples.Creating Colour Schemes (Part 1): If you're looking for colour scheme inspiration, check out Design Seeds (http://design-seeds.com/). This site showcases a huge selection of colour schemes based on existing photographs.Creating Colour Schemes (Part 2): Colour palette generator websites are also quite useful. On these types of sites you choose an image that has colours you think work well with your project, upload it to the site, and the site quickly generates a palette based on predominant colours from the image. The colour palette generator from DeGraeve.com (www.degraeve.com/color-palette) is a particularly good example.Notes20


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