A few weeks ago we shared some (hopefully) helpful tips to aid you in making your data more powerful and engaging by using visuals. If you missed our Beginner’s Guide to Displaying Data, you can still check it out here. We highlighted images that we’d created in Microsoft PowerPoint , but there are a few other tools we use often that we wanted to share. So if you are a non-graphic designer looking to fool others into thinking you might be a graphic designer, and you have zero dollars, very little time, and a minimal amount of patience – this post is for you. Here are a few free tools you can actually use.
Canva is an online tool that makes it easy to create beautiful graphics with no design or tech experience. The free version contains hundreds of templates, a nice choice of fonts and colors, and endless design inspiration. Over 70 million designs have been created using Canva, including the featured image created for this blog post. These little column chart animals only took about 10 minutes to make. Naming them will take longer. I will have to get back to you on that.
You’ll need to sign up for a Canva account, but it’s easy to do and hassle-free. You can also pay a small fee ($1 in most cases) to use a premium graphic or template. However, I’ve never found it necessary to do this. Which is fantastic, because as you know I try to save all my money for mascara.
Canva also allows you to upload your own photos to incorporate into your designs. That comes in very handy!
Total time it will take you to figure out how to use this thing: Canva says 23 seconds, but I would say it’s closer to 5 minutes.
Total number of swear-words you may use in the process: Only one or two. It’s fairly intuitive. Just drag, drop, and click your way to success.
Piktochart is another easy-to-use online graphic maker much like Canva. You can create a free account that allows you to access many templates, images, and features. Paid subscriptions are available, with lower pricing options for non-profits.
Piktochart can help you create the infographic you always wanted to, like this infographic about how to create your own infographic.
Piktochart seems to have fewer free features than Canva, but is still an excellent resource.
Total time it will take you to figure out how to use this thing: 5-10 minutes.
Total number of swear-words you may use in the process: Three. It’s drag-and-drop which once again is quite easy – but the tool bars are small and can be hard to see.
The Infographics Toolbox, created by Darren Delaye is a free downloadable template.
This is a small but mighty collection of graphics. I especially like the maps of the United States. I can’t tell you how often I need a map of the United States, it’s just really often. I’m guessing you need maps too, and if you don’t already, you’ll find a reason to after you download this toolbox. You can recolor as desired, and even separate individual states. Right now, we are here:
That was fun. As you can see, I will find any reason to use the map.
Total time it will take you to figure out how to use this thing: 5 minutes.
Total number of swear-words you may use in the process: Three or four. You can get it down to two if you are a frequent user of Google templates.
Here’s hoping this short but powerful list of tools helps you create data visualizations that leap from your screen to the audience. Share your experiences with us here, we’d love to feature them in an upcoming post.