Using a topic that you have already researched for this course, you will design an infographic that uses text and design elements to inform your audience about the topic. Because the accurate analysis and interpretation of data (e.g., statistics, comparative findings, numerical values) is such an important component of the infographic genre, you will create an original data visualization (e.g. chart or graph) that must be included in your final infographic. You will also write a design report that describes your design choices from a rhetorical perspective.
The ability to process, report, and disseminate data is an essential skill in the information age. This assignment will require you to draw upon principles of research and writing that you have built over the course of the semester. It will also require a basic understanding of design principles and visual representations of information.
Your infographic must include three credible sources that are cited and referenced in the content of the infographic, a data visualization of your own making, and visual and textual elements. You will save and submit your infographic as a .pdf file. Your design report must include headings, an analysis of your design choices, and reflection on what you learned from the assignment in 2 to 4 double-spaced pages. You will submit your design report as a separate .pdf or Word file.
Following these steps will help you draft your assignment.
Selecting A Topic
Choose your topic from one that you have already written about in this course. By drawing upon work that you have already done, we can maximize the time you have already spent thinking through a specific issue.
However, still plan time to read additional sources about your topic, or to reread sources that you have already read. Your infographic must cite at least three outside sources that are credible and relevant to your topic. Effective infographics are evidence-based; because you are translating this evidence into a new format (from textual to visual), it is essential that you understand a source well enough to represent it accurately.
Wireframing Your Infographic
After you have chosen your topic and gathered your information, you will create a wireframe to plan your infographic. A “wireframe” is a visual map that uses simple shapes (like boxes and circles) to sketch out a basic design. Creating a wireframe is a very useful way to play with different layouts. Your wireframe will also allow you to get feedback on the organizational logic of your design .
Your wireframe can be created manually, using paper and pencil, or digitally, using any program that allows you to create basic shapes and text boxes.
Take your time in planning phase of your project. A common mistake in visual design is rushing through the early stages of the design. Take the time to think through and experiment with different designs. Ultimately, your presentations of information should tell a story and suggest specific conclusions about a topic.
Creating An Original Data Visualization
Next, create your original data visualization. You are probably already familiar with many types of data visualizations, including pie charts, histograms, timelines, tree maps, bar graphs, flowcharts, diagrams, pictorial charts, and word clouds.
Many software programs, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel have features to easily create simple charts, graphs, or maps. More advanced data visualizations can be designed and created using the Adobe Creative Cloud software. Other free programs that make creating sophisticated visualizations include Piktochart, Easel.ly, and Infogr.am.
Putting It All Together: Creating Your Infographic
You can find templates for creating infographics on a number of free platforms, like Piktochart , Canva , and Venngage . To create your own template from scratch, you can also use Microsoft Word, or Adobe Indesign, llustrator or Photoshop.
While you will be assembling and arranging various elements, your design should be organized around a single, focused message that is easily comprehensible. Rely primarily on visual evidence in your design, using text to support and reinforce ideas expressed visually. Text-heavy designs usually do not take fully advantage of the visual affordances available to you.
Revising And Editing Your Infographic
You will revise your design to improve its clarity, organizational flow, accessibility, or accuracy. Be prepared to make changes to your design if it will communicate complex ideas more simply and effectively, even if those changes are significant.
Writing Your Design Report
In addition to your inforgraphic, you will write a design report addressed to your instructor which should describe your design choices from a rhetorical perspective. You might think about this report as writing a rhetorical analysis about your own infographic. Your design report should
describe your purpose and target audience;analyze the content of your design, including your use of visual and textual information, data visualization, the organizational layout, and style choices (e.g., font, color schemes, formatting);analyze how you used design principles (e.g., proximity, alignment, grouping, repetition, color, contrast, scale) to communicate information and to express relationships between the different components of your design; andreflect on your creative process, including what you consider to be your successes and failures in executing this assignment, what you learned from the assignment, and what you would do differently in the future.Consider using the following headings in your report:
Description of Infographic Audience and PurposeDesign AnalysisOriginal Data VisualizationAssignment ReflectionThe following questions will help you reflect upon and deepen your analysis of your own infographic design as you compose your design report:
Since effective visual design relies on limited wording/text, how did you decide what to include and what not to include in your infographic? How does the content anticipate readers questions?What was your strategy for arranging the components of your infographic? What will readers see first and last?How do these decisions take into account your audience, purpose, etc.?How did you include your data visualization in your design?How did you include citations as part of your final design? Can readers easily access the original sources based on your citations?What is the infographic’s color scheme and why does it make sense given the content, audience, and/or purpose of the infographic? How does color contribute to the tone of the infographic?What typography choices have you made? What do the design, size, and weight of letters and numbers suggest in the infographic? What are the likely associations that they will raise for readers?What were the results of your experimentation and trial-and-error in designing your infographic?Submitting Your Infographic And Design Report
Finally, submit your infographic as a PDF file and your design report as a separate PDF or Word file. If you used a free software program to create your infographic, include a shareable link to the original file and make sure that you have adjusted any privacy settings to give your instructor access. You are responsible for making sure that your instructor can open your files and access your infographic and design report.
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