[This assignment is adapted from an infographic by Patricia Taylor, another Marion L. Brittain Fellow at Georgia Tech. She gets credit for many of the ideas, and much of the language, that is here.]
With a partner, create an infographic that informs an audience, and makes an explicit or implicit argument, about some research topic of your choosing. Present that infographic in class. Optionally, and for extra credit, create a printed poster version of your infographic.
What is an Infographic?
According to Marck Smiciklas, “An infographic is defined as a visualization of data or ideas that tries to convey complex information to an audience in a manner that can be quickly consumed and easily understood.”
Why do an Infographic?
See this web-based infographic.
This assignment challenges you three ways:
- First, it asks you to summarize information and create a compelling visual narrative that will inform or persuade an audience.
- Second, it asks you to demonstrate your awareness of and ability to use basic principles of visual design.
- Third, it asks you to coordinate decisions and execution with a partner.
We’ll work on the infographics in class several times. Key dates, though, include:
• November 17, when your group should bring an in-progress infographic
• November 20, when the infographic and reflection are to be posted to the blog
• November 21, when the first groups will present
• November 24, when the remaining groups will present
Choosing a Topic
Either you’ve chosen a partner, or I’ve tried to put you with a partner with overlapping interests. You can either choose a topic related to our course theme or some other topic of your own choosing. The challenge for this infographic is to choose a topic with an appropriate scope—how much can you do in the course of a manageable infographic? You should negotiate ideas with your partner early on in the process and have a clear sense of what you want your infographic to do for the viewer. How can it be useful? What can it inform them of in the time it takes to view a typical infographic?
To design your infographic, you might use several different software options:
- PowerPoint (see WOVENText 106e)
- Adobe InDesign (available in the multimedia lab), see Lynda.com tutorials at Lynda.
- Adobe Illustrator (There are tutorials at Lynda, and also on the web. See, for examle, this one, which has a focused emphasis on infographics.)
- GIMP (free) or Adobe Photoshop (Again, see Lynda for tutorials)
- An online infographic tool, such as Piktochart.
I don’t expect you to produce professional-level graphic design in these infographics, but you should make them look as polished as you can. You can demonstrate thoughtful visual design even if your infographic does not look professional.
- You should choose a size for your infographic based on your reactions to other infographics you find on the web. Many infographics are tall images; others go for something wider. It’s not important that the image be any specific size: more important is what it can do for a viewer in a short time span (you should anticipate that viewers will spend 1-2 minutes with your infographic.
- Include a clear title somewhere in your infographic. It should be specific and attention-grabbing.
- Somewhere in the infographic, include your names and your references/citations: if you’re using online resources, URLs will suffice.
Turning it In and Reflecting
The infographic should be posted to the class blog as a jpeg or png file, along with your group reflection.
The 400-500-word group reflection should describe the overall choices that went into your topic and design and analyze images of 3 specific portions of the infographic. Some questions that might help you focus your reflection: How did you choose and carry out a specific purpose in your infographic? Why might your infographic be useful to someone who comes across it on the Internet? Who do you imagine your audience to be? How do your rhetorical and design choices address that audience? How did your ideas for the infographic develop over time? How did your group make decisions? How does your design use more than words to achieve its purpose?
Presenting your Infographic
In class on 11/21 and 11/24, each group will give a short presentation that walks the class through the infographic and points to 3 specific, interesting visual choices in the design (which may be the same as the specific parts of the images discussed in the reflection). Afterward, you’ll field questions from the class as a group.
Printing a Poster for Extra Credit
If your group chooses to do so, you may print a poster-size version of your infographic for 1/3 grade of extra credit on this assignment. There are plotters in the Multimedia Studio and at Paper and Clay in the Student Center. Plan in advance, since these places sometimes require 48 hours notice. Extra Credit Posters are due in class on Monday, November 24.