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Infographics: Worth a Thousand Words

07 Mar 2018 11:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

by Ashley EM Miller

You’re flitting through social media, and you find a graphic dense with data but delightfully designed. It’s beautiful, it’s charming, and it gives you pause.

Infographics are powerful communication tools that suck you in and leave you wondering, “How did they do that?” and later thinking, “I want to do that.”

But, if you don’t have any experience creating images more complicated than a bar-graph, the thought of creating a compelling infographic can seem impossible. Or perhaps you have art skills, but don’t have the background in visual storytelling and design to pair your artistic eye with science information.

The keys to an excellent infographic are strategic messaging, functional images and engaging story-telling. Learn these skills, and become familiar with the appropriate tools, and you’re well on your way to creating infographics that make your science communication stand out.

The SWCC 2018 Conference Session “Infographics: Worth a Thousand Words” is a hands-on workshop on infographic design lead by Fuse Consulting’s Kate Broadly and Sonya Odsen. By the end of the session, participants will complete their first hard-copy draft of an infographic, and they'll be familiar with the digital tools best suited for their skills and experience.

Even if you don’t think you’ll incorporate infographics as a significant part of your science communication practice, the session will provide you with the language of design. You’ll be better able to communicate with any designers or illustrators you collaborate with in the future to help them convey your vision. Moreover, honing an eye for design can help you with other forms of visual communication: presentation slides, information posters or graphics for blogs and articles.

You don’t have to be an excellent artist to benefit from the workshop. Kate and Sonya will review the digital tools appropriate and functional for any ability. For those who aren’t comfortable drawing their graphics, the duo will point you to free options for icons and symbols you can incorporate into your work. They’ll also discuss software options for building the infographic. You’ll learn about beginner-level free drag and drop online tools, to intermediate workflows using Microsoft applications to more advanced options and software.

If that seems like a lot to consider, take heart! As a science communicator, you already have the skills necessary to draft an infographic. After all, the very first step to creating infographics is similar to crafting any science communication message: know your audience.

Through instruction and peer critique, you will be led through the stages of honing the content to a few key messages for your audience. You'll sift through the fascinating but irrelevant-to-your-audience noise in the research and filter your infographic's content into a cohesive and meaningful story.

The workshop on infographics will teach scientists and science communicators how to craft succinct messaging, create or locate graphics that add to the story rather than act as mere decoration, and how to use elements of design to create beautiful, informative and compelling images. The best part is that you can spend as much or as little time on infographics as you want.

“The medium itself can be so flexible in terms of how much you want to share, how you want to share it and how much time you want to put into it,” Sonya explained.

Fuse Consulting is a communications business based in Alberta, and the team is no stranger to sharing techniques and best practices for infographic design. Be sure to check out their blog Knowledge to Practice for tips and advice on creating infographics.

The session, on Friday, April 13th, will be an active, hands-on workshop - so come with your science and be ready to create! Kate and Sonya have planned some fun activities to get your creative juices flowing. “Infographics: Worth a Thousand Words” is going to be one fun session.

Ashley EM Miller is a writer, museum educator, and eternally curious creature. She's fascinated by the sciences, passionate about the arts, and intrigued by where the two intersect. You can find her as @Dctr_Ash on Twitter and Instagram

Registration for the conference is open until March 29. Check out the other great sessions on offer here: 



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