May 5th - 2013

Wired Office: Tell your story visually with infographics

Example of a word cloudA picture is worth a thousand words, which helps explain the growing popularity of infographics (information + graphics).


by Karen Ebidia

Example of a word cloudA picture is worth a thousand words, which helps explain the growing popularity of infographics (information + graphics).

Infographics are visual representations of information or data. At a glance, an infographic can communicate information quickly and clearly. It should be fun to read and can provide valuable information. People are attracted to pretty colours and images. Although infographics have recently surged in popularity, they date back to the cave paintings of prehistoric days. The iconic map of the “Tube” subway system in London, England is an infographic. When you book a flight, the online airline seat selector is an infographic. The increased popularity of graphic displays of information can be attributed to the readily available tools which now make it easy to create these images. You no longer need to be a graphic artist to create an informative infographic (although having a good eye for design is definitely an advantage).

While a background in graphic design is no longer a prerequisite for creating a good infographic, you do need good data or information and you must put some thought into your data visualization. The need for quality content doesn’t go away just because you have opted to use images rather than text. Figure out the story you want to tell. Remember, while infographics are the “cool” thing at the moment, there’s no point in creating an infographic if it doesn’t provide something of value to its readers. It is ultimately another method of storytelling. To create great infographics, we must find the data, sort it to tell a story and arrange it to visually represent our story. Attribute your data sources and make sure the information you provide is accurate. Merging a bunch of images and some facts into a pretty picture just for the sake of creating an infographic is useless.

If you have access to Microsoft’s PowerPoint, you can create your own infographics. There are some good, free infographic templates available on the internet for download. They will help make this task easier. Go to and search for create infographics. Click on the link to download free infographic templates for use with PowerPoint. Customize the templates using colour, fonts, shapes and clip art.

PowerPoint is not the only option. Several free web tools are available to help you create your own infographics.

  • – use Create to quickly make free custom infographics. Browse its gallery of themes and select one to customize. Using a drag and drop approach, customize the theme to fit your story.

  • - pick a pre-designed template and add charts, videos and maps. When you’re done, embed your infographic in your blog post, or share it on your other social media platforms.

  • Piktochart ( - uses a drag and drop approach. You can control colours, rotations and groupings. There is a Pro version (for a fee) which provides greater image selection, more themes to select from, no watermark, etc. Experiment with the free version first and then decide if you need/want to upgrade.

  • Wordle ( - generates “word clouds” (visual representations for text data, often used to depict keywords on websites) from text that you provide so that certain words stand out. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. Fine-tune your clouds by changing the fonts, layouts and color schemes.

Infographics are considered highly shareable. They rely on true, interesting information and good visual design, and are likely to be shared via social media and linked via other websites. Once you’ve created your infographic, don’t forget to give some thought to where you will place it. On your website? On an industry website? In a blog post? On Facebook? Pinterest? All of the above?

Have you created an infographic already? Are you inspired to create one after reading this edition of Wired Office? If so, please let us know via or share on our Facebook page (

Karen Ebidia is the web editor at the Ontario Real Estate Association.

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