Have Students Copy Infographics
Infographics are awesome. They are not just a poster but rather a synthesis of information and requires creatively communicating ideas visually. How do students get started making infographics? Yes, there are many great infographics creators and I would encourage you to utilize them. I personally use Google Slides or Google Drawing to make my Infographics, but that is just a personal preference. Stacy Young shares on her website examples of the history Infographics her students made using Google Slides. Try starting with having students COPY infographics to get down the style and techniques of what an Infographic even is!
Since Infographics are more than simply displaying information on a poster, the first step is not to assign students an Infographic but rather to give them exposure to Infographics. Ask students to critique the Infographics.
- Is the Infographic clearly communicating the ideas?
- What elements of the Infographic do you like and why?
- How could the Infographic be improved?
- What elements do you observe in the Infographic?
- What makes this an Infographic and not just a poster?
Creative Commons image from Flickr by Vicky Soma
Probably a student’s first foray into making an Infographic will look a bit like these attempts at recreating things on Pinterest. Take a look at these “Nailed it” images. AND THAT IS OKAY! Feedback and practice go a long way.
Before students embark on creating an Infographic from scratch it can be helpful to duplicate an Infographic. This will help the student to figure out how to create Infographic elements. See below for Alice’s tips on copying an Infographic using Google Slides. I found this Infographic online depicting the UK’s Favourite Toast Toppings. I recreated part of the Infographic 100% using the drawing tools in Google Slides. Again, do not be afraid to use Infographic tools with their templates to help your students create Infographics. However, Google Slides are free and collaborative so that wins me over. Google Drawing and Google Slides have the same drawing engine. Google Drawings allow you to embed the Infographic on a website so that is very tempting as a reason to use Google Drawing. Google Slides allows you to lock things down on the background and to have multiple pages. Multiple students can create their Infographic in the same Google Slides. Bottom line, try out several different tools for making Infographics and I would suggest you even consider mixing it up from time to time.
Some Infographics About Infographics
Check out this responsive infographic about 13 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Infographics.
Check out this Infographic that is a result of analyzing 49 infographics.
Here are 11 Infographics about Infographics.
Check out this Infographics for Beginners Guide.
Visual.ly has this infographic on why Infographics are awesome.
Alice Keeler Creating Infographics Tips
Here are a few of my favorite drawing tips for creating in Google Slides (or Google Drawing.) Link to the Google Slides. Link to the PDF to print.
1. Resize the Page
The default in Google Slides and Google Drawing is landscape. Notice when you do a search for Infographics that some are indeed in landscape. It is pretty common though for them to be portrait and long. Use the File menu to choose “Page setup” and select custom to adjust the size.
Tip: Sometimes when creating an Infographic you realize you need more room and want to make the page longer. This will resize your graphics to match the new proportions and you will be unhappy. Trick is to use Control A to select the entire Infographic and then Control X to cut everything out. Then use the File menu to choose Page setup and resize the canvas. Use Control V to paste the items back onto the new canvas.
2. Draw Off Canvas
Trying to draw on the slide will inevitably create conflicts with other elements on the slide canvas. Use the View menu and adjust the zoom so you can see the area “Off canvas.”
3. Draw Big
It is hard to impossible to make the visual elements in an Infographic that are super tiny. Look how tiny the circles and orange stem is on this marmalade drawing. No way I could create a tiny circle like that and get it in just the right spot.
The trick is to draw it HUGE off canvas. Group the drawing together using the Arrange menu. Hold down the shift key and resize small. Then drag onto the Infographic.
4. Hold Down Shift When Drawing
When drawing or resizing, holding down Shift constrains the proportions. This means your circle is a perfect circle. When resizing the image does not get distorted when you hold down the Shift key.
5. Hold Down Shift to Select Multiple Items
When creating graphics you are putting a lot of elements together to create a single graphic. You may need to select 3 things and nudge them together within the graphic. Hold down the Shift key and click on the first element. Continue to hold down the Shift key and click on the 2nd element, etc… This allows you to selectively choose which elements you want to do a single action too.
6. Shift Arrow Key Nudges
Using the arrow key to move items moves the item 5 pixels. Sometimes you need more fine tuning. Hold down the Shift key when moving elements to nudge only one pixel at a time.
7. Control Shift Up Arrow
Control Down Arrow moves an object to the back. Control Up Arrow moves the object to the front. If you want to just move one “layer” at a time use Control Shift Up (or down) arrow.
8. Remove the Border
When drawing something in Google Slides or Drawing by default there is a border. I very rarely want this. Find the pencil icon in the toolbar and choose “Transparent.”
On the other hand, when I am creating circles with numbers in them I make the border much thicker and a different color.
9. Create Composite Shapes
Once the border is removed from a shape, when you have 2 shapes of the same color they blend together when they overlap. Notice in the marmalade lid that t is actually 4 shapes pushed together. When trying to recreate a drawing think about what shapes it can be broken down into and then pushed together.
10. Control D Duplicate
In your Infographic you should have design elements that match. The easiest way to do this is to duplicate something you already drew and modifying it. Notice in my Infographic tips Infographic that I have the same circle for each of the 12 tips. Create it once and use Control D to duplicate it for the other 11.
11. Change Opacity
Reduce the opacity (make it more see through) of a fill color by clicking on the paintcan and choosing “Custom.” The slider on the right hand side reduces the opacity. This is handy when making a Venn Diagram.
12. Match Formatting
You want many of your elements in the Infographic to match. A trick in Google Slides and Google Drawing is to select something you already drew and then use the shapes tool to draw something else. The formatting will match. For example, if I create a circle, remove the border and fill it in purple. I then want to create a composite shape of a triangle to push them together, if I first click on the circle and then draw the triangle the triangle will be purple and borderless also.
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