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DIY pictures and infographics: 6 simple online services for beginners

Where can you find unique pictures for your site, your articles or advertising? This problem sooner or later confronts the author, editor or business owner. Copyright does not allow taking the first picture that comes across with impunity. Standard stock images do not help readers understand your idea in any way. And there is not enough money to order a picture from an artist or designer. Today, everything can be done by yourself, without the involvement of specialists – from a simple picture with an inscription to a video.

This article explores six services for creating your own unique, stylish and informative infographics. I carefully selected these six sites and sieved them through three sieves. The sites did not pass the selection:

  1. Paid. That is, those where you can try the service only for a few days / weeks, after which you will need to purchase a paid subscription. The list contains sites that, even in the free version, have acceptable functionality and allow you to create pictures with your own hands when you need them. I’ve been using all of them myself for more than a year.

  2. Inconvenient and difficult for those who are trying to understand infographics for the first time. Therefore, the list did not include several interesting services that I use, but it will not be easy for a beginner to understand them.

  3. Those for which you need to download and install something on your computer. In the list, I have left only services available online.

    You have to understand that free functionality always involves certain inconveniences and limitations. Each site has its own. Let’s consider them too.

Why did I choose six services and not one or two? As a rule, each program is ideally suited to solving one or two specific problems better than all others. So depending on what kind of infographic you want, pick a tool and get creative.

Pictures for social networks

Canva is the leader in this segment.

Image for social networks is perhaps the most common type of infographic. Such a creative is very popular with users.

In the format of pictures in social networks they publish:

  1. Wise quotes.

  2. Eye-catching advertisements.

  3. Stories.

  4. Group and page covers.

  5. Pictures to illustrate posts or links leading to a page on your site.

The sizes of Canva templates are already sharpened for the requirements of social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest. It’s easy to create a picture. Take it and do it.

This is what Canva’s template picker page looks like

Within each format there is a set of ready-made designs that you can change to your liking, or create a new one.

Choose a ready-made design from the menu on the left

Please note that the templates available to you will be marked with the signature “FREE”. There are not very many of them, but you can easily invent and create your own. To do this, upload your picture (the “Upload” button in the menu). Choose a suitable inscription from the ready-made templates in the “Text” menu. Enter your text.

An interesting detail: if you want to change the design of the lettering, just select a new one in the menu on the left – the design will change, but your text will be preserved.

The program has other interesting functions: see the picture below (by the way, this scheme was made in the Creatly service – we’ll talk about it below).

Canva Service Menu

How to make a picture yourself? Upload your images, add captions and other elements to them.

This is how, for example, the announcement of this article on Facebook might look like (for the background, a picture from the photo stock pixabay.com was used)

It remains to download the finished picture or immediately upload to the social network by clicking the button in the upper right corner and selecting the desired action.

The finished picture can be immediately uploaded to a social network or downloaded to a computer

By default, here it is proposed to upload an image to the social network, the template of which was chosen at the first stage of creating the image.

Canva Benefits:

  1. Select the interface language (including Russian and Ukrainian).

  2. Template sizes tailored for different social media formats.

  3. Templates for printed materials (postcards, calendars, letterhead, etc.).

  4. Convenient label templates, including a large selection of Cyrillic fonts.

  5. Ability to customize to your corporate identity (in the free version – only corporate colors).

  6. Unlimited pre-built saved projects.

  7. Working on the same project as a team.

  8. Blog about graphic design in Russian.

Disadvantages:

  1. A very small selection of free graphics. Most of the pictures are available either in the paid version, or for purchase one by one – from $ 1.

  2. Unsplash’s photos are only available in the paid version. But no one bothers you to download and upload photos manually.

Paid version cost: $ 12.95 per month or $ 119.40 per year.

Visual stories, presentations, print materials

Piktochart does this best.

Infographics are often understood as these – infographic “long reads”, or stories, in which a variety of data is visualized. They are posted on the website or printed in the form of posters.

In this form, you can publish anything: tell the story of a company, visualize data in different formats, write instructions, and even draw up a good recipe.

Visual stories are the most popular infographic format

Let’s see how you can create an infographic based on a ready-made template. In the menu on the left, you choose the type of infographic: the actual infographic, presentation, poster, report or flyer. After that, you can choose from any of the ready-made designs or create your own from scratch.

Window for choosing a design for infographics

Finding a suitable one is not difficult: in the free version you can choose any of a variety of templates without restrictions. Once you’ve selected a template, hover over it and click the Use Template button.

Choosing a template to use

After that, an editing window will open, where you can change the graphic template to your liking: add and remove photos and drawings, edit text, change colors, etc.

Editing window with selected template

Let’s get acquainted with the main menu of the program.

Picktochart Service Menu

The convenience of working with long infographics in Picktochart also lies in the fact that the entire image is divided into page fragments. You can move them, add and remove them, as well as download each as a separate file or as a whole image. Now you know how to make infographics yourself.

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Sample 3-page infographic created with Picktochart

Advantages of the Piktochart service:

  1. All available templates are available in the free version.

  2. A large number of graphic elements, sufficient for various purposes.

  3. Convenient interface for work.

  4. The most convenient service for working with long infographics.

Disadvantages:

  1. The free version can store a maximum of 1 project and 5 works.

  2. The finished images can only be downloaded as a picture and only of average quality, but the average quality is quite good for using on the Internet.

  3. Embedding ready-made infographics on the site works only in the paid version (and this is interactive, the ability to sew links into the image).

  4. Very small number of Cyrillic fonts (you can download your own fonts in the paid version).

  5. Service logo on the finished image.

The cost of the paid version: $ 29 per month and $ 290 per year. There are small discounts for nonprofits as well as corporate plans.

Maps

A very simple and convenient service for creating various maps – Pixelmap. Registration in the service is not provided, so download the result immediately – you cannot save it online for further use.

Working with Pixelmap is simple. Choose which map you want to color: a map of the world (in large or small details) or any individual country. Use fills of different colors for countries or regions. You can also add icons with text comments.

The only condition: you must have a good knowledge of geography so as not to scour the entire map for a country or region. If you know at least the approximate location, then finding the desired object will not be difficult: when you hover over it, a pop-up name appears.

For example, I colored the countries depending on the number of UNESCO architectural heritage sites – from yellow to dark red.

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Pixelmap home screen

The result is available for download as a picture or html file. The latter will be interactive, that is, when you hover over a country or icon, accompanying text will appear.

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Map in interactive format

The result can also be formatted as a “pixel map”. Select the pixel shape (circle, rhombus, square, or hexagon), set the pixel dimensions and distances between them, and click the Generate PixelMap button. You will end up with something like this.

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Pixelated world map

Pixelmap benefits:

  1. No registration required.

  2. Very simple intuitive interface.

  3. Very fast and easy to use.

  4. You can work with both the world map and the map of a single country.

Disadvantages:

  1. There is no registration, which means that it is impossible to save the result for future use.

  2. The legend cannot be created (it will have to be added separately).

Diagrams, schemes, graphs

The Creatly service is great for visualizing digital data and creating diagrams.

Once logged into the program, click the green “New Document” button to get started.

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Creatly service start window

Choose from 47 types of graphical representations of data.

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Selecting the type of graphics

Then find the design that best suits your purpose. For example, I wanted to compare the capabilities of Canva and Picktochart. One of the Compare & Contrast charts is ideal for this.

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Chart selection

For example this.

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Give a title to your future document

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Diagram editing window

In the menu on the left, select graphic elements, and the top menu contains commands for editing text, fills and others

An interesting feature of the program is the presence of a library of ready-made styles for design. To activate the feature, highlight the object you want to style.

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Selecting the style of the graphic object

An interesting feature of the service is that you can use fonts installed on your computer in your schemes. Be careful: if you or someone else opens your project on another computer where the selected font is not installed, it will be replaced by another available one.

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Fonts from your computer are marked as local

The result is in the picture below.

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An example of a schema created in the Creatly service

Benefits of the Creatly service:

  1. A clear user-friendly interface in Russian (in some places not fully localized).

  2. Large selection of templates (all available in the free version).

  3. Select preset color schemes.

  4. Use the fonts installed on your computer.

Disadvantages:

  1. A maximum of 5 diagrams can be saved.

  2. Service logo on the finished image.

  3. Save in png or jpg format only.

Paid version cost: $ 5 per month or $ 49 per year.


Editorial. Creating images online is fun! Therefore, to help the creative marketer, we have additionally selected articles on the topic:

“Bookmark the Marketer: 6 Mega-Convenient Video Marketing Tools”

“6 Instagram Stories Design Tools”

“5 Social Media Apps That Will Help Your Business”

“6 useful Instagram video and photo editing apps”


Animated infographics

Fast and convenient service for creating infographics for social networks, including animated – Crello.

This online animation service can be considered an alternative to Canva, but its peculiarity is that you can also create animated images, which are called “video publishing”.

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Crello’s start screen prompts you to select an image format

Consider, for example, creating an animated post for social networks (video publication).

In the next window, you are asked to choose a suitable design. The templates available in the free version are marked “FREE”

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Choosing a video post design

Each such template consists of two parts. The first is animated and cannot be edited.

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Click the Enable button to watch the animation

The second part is static and editable. In this case, the second part consists of labels.

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Select the text to start editing

The finished work can be downloaded in mp4 format by clicking on the “Download” button or shared on social networks using the “Share” button.

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An example of an animated post

In the free version, your options are severely limited. For example, you cannot create your own animation using the existing elements. But you can upload your videos and supplement them with captions.

Advantages of the Crello service:

  1. Choice of different design formats for social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Tumblr), banner ads.

  2. Animated posts based on ready-made templates in 1080×1080 pixels.

  3. Ability to upload your videos and add captions.

  4. Ability to upload your own pictures (up to 100 free).

  5. A collection of Cyrillic fonts and the ability to upload your own fonts (1 font in the free version).

  6. Select the interface language (including Russian and Ukrainian).

  7. Access to stock images ($ 0.99 each).

Disadvantages:

  1. Limited choice of templates.

  2. Non-template animation is only available for a paid account.

  3. Photos and photo backgrounds are available for a fee only.

The cost of the pro version is $ 19.99 per month and $ 199.99 per year.

Video infographics

The most convenient, simple and functional service for creating video infographics is Powtoon.

This could be:

  1. Telling about the history of the company.

  2. An overview of the features and capabilities of your product.

  3. Tutorial.

  4. Advertise a product or service.

  5. Congratulations.

After registering with the Powtoon service, for four days you will have access to almost all the features of the paid version, including access to paid templates and images.

Choose the type of video you want to create. I will consider working with the service using the example of video infographics, but in the same way you can work with other available video formats.

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Select a video category

Next, find the template category of interest.

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Category selection

Then choose the template itself. Switch to Create mode to be able to make changes not only to the text, but also to add or remove images.

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Switch to Create mode

You can easily compose your video not from a template, but from scratch, as I did. To do this, at the first stage, press the Blank Powtoon button and select the type of video.

A short tour of the right menu. If at the initial stage you choose a different type of video (not infographics), the content of the menu will change, but the principle remains the same.

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Powtoon right menu (layers for such a gif-animation can be made in Canva or Picktochart, and then create a gif in a special online service)

There is a timeline at the bottom of the window. Select the element for which you want to set the time of appearance and disappearance, and move the icon along the timeline. By default, elements that appear will remain in the frame until the end of the slide.

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Working with timeline (made in Powtoon)

The result might look like this (turn on the sound).

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Powtoon Video Infographics

Advantages of the Powtoon service:

  1. Ability to create your own video infographics and videos using elements, including animated ones.

  2. Selection of templates of various categories.

Disadvantages of the free version:

  1. Limited choice of templates.

  2. It is impossible to download the result to a computer, but only upload it to Youtube or Facebook.

  3. The maximum file resolution is 720p.

  4. Large service logo that can cover part of the page content.

The cost of the paid version: $ 79-197 per month, $ 198-1188 per year (depending on the plan).

Additional information. The terms of free use of different services are constantly changing, and not at all in the direction of improvement. More recently, in the free version of PicktoChart, you could save as many projects as you want, and Canva gave you access to the Unsplash photo bank. Restrictions have now been introduced here. Therefore, by the time you read this article, something may have changed too.

I have considered only the basic functions of each service, but the capabilities of each are much broader. With the help of programs, creating images online turns into an exciting game. Explore and use.

Where to get inspiration

Several links to get ideas and inspiration for your infographics.

First of all, these are the galleries of the services themselves:

Canva Gallery.

Gallery Picktochart.

Powtoon Gallery.

Infographics on news sites:

RIA Novosti

TASS Infographics

Vesti.Ru

Other sources:

The Infographics magazine, entirely composed of infographics.

Statistical infographics on the VTsIOM website

You can also find a lot of ideas on Pinterest for Infographics.

Success in creativity!

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