Infographic software without being a graphic designer
March 4, 2018 3:14 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for some graphic design software to produce professional looking information sheets (letter / A4) on specific topics.

The software can be local or cloud-based. It can even be templates for Microsoft Word as long as professional results are achievable.

I do use a graphic designer whose work is excellent but sometimes I have to produce an infographic-style information sheet at really short-notice.

All recommendations welcome.
posted by jacobean to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Professional results don't come from the software!

I think you need to say whether a learning curve is something you'd be willing to accommodate. In this case, something like Inkscape, or (for money) Illustrator might be your path. You'll be doing things from scratch yourself, although there are plenty of people selling templates for Illustrator, just as there are for Word.

If you want a lot of hand-holding and pre-built templates to use, then there are cloud services such as Piktochart, Vengage, Canva, etc.
posted by pipeski at 3:30 AM on March 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

Professional results don't come from the software!

Pretty much, this. Understandable and professional-looking infographics are a result of a good designer who is able to understand and distill the data into the proper format that makes the data clear and accessible. The software (like Illustrator, which is my tool for such things) is simply the canvas.

That said, you can, of course, output "infographics" though software like the Office suite (bar graphs, pie charts, etc.), but the results are probably not as attractive, or flexible, as you are wanting.

You can input datasets into Illustrator and it will generate a fairly basic graphic, but one which you can embellish and edit as you like.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:02 AM on March 4, 2018 [1 favorite] has decent infographic templates. I am a professional and I sometimes use it to produce for clients with small timelines or budgets. I
posted by DarlingBri at 7:30 AM on March 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding canva. Like others mentioned, the best results will come from a professional. But sometimes you just gotta crank something passable out. Canva has quite a few templates to start from, but from there you'll have to tweak with your own information.
posted by cgg at 7:51 AM on March 4, 2018

Inkscape is invaluable for all sorts of tasks. I found it fun and interesting to teach myself up to advanced novice level, where I can easily take output charts and graphs from other programs, and make them nicer in Inkscape.

My point is that learning does take some time, but the payoff will continue for many years.

Unlike some other gadgets mentioned above, Inkscape will remain free and available for all major platforms for a long time, maybe even the rest of your life.

On the web/cloud side of things, you may like — It’s a little easier to get into, and many of the skills you learn with that will be transferable to Inkscape.
posted by SaltySalticid at 10:08 AM on March 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

As a current design student, it's not the software, it's learning how to use it, although I do adore Adobe Illustrator. I suggest going on Skillshare and Lynda to learn how to do this, or enroll in a local community college course that can teach you this. This is also the textbook I am using in my fundamental class: Graphic Design: The New Basics
posted by yueliang at 12:02 AM on March 5, 2018

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