Thursday, November 01, 2012

Infographics for advocacy and promotion

This article originally appeared in the Discovery Education blog "Kathy Schrock's Katch of the Month" in November 2012 and is re-posted here with permission.

One way to promote your district, school, or program or to advocate for increased funding or attention, is to create an infographic.
An infographic is a way to capture your audience as you visually tell a story or clarify information. An infographic is defined as a visual representation of information. created a page to explain items to think about when creating an infographic intended to advocate.  I think the most important aspect is deciding who is the audience for your infographic. They suggest putting yourself in the shoes of your audience and considering the following questions.
What are they looking for?
What is their point of view?
What do they already know about the issue?
You are creating an advocacy infographic to persuade your audience to take an action, whether that action takes place at a school committee meeting or at the ballot box. You want to send a clear message to them.
A good infographic includes a “catchy” image at the top which highlights the main point, followed by some secondary details, and tertiary details. Since viewers skim infographics the same way they skim text, you need to capture them right away. See the sample below to understand what that looks like.
To create an infographic, you need access to an application that allows you to layer images on top of images. Adobe’s Photoshop Elements is one such program, and there are online and downloadable tools you can create an infographic with, too. You can even use a PowerPoint or a Keynote slide, saved out as a JPEG, to create an infographic.
Discovery Education includes hundreds of free clipart images you can use when designing an infographic. These range from technology images to logos and everything in-between! Images are often duplicated in an infographic to make a graph or showcase a large number of something. Re-use these images from Discovery Education by repeating them in the infographic, by using a large version and a smaller version to showcase a difference, or include them in different colors to highlight a point. A hamburger infographic from, makes good use of repeating elements, as shown below.

Re-sized graphics

Repeated graphics

There are now online tools that have been developed to help you create an infographic. Some of these tools allow you to start from scratch, but they all include a plethora of already-created templates to edit, the ability to add data, and create a good-looking infographic. Some of these sites include –

There are many advocacy infographics available on the Web to review for ideas when creating your own. There is a free PDF booklet created by John Emerson entitled “Visualizing Information for Advocacy: An Introduction to Information Design”. It is well done and includes useful information about considering the audience you are trying to convince as well as tips and tricks for creating infographics.