Infographics: Should Your Nonprofit Hire A Designer or Do It Yourself! | Beth’s Blog

Infographics: Should Your Nonprofit Hire A Designer or Do It Yourself!

Visual

In 2013,  social media will continue the trend of “going visual.”    More and more nonprofits are adding data visualization to compelling story telling to create amazing infographics as part their marketing tool kits.  For a quick primer on infographics, see “Five Infographics To Master Infographics in Five Minutes.”

If you have decided that your nonprofit going to go visual in 2013, figure out your goal.     Infographics can be used in different and creative ways and some obvious ones such as marketing messaging, educating about a social issue, to celebrate a successful campaign,  to report to stakeholders on key performance metrics, an  annual report, and even a marriage proposal!    Need some more  ideas?   Check out my pinterest board “Nonprofit Infographics.”   Before you hire a designer, work with your in-house design or do it yourself, it is a good idea to identify the goal, audience, data, and key message that you to communicate.   Your graphic designer will certainly help you refine this initial idea.

Some nonprofits  make use of their in-house designers to create beautiful and eye-catching infographics.    One example is Best Friends Animal Society as profile by John Haydon on his blog in “Nonprofit Storytelling with Infographics” which offers some simple tips for getting the most out of your infographic.   Others are working with graphic designers to commission infographics as part of campaigns.    For example,  last year, when the Humane Society reached 1 million fans on Facebook, they created an infographic as part of the marketing campaign.

If your organization doesn’t have an in-house graphic designer and you have a budget to hire one,  ask colleagues from other organizations that have created infographics for referrals.  Debra Askanase posted a request for referrals and within 15 minutes got these designer names that have experience working with nonprofits:   Rad Campaign, elefint designs, submit infographics, and Jennifer Reynolds.  Visual.ly has just opened a site to match infographic designers with those who want to hire them.  Many designers sign their work, so if you find an infographic by a nonprofit that catches your attention,  you can easily find the firm’s web presence.

If you need a professionally designed infographic for your work, definitely work with a professional.  But if you want convert more of your content to visual material or if you don’t have any budget for a designer, going the DYI (Do It Yourself) method can produce great results.   It used to be that if you wanted to create an infographic and you had zilch graphic design skills, your only choice was to hire a graphic designer to execute your vision for you. But, now thanks to some free and low costs online software applications and decent clip art, you can now create your own visualization of ideas and data yourself. And if you have do it right, it can capture attention, be fun, and , even get  shared and spread by others.

Creating an infographic is more than drawing skills.    Infographics not only include pretty pictures or illustrations,  but those visuals are summarizing some data to convey your key marketing message. So you also need data visualization, marketing, and storytelling skills.  In this post, “How to Create An Infographic in 30 Minutes” offers some easy step-by-steps for accomplishing this important pre-drawing work.   You might also want to brush up on what types of charts and graphs are best for making presenting your insights gleaned from the data.

When you are ready to add charts and graphics to your infographic,   there are plenty of free or low cost tools available.     One favorite tools is Piktochart, a simple, easy to use infographic creator that was recently profiled in Forbes.   Another approach is to use free infographic clip art from the Noun Project or this collection in combination with Microsoft Publisher or Photoshop and create your own infographic from scratch.

Here’s a DIY infographic from Sarah Mapes, Director of Communication, Colorado Coalition for Medically Underserved.   The infographic was part of their content strategy to share policy data about oral health issues for children in Colorado.    Sarah uses Microsoft Pubilsher and attractive free infographic images such as those found in this collection.

Here’s another  example from NY Cares.

But remember,  infographics don’t go viral on their own.   It takes some focused attention and work, but these two posts  ”5 Ways to Get Your Infographic to Go Viral” and “21 Things to Help Your Infographic Go Viral” can help you think it through.

Is your organization working with a graphic designer to create infographics, taking the DYI route, or a combination.  If you’re going the DYI route,   please include a link to an infographic your organization has created!

31 Responses

  1. Beth, clearly you and I were thinking about this at the same time! Thanks for mentioning all of the DIY and design resources for designing and creating infographics. One other platform that I know of is the WEAVE platform, part of the Open Indicators Project.

    WEAVE is an open-source app that enables anyone to create data visualization (not infographics) from available data, and could be a good support to any infographics design. This is the link: http://www.oicweave.org/ (I have no affiliation with WEAVE or this project.)

  2. [...] In 2013, social media will continue the trend of "going visual." More and more nonprofits are adding data visualization to compelling story telling to create amazing infographics as part their marketing tool kits.  [...]

  3. Matt Searles says:

    speaking as a designer.. the principle issue isn’t really the design tools it’s understanding design… and I would think if you’re going to go a DIY route on your infographics.. it’s probably also worth spending some time learning basic design principles..

    Things like how to lead your eye through a design.. is particularly important for info graphics.. I think one can probably get a handle on some of the 101 on the subject, without toooo much work, and get decent results..

    When I look at some of the DIY examples it makes me think of copywriting on the web.. how you should cut your copy down in half, and then half again… if there’s too much words going on.. that don’t have a sense of visual organization.. people are likely to just gloss over it..

    But I think.. when you think of social.. and the need to create a lot of content.. where cost is an issue.. Well I guess I think there’s probably a lot of questions one should ask about when to hire someone versus do it your self.

    Like if someone who’s spend there life designing.. can crank out something at a certain standard in minutes… that might be more cost effective then to have someone who doesn’t know what they are doing sorta struggling there way through it…

    And I think if you are going to do them your self.. I think it’s probably important to make a long term commitment to developing these kinds of skills and muscles… which I think will probably only prove more valuable to you as things progress forward.

    Not to mention that the better you are with this kind of stuff the better consumer you become

  4. [...] In 2013, social media will continue the trend of "going visual." More and more nonprofits are adding data visualization to compelling story telling to create amazing infographics as part their marketing tool kits.  [...]

  5. Dan Michel says:

    We have been doing in-house graphics for a few months now with much success (We just got first graphic to get over 10K likes and another got a large amount of shares)

    We are still evolving as none of us are designers but learning the tools and basic principles as we go. We use both Piktochart and Photoshop.

    I think one of the hurdles to people creating their own is the very elaborate infographic design you see out there. You can focus on one data point, keep it simple and let your message resonate — especially when you think that a majority of your audience is on mobile which diminishes visibility of tiny details.

  6. [...] In 2013, social media will continue the trend of "going visual." More and more nonprofits are adding data visualization to compelling story telling to create amazing infographics as part their marketing tool kits.  [...]

  7. Sean Parker says:

    Consider putting at least as much emphasis on “info” as “graphics” in “infographics.” That means putting at least as much emphasis on getting the right data analyst as getting the right graphic designer. Likewise, that means putting at least as much emphasis on DIY data analysis as DIY graphic design.

    That said, I might be flat out wrong! Maybe most nonprofits can convey their necessary messages with the most simple of statistics (e.g., counts, percentages and proportions). Perhaps they do not need statistical control, statistical interaction and factor analysis. In the end, simple is best (as long as it’s not too simple!).

    Thanks for the info,
    Sean

  8. [...] In 2013, social media will continue the trend of "going visual." More and more nonprofits are adding data visualization to compelling story telling to create amazing infographics as part their marketing tool kits.  [...]

  9. Mandi Moshay says:

    We ventured into the infographic game at Philanthropy Northwest last year in order to share the often complex statistics from our “Trends in Northwest Giving” report. We worked with Elefint, and they did a killer job. Check ‘em out here: http://philanthropynw.org/s_pnw/sec.asp?CID=8175&DID=18608

  10. [...] Should Your Nonprofit Hire A Designer or Do It Yourself! | Beth’s Blog http://www.bethkanter.org/dyi-infographics/ Jan Dé trend op social media-gebied voor 2013 is infographics: het visueel maken van jouw [...]

  11. Beth says:

    Debra: Thanks for starting the conversation and for mentioning Weave. I’ve been hearing about it but have not checked it out. Have you played with it?

  12. Beth says:

    Matt: That is such a good point about understanding design. What do you think is the best 101 on the topic for a non-graphic designer?

    Mandi: Thanks for sharing added it to my collection over at Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/pin/186055028327637420/

    Dan: Do you have a link handy of an example? Would love to pin it.

    Sean: Yes, you are so right on – data visualization is also important. You can’t just slap data on a infographic – it has to convey insight.

  13. Nancy White says:

    I’m curious… are you looking at anything besides “infographics” (at least thinking of them in the way you are collecting on your pinterest boards.) Any other visual forms open for consideration?

  14. Beth says:

    Nancy: Funny you should ask that … I am also collecting a lot other examples of “visual forms” — mostly marketing related, but also visual thinking.

    Visual Marketing Best Practices
    http://pinterest.com/kanter/visual-marketing-tips-tools-best-practices/

    Visual Thinking
    http://pinterest.com/kanter/visual-thinking-revolution/

    – Cartoons
    http://pinterest.com/facetimealan/social-media-cartoons-funnies/

    And, going deeper in the techniques of data visualization over at Scoop.Ithttp://www.scoop.it/t/viz

    It is a broad approach over at scoop.it, but using their tagging feature to filter into different categories ..

    I’m doing all this because I’m developing curriculum to teach data viz module as part of measuring network nonprofit workshops. Still in process …

    What’s behind your question?

  15. [...] Content from Other Sources Infographics: Should Your Nonprofit Hire A Designer or Do It Yourself! [...]

  16. [...] In 2013, social media will continue the trend of "going visual." More and more nonprofits are adding data visualization to compelling story telling to create amazing infographics as part their marketing tool kits.  [...]

  17. Hi, Beth
    Thanks for this very helpful article. I’m a retired pastor who helps churches with websites. Most often churches can’t afford graphic artists. This post gives my contacts a steer in a helpful direction.

  18. [...] In 2013, social media will continue the trend of "going visual." More and more nonprofits are adding data visualization to compelling story telling to create amazing infographics as part their marketing tool kits.  [...]

  19. Nancy White says:

    Beth, what is behind my question (and thanks for asking) is that infographics are currently hot, but underneath is the attention to the visual. Sometimes OTHER types of visuals may be more useful than infographics. And at some point, the amount of bad infographics may start giving infographics a “bad name.!” ;-)

  20. [...] In 2013, social media will continue the trend of “going visual.” More and more nonprofits are adding data visualization to compelling story telling to create amazing infographics as part their marketing tool kits.  [...]

  21. [...] In 2013, social media will continue the trend of "going visual." More and more nonprofits are adding data visualization to compelling story telling to create amazing infographics as part their marketing tool kits.  [...]

  22. [...] In 2013, social media will continue the trend of "going visual." More and more nonprofits are adding data visualization to compelling story telling to create amazing infographics as part their marketing tool kits.  [...]

  23. [...] Infographics: Should Your Nonprofit Hire A Designer or Do It Yourself! (bethkanter.org) [...]

  24. Referred to by The New York Times as the “ da Vinci of Data”, Tufte began to give day-long lectures and workshops on the subject of infographics starting in 1993. As of 2012, Tufte still gives these lectures.

  25. [...] In 2013, social media will continue the trend of "going visual." More and more nonprofits are adding data visualization to compelling story telling to create amazing infographics as part their marketing tool kits.  [...]

  26. [...] In 2013, social media will continue the trend of "going visual." More and more nonprofits are adding data visualization to compelling story telling to create amazing infographics as part their marketing tool kits.  [...]

  27. [...] Infographics: Should Your Nonprofit Hire A Designer or Do It Yourself! (bethkanter.org) [...]

  28. [...] for related content. For a great primer on how to create nonprofit infographics, check out Infographics: Should Your Nonprofit Hire A Designer or Do It Yourself! by Beth [...]

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  30. [...] In 2013, social media will continue the trend of "going visual." More and more nonprofits are adding data visualization to compelling story telling to create amazing infographics as part their marketing tool kits.  [...]

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