Over the course of the past two weeks, I have created a pair of infographics for this course. While doing so, I learned about a couple new tools I had not previously experienced in teaching my classes (Shaper and Chart) as well as the site Vecteezy, which makes creating infographics and logos MUCH easier and faster than trying to draw out the graphics myself.
Creating these infographics also helped with practicing effective use of design elements and principles plus it gave me some experience with summarizing information into it's basic, core elements. As summer is now officially here, I am starting to reflect on ways I can improve the lessons I use next school year. I am planning on adapting what I learned in this course into a lesson for my students on properly using elements and principles of design. One or more infographics may become their summary project for the unit covering that information.
Also, as a game design teacher, there is a movement in the industry to move from highly verbose game design documents that people often never read in full (who wants to read a 100-page+ detailed written description of design components) to a one-pager which is full of graphics and snippets of essential information which can be updated and reviewed easily as needed. In short, this is basically an infographic, if you think about it! And, creating these in written form have always been like pulling teeth from students. So, I will begin introducing them to one-pagers in the manner of accessing Vecteezy for relevant graphics and shortening text to basic core components.
So, I guess it is fair to say that I walked away from this course on infographics with a lot of useful information!
Class Two - Advancing Our Infographic Design Skills
During this class, I learned a lot about the history of infographics. It made me think a lot about a course we just updated here in North Carolina: Scientific Visualization. The core of that class was the use of visuals to share information in a wide variety of industries including science, medicine, architecture, graphics design, and entertainment. After years of struggling with how to get the importance across (the course was a mish-mash of material that had no real direction or focus), I came upon the use of infographics. While I implemented teaching them starting just two years ago, I will continue to do so in our new version of the course, now named Digital Design & Animation, even though they are not a component of the curriculum but this time, I will include some of the background history in my lessons.
For our second assignment, we were tasked with creating an infographic using statistics on how environmental factors affect children's health. In creating this infographic, I used a lot of previous Illustrator skills I have gained over time as well as some new techniques. I also relied heavily on my knowledge of design elements/principles and layout. Interpreting the information to find useful vector graphics from Vecteezy was no problem. What gave me the greatest difficulty was finding a good image for the background! After exploring several sites that compile royalty free images, I finally found the one I used on Pexels. The next struggle was getting the vignette to work in the manner I wanted. But, with a little playing around, I eventually found a happy spot to highlight the girl and darken the rest of the background. I believe the image of the girl swinging over the city skyline helps to drive home the message in the data.
Consistent with the theme of poor environmental factors, I used a dirty grey instead of a clean white for the majority of my text and interspersed a few areas of color solely for the sake of drawing the reader's attention to the statistics. I went onto Typekit and found two new fonts to use in this graphic. The internal text uses Bebas Neue Regular and the title uses Vortice. I believe both go well together for this piece.
Class One - Getting Started
While I have made infographics in the past, I found the information in this week's class interesting and useful. As I went through the information, it got me thinking about how I can use this information and creation of infographics when teaching my students about Illustrator next year. What a great way to extend their understanding of vector graphics as well as show my class uses a cross-curricular component! To accomplish this, I will create a lesson where students can select a topic from another class (probably science or history though I would be open to any class they wanted to use) and create an infographic about a relevant or current topic of study in it.
Now onto my experience with the first assignment for this course!
I have made infographics and used Illustrator before, so there was nothing studendiously difficult in what we were asked to create. However, I did examine a new tool that I had not previously used: Illustrator's Graph Tool. Originally, I was making a pie chart of some data that I found but it went awry and I was never able to get back to where I started. So, I went with a bar chart. Once created, it took a little effort to figure out how to change the colors of the individual bars, but it wasn't too difficult. I also had to decide on some common colors to use throughout so my design was consistent. Originally, I used a lot of different colors but came back to a tan/brown theme with a blue accent. However, I decided to use various colors in the chart to represent the social media application for each bar. Anyway, here's the result of my infographic: