As we are inundated with data via infographics and other visualizations, it is essential that students learn to read and analyze these types of visual communication. Analyzing sample infographics in your field and introducing students to Randy Olsen’s “Infographics Lie. Here’s How To Spot The B.S” can help students critically engage with these types of visualizations while developing important visual literacy skills.

I love using assignments that ask students create real world products, not only because it provides them the opportunity to develop valuable life skills, but also because it allows them to communicate with audiences beyond our classroom. Asking students to create an infographic also provides them with a different, more visual technique of communicating what they learned, while also providing them with a marketable skill as well as a product they could later embed in a portfolio. Creating infographics requires: 1) knowledge of basis styles of infographics, 2) access to an infographic tool (and there are great free ones!), and 3) some basic knowledge of quality design.

Steps to Success

Step 1: To familiarize your students with the types of infographics available, there’s a great 2.5 minute video produced by Easelly. By describing different types of infographics that are common, students can brainstorm what type of infographic might fit their needs.

This video defines 7 different types of infographic designs. | easelly

Step 2: Help students access an infographic tool. There are many fabulous free tools, though my favorite is Canva. Canvas offers free accounts to faculty and students, and it allows students to create infographics, in addition to invitations, posters, and other media. Although there are many other free tools available, you may find that some have dramatically limited the features available in their free version, and some will not even allow you to export without upgrading to a paid account!

Quick Guide to using Canva in the Classroom | Canva Quick Start Guide

Step 3: Help students understand some fundamental principles of great design and infographic creation. You might also plan time for students to draft their infographics together, as well as peer reviewing infographics along the design process.

Design Principles

  1. Plan Ahead: Help students create an outline
  2. Purpose: What’s your primary takeaway going to be
  3. Consistency: Stick to consistent fonts, color patterns, and theme throughout the infographic.
  4. More is not always better: It can be tempting to fill an infographic with tons of graphics, fonts, bubbles, text boxes, and other visual icons, but be wary of clutter and edit your design.
  5. Documentation: Include citations/references and credits, in addition to a byline for themselves.
  6. Audience: Consider your desired audience when formatting your design. Pinterest and websites can accommodate long images, while Instagram is limited in the size it can accommodate.
  7. Refer students to this infographic for an excellent introduction to infographic planning and design.

Other Applications:

  • Go Low-Tech: Have students hand-draw infographics as part of an in-class assignment. You can also look to visual notetaking as a rationale for doing this. Teaching students other modalities for taking notes can offer them new techniques to better record their thoughts, as well as helping them develop a visual vocabulary/shorthand for notetaking and visual communication. For more resources, check out The Power of Visual Notetaking and An Introduction to Visual Notetaking.
  • Incorporate infographics into your classroom: Use them to communicate information to students, as sources for students to analyze, or other points of reference for your students.


1 thought on “Infographics

  1. I’m currently co-developing an infographic assignment in conjunction with my work as the Curriculum Coordinator for The Encyclopedia of Milwaukee ( – this post is so helpful. My thanks to you for creating this resource!

    -Krista Grensavitch (History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

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