- In this session, we will explore the development and use of infographics in communicating complex issues in a food system context.
- In tutorial, your group will begin your initial draft of your infographic.
** This session is an adaption of curriculum from Dr Carmen Byker-Shanks at Montana State University **
After completing this session, you should be able to:
- Access web-based infographic software
- Articulate the need for communicating complex food system knowledge in an clear, accessible, and meaningful medium
- Develop your group's first draft of your infographic
Key Terms + Concepts
Required Readings + Resources
** Portions of this section have been adapted from the work of Dr Carmen Byker-Shanks at Montana State University **
Infographics are graphic depictions of complex information (e.g., knowledge, data, concepts, ideas, etc.). This medium relies upon visual elements to clearly and concisely communicate complex information to diverse audiences. Infographics use evidence and practice based data, compelling statistics, easy-to-read fonts, complimentary color schemes, simple charts, bold graphs, and other graphics to disseminate information in a quick and easily digestible format.
A well-designed infographic does the following:
- Tells a story
- Identifies causes and issues
- Provides available data
- Inspires solutions
- WEBSITE: Ensia Article - What's Happening to Our Planet - In 8 Infographics
Developing Your Infographic
OVERVIEW // Infographics are graphic depictions of complex information (e.g., knowledge, data, concepts, ideas, etc.). This medium relies upon visual elements to clearly and concisely communicate complex information to diverse audiences. Infographics use evidence and practice based data, compelling statistics, easy-to-read fonts, complimentary color schemes, simple charts, bold graphs, and other graphics to disseminate information in quick and easily digestible format. Your infographic will disseminate the key findings and implications of your project in a way that effectively communicates with diverse audiences (i.e., media, scientists, non-scientists, non-disciplinary experts, disciplinary experts, policymakers, voters, etc.).
- IDENTIFY // What are your key findings and implications (take-home-message)? Use what you have learned in the foundations of this course and your project to find evidence and practice based data from your course readings, peer-reviewed journal articles, and other quality sources about your topic of choice. Remember, a quality resource should be current, provide authoritative information, be reliable, and have a transparent purpose. Although a different genre from the peer-reviewed article, this is still research. You need to cite your sources. After your readers are captivated by the infographic, citations provide them with additional resources for further reading.
- SCOPING // Familiarize yourself with the infographics genre. What makes one infographic more effective or engaging than another? Explore other infographics related to topics we’ve discussed in LFS 350 to better understand which elements, layouts, etc. are important for creating a visually appealing, concise, and clear message. Use examples for inspiration when designing your infographic. Be sure not to copy any content for your infographic – this is a creative endeavor. Here are some examples to kick start your investigation:
- Prevalence of food insecurity in Canadian institutes of higher education
- Inequality in healthy food access
- Pathways to deep decarbonization by 2050
- Reducing food waste in schools: www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/cnd/Infographic-food-waste.pdf
- Understanding the Agricultural Act of of 2014 (Farm Bill): www.eatrightpro.org/resource/media/multimedia-news-center/infographics/farm-bill-understanding-the-agricultural-act-of-2014-infographic
3. SELECT // You’ve investigated the infographic genre and better understand its elements, layouts, and conventions. Infographics should tell a story, identify causes and issues that are supported by evidence and practice based data, and should have sustainable solutions. A phrase (or short sentence) is all that should be required to concisely communicate the idea, story, or concept of your infographic. Test your topic with a few other peers and ask for feedback regarding clarity and edit as necessary.
4. WRITE // What essential information about your project do you want your readers to understand? What are the most compelling pieces of knowledge about your project? Write down all of the key concepts and compelling information about your selected topic. Your infographic should visual elements to clearly, concisely, and captivatingly communicate key concepts, essential information, and compelling knowledge to diverse audiences (i.e., media, scientists, non-scientists, non-disciplinary experts, disciplinary experts, policymakers, voters, etc.).
5.SKETCH // Before you begin creating your infographic within the software, it is a useful conceptual exercise to sketch your infographic. What is the story you are going to tell? Will your infographic show the evolution of a piece of the food system, present information, and/or inspire an action? Grab a pen, pencil, crayons, or other writing implements and visually organize your key concepts on paper. Draw a flowchart that shows what order the data should be presented. To be most effective: (a) begin with a compelling title that tells your story or conveys your message, (b) identify the cause or issue of your project (c) present facts and figures that are quality and persuasive, and then (d) discuss the implications and sustainable food systems strategies to address the topic.
- Font // For graphical cohesion, use no more than two different fonts. Remember, any font you use should be very readable.
- Color // Choose one or two main colors for the background and one or two main colors for fonts throughout. Shades of your color selections are acceptable to use. Too many colors make the infographic difficult to read. Use colors that are complimentary own another and (if possible) related to your topic. For example, if you’re displaying concepts about rhubarb’s place in the diet, choose pinks and greens. See “Resources” section for additional color guidance.
- Blank Space // Don’t be tempted to clutter your infographic. Provide plenty of blank spaces to split up your concepts, differentiate ideas, and increase readability.
- Go to https://piktochart.com
- Sign up for a free account. Use the voucher code provided by your TA to upgrade to Pro Account (1 pro account per group).
- Once you are logged in, select “Pikto Templates” from the top toolbar.
- Select “Free Templates” from the toolbar directly above the Templates.
- Browse the freely available infographic templates. You can modify an existing template or “Create a New Piktochart” to begin with a blank canvas.
- To use a template, click “Create” on the desired template thumbnail. To start from scratch, click “Create a New Piktochart”. Again, keep in mind that your aim is to build a visually appealing infographic that clearly and concisely communicates complex information to diverse audiences.
- Clean up the template. Delete any textboxes or graphical elements that you do not plan to use. To delete - select the element (1) click the trash bin icon in the toolbar or (2) press delete on your keyboard.
- Edit the remaining textboxes by double-clicking and replacing default text with information (e.g., facts, statistics, words, etc.) pertinent to your topic.
- Searching for new graphical elements in the “Icons” or “Photos” dropdown menus from the left toolbar. Click on the graphic you want to use and resize in the template by dragging the corners.
- Create charts and maps by selecting “Tools” from the left toolbar.
- To change colors of background or fonts, use paint bucket on the toolbar above the infographic.
- To change fonts, click “Text” on the left toolbar.
Exporting as PDF
- Select Poster
- Set to 8.5 x 11 under Page Setup.
- When preparing to export, save as PDF
- Choose the Custom Size and set the height to 30”
- Slide Quality Bar to highest possible dpi
- Click "Download as PDF"
Additional Piktochart Resources
- You can request a 30 minute demonstration of PiktoChart if you desire (not required): https://piktochart.com/demo-signup/
- Additional FAQ: http://support.piktochart.com/hc/en-us
- Design tips: https://piktochart.com/blog/category/best-infographic-tips/
- Email email@example.com to request a tutorial and feedback session on your group's infographic.