Guest Post: Nathaniel McComb, GMI Intern - Summer 2014
For many ministries and organizations, infographics are a growing resource for sharing data and information with the world. Some organizations, though, may not have the budget to hire graphic designers or other specialists to make what they need. Luckily, there are websites available that can help with this problem, two of which I will focus on and review here. The two websites, Piktochart (http://piktochart.com/) and Infogr.am (http://infogr.am/), are both free-to-use sources for creating infographics.
Piktochart, as mentioned, is an easy to use website for producing infographics. The website offers four templates for different styles of presentation, depending on the desired use. These include a standard infographic template, a report template (helpful for condensing necessary information within a specific page limit), a banner template (more akin to a poster, useful for making announcements or advertisements) and a presentation template, which fits the information in a frame style similar to other presentation software (Microsoft Powerpoint, for example).
Once a template is selected, you are brought to the main workspace for creating the infographic. This area is very user-friendly, with multiple sidebar tabs containing many different styles of text, graphics, and other components. There are a full range of tools to use, including editable charts and maps, as well as the ability to add video. The template itself is quite user-friendly as well. The template area is broken up into “blocks” (which are themselves smaller work areas), allowing for easy navigation between multiple areas on the infographic.
This website seems to have a strong focus on creative freedom. The various graphics and icons, as well as multiple options for customizing backgrounds, colors, and fonts, allow a user to be as creative with their infographic as they would like. Piktochart also has various options in regard to downloading your infographics (including JPEG and PNG file types). Downloading your infographic is not the only way of making it available, as there is an option for sharing it through Piktochart’s website.
Piktochart has a subscription payment option for those who would like to get more out of the website. At $29/month (or $290/year), the website allows a third file type for download (PDF), as well as the removal of the Piktochart watermark from user-made infographics.
Now looking at Infogr.am, there are a few key distinctions. For Infogr.am, the overall focus seems to be less on graphics and other visual aspects, primarily allowing these factors to support the data and information.
Regarding templates, this website has 6 main color schemes to create new infographics. The layout of the workspace is one continuous work area (in contrast to Piktochart’s “block”-style), which can be helpful (or cumbersome) depending on the length of the infographic. Infogr.am also allows the use of charts, maps, and videos to be used in creating infographics.
As mentioned, this website does not focus as much attention on creative expression. There are no options for adding or placing shapes or other icons, and the color and font styles are usually limited to the choice of design template. This may not be a disadvantage, though, depending on the type of infographic needed (i.e. if you would like a streamlined, data-focused infographic, Infogr.am may be a good choice).
One very important aspect of Infogr.am that must be mentioned (and, as I saw it, highly inconvenient) is the download option. Without signing up for either of the two payment options, you cannot download your infographic in any format. This does not mean you cannot do anything at all with the infographic, though. You can share your infographic by posting it through the Infogr.am website. Along with the ability to download, the first tier subscription (which costs $18/ month) allows for using real-time data, private sharing, and opens up four more design templates. The second tier subscription (called “White Label”, $50/month) allows all the aspects of the first tier subscription, plus the ability to remove the Infogr.am watermark, remove the default share buttons, and add a custom logo to the infographic.
As I see it, both websites are helpful for creating infographics on your own. Depending on your desired style, length, or level of creative expression, one website may trump the other. Likewise, one or the other may be preferred regarding the method of sharing your infographic (where through sharing it through either website, or downloading it and sharing it through specific channels in that way). Overall, Piktochart and Infogr.am can both be useful tools for many organizations and ministries in sharing data or other information.