Using the Principles of Design in Our Infographics

Today’s essential question: How can I utilize the principles of design in my infographic to communicate information in an aesthetically appealing manner?

As you continue to work on your infographic, make sure it follows the principles of design.


Image Credit: Paper Leaf

How has Yoly incorporated each of the elements of design in her piece?





Today we will:

  • Continue working on our infographic projects
  • Create a new blog post with our progress. Include:
    • a PDF of your project
    • a PNG of your project
    • a few sentences explaining what has been easy and what is still challenging

Typography & Visual Hierarchy

Today’s essential question: How can I use typography to create a professional, easy to read infographic?

Many of us are ready to add text to our infographics. When trying to make your text look interesting, don’t use too many different “fun” fonts or your project will look like a hot mess:


As a general rule, you should use two different typefaces to keep things interesting yet unified. These typefaces should be fairly different to show contrast, and you should use the more decorative one for headings. NEVER set body text in a decorative typeface – it will make it illegible and look unprofessional. The image below explains why:



Find the above examples entertaining? There’s an entire blog post, titled, “Does your choice of font signify you as a terrifying beast?”

Here are some tips on how to combine typefaces to achieve professional results:

Establish visual hierarchy

Visual hierarchy tells people where to look first and what is most important. It can be achieved with size, weight, color, texture, orientation and space, or any combination of these tools.

Use different weights of the same typeface

To pair fonts that come from the same family, plan carefully to create contrast, varying things like font size, weight (such as light, regular, and bold), and case (upper, lower, small caps). One of the benefits of limiting your fonts for a presentation to one font family is that it creates a more consistent look.


Create Contrast


Using contrasting typefaces makes it clear which text are headings and subheads and which are body copy. The differences help create distinct roles for each font, allowing them to stand out as individual pieces of information.

Mix serifs and sans serifs

One of the most popular ways to combine fonts effectively is to pair a serif and a sans serif. This is a classic combination and it’s almost impossible to get wrong. Serif fonts have the small numbs on the ends of the different strokes of the letters. Sans serif fonts do not have these little nubs.

Avoid combining fonts that are too similar

Conflicts between fonts happen when the fonts look too similar. As you can see in the example above, the two fonts share the same weight, size and decoration. As a result they’ve become too alike. They’re performing very similar roles, but the small differences are conflicting which makes for an awkward overall effect. This makes it difficult to establish a hierarchy, because the fonts aren’t visually distinguishable from each other. In fact, font combinations that are too similar can often times look like a mistake—as if you’d been experimenting with different fonts and had forgotten to clean up after yourself.

Limit your number of fonts

As mentioned before, it is generally wise to stick to only two or three fonts. Too many fonts can distract and confuse your audience. Limiting the amount of fonts you use will help create a harmonious, unified design.

The following people still need to finish their project proposals: Aiden, Narionna, Andrew, Brandon. A complete project proposal includes: a sketch of the layout and any text/facts you will include in your infographic.

Today we will:

  • Continue working on our infographic projects, making sure any typography we add is legible and displays a clear visual hierarchy
  • Upload the newest PDF of our progress to our Google Drives
  • Post both a PDF and PNG of our progress to our blogs

Creating Simple Vector Graphics

Today’s essential question: How can I create simple vector graphics to use in my infographic?

Follow these tips to create successful vector graphics:

Keep it simple

Create your graphic from the simplest shapes possible, and include the minimum amount of details needed for your graphic to be recognizable

Keep it bold

Create contrast through color, shape, and scale

Keep your style consistent
  • Either use line art in all areas or no areas.
    Keep an eye on core styles such as line art for defining areas. If you’re going to use it, use it throughout your whole creation.
  • Use the same palette throughout.
    Introducing new colors to one area only may make that element stick out like a sore thumb.


Here are some examples of photos of faces that have been successfully turned into vector graphics:

Today we will:

  • Continue working on our infographic designs
  • Create a new blog post with the following:
    • a PDF of our progress (this will look like a link)
    • a PNG of our progress (this will look like an image)
    • a few sentences describing the types of graphics you plan to create, and the style you are going for

Setting Up Our Illustrator Files

Today’s essential question: How will I create my infographic in Adobe Illustrator?

Today we will begin creating our infographics in Illustrator.

Steps to creating the actual infographic file

  1. Open Adobe Illutrastor
  2. Create a new file. File -> New.
    Set the dimensions as follows (flip the height and the width if you want a landscape orientation):
  3. Place the image of your layout sketch. File -> Place. It may not fit the dimensions of the paper exactly.
    That is ok. You can scale and distort it to fit by dragging the top, bottom, and sides of the layout sketch image.
  4. In the layers palette, double-click to rename Layer 1.
    Then press the new layer button new_layer to make a new layer, and name it “images to vectorize.”
    You may also want to create a new layer for each image you plan to vectorize.
  5. Place any reference images you plan to vectorize. File -> Place.
    Hold down on the shift key and scale from the corner until each image is the correct size.
  6. Use the rectangle tool rectangle_tool to create boxes.
  7. Use the text tool text_tool to add text.
  8. Use the pen tool pen_tool to trace create vector illustrations.
  9. At the end of class, save your file as a PDF (File -> Save as -> PDF) and upload the PDF to your blog.
    Also, create a new folder with your project PDF file and any images you are using, and back it up to your Google Drive or USB drive.

Today we will:

  • create a new 12×18 or 18×12 file in Adobe Illustrator
  • place our layout sketch in this file
  • begin vectorizing our layout sketch
  • save our file as a PDF and upload the PDF of our progress to our blog

Visual Hierarchy

Today’s essential question: How can I use visual hierarchy to draw attention to the most important parts of my infographic?


What did you look at first? Why? The designer who created the above image used a technique called visual hierarchy to cause you to see certain parts of the design in a particular order.

Visual hierarchy refers to the arrangement of parts of a design in a way that implies importance. Visual hierarchy influences the order in which the human eye perceives what it sees. This order is created by the visual contrast between forms in a field of perception.

Today’s essential question: How will you use the principles of visual hierarchy to ensure that the viewer sees the most important parts of your infographic first?


Good visual hierarchy enables you to decipher what is the most important information without even reading the text:


How do the examples below use a strong visual hierarchy to help the viewer prioritize information?




Today we will sketch out a basic layout of our infographic. Here are some ideas. (You do not have to use any of these layouts):


Today we will:

  • Sketch the planned layout of your infographic.
    Here is an example of what I am looking for:
  • Photograph your layout (after it has been approved by Ms. Lawson)
  • Create a new blog post with the following. Alyssa and Mabel have excellent examples of what I am looking for:
    • the photograph of your layout
    • any text you plan to use in your infographic
    • any graphics you plan to use in your infographic (including photos you may vectorize)

New Project: Infographic

Today’s essential question: What topics might lend themselves to an interesting infographic?

Infographics display information in an attractive way. For our next project, you will create an infographic in Adobe Illustrator on a topic of your choice. You will also create any vector graphics that you will use in your infographic.

Project requirements:

  • 12×18″ or 18×12″
  • created in Adobe Illustrator (vector)
  • you have created all imagery
  • effective use of typography & visual hierarchy
  • displays a cohesive color scheme
  • topic is accurately researched and sources are cited

Examples of vector infographics (click to enlarge):




rich_water_poor_water   world_Education_infographic

london_vs_paris   college_vote   amsterdam
comic_sans  bone-chilling-legends   london coffee_facts

Types of infographics:

  • Compare 2 topics (ex. life before a pet, life after a pet; Tupac vs. Kendrick Lamar)
  • All about a topic (ex. graphic design as a career, history of rap music, how to make a pumpkin spice latte)
  • Illustrate subcategories within a category (ex. comparison of starbucks drinks, stereotypes of students who go to SOTA, characters featured on Game of Thrones)
  • Call attention to a social issue (incarceration rates by race, gender, and income; history of a disenfranchised group (ex. Black Lives Matter, marriage equality, adoption rates of different types of pets in animal shelters)

Today we will:

  • Brainstorm various infographic topics
  • Consult Ms. Lawson and your classmates on which topics may work the best for this assignment
  • Create a new blog post with:
    • your topic
    • resources you will use to research the information you will display in your infographic
    • sketches of potential layouts

Vector Silhouette Final Blog Post


We will leave for the field trip at 7:55. In the meantime, please check your folder for your progress report to see your current grade in this class. Many grades are low (but can be easily raised) because very few students properly submitted their vector silhouette final blog posts. Check out Lily and Jenna’s posts for examples of what I am looking for.

Final Blog Post Requirements

When you are done with your project, create a final blog post with the following:

  • a PDF of your finished project (this may be 3 separate PDFs if you are creating a triptych)
  • a PNG of your finished project (so we can see the image in the blog post).
    To create a PNG from Illustrator, click File -> Save for Web & Devices -> PNG-24
  • a minimum 150-word artist statement about your project. An artist statement (minimum 150 words) about our project. Not sure what to write? Start by answering the following questions:
    • Describe your artwork
      • What does your artwork look like?
      • What is the subject matter? What character(s) or story did you portray with your project?
      • How does the subject’s body language contribute to the imagery?
      • What art elements or principles are most obvious in your work?
    • What is the big idea behind your artwork?
      • Who or what inspired your artwork?
      • What is your artwork about?
      • How do you want people to feel when they view your artwork?
    • How did you create your art?
      • What media is your artwork made from?
      • Describe the process or steps you took to create your artwork.
    • Overall thoughts
      • What did you learn from creating this artwork?
      • Is the final piece what you imagined? How so?
      • What did you do well? What could you have done better?

Today we will:

  • Create our final blog posts with both PDFs and PNG of our final projects, and a 150-word artist statement about the project