Design

How to Master Infographics by Reusing Only One Template

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A few years ago, I was running my own startup. Things were going well, so we decided to open up an office.

Suddenly, I had to drive to work every morning. I had worked remotely my whole life, so that was a change of pace. 

Driving

For the first couple of weeks, I took the only route I knew. It got me there, but it wasn’t the best possible route I could take. As days passed, I started trying slight variations of the same route.

Finally, after countless days of going to work, I knew everything there was to know about going from my place to the office.

I knew how busy streets where depending of the time of day, how each light synchronized with the next one, and which turns to make based on these variables.

After some time – and a lot of repetition – I had mastered it.

Marta, Piktochart’s Head of Marketing, told me something that brought me back to this story a few weeks ago. She realized that, over time, she has been repurposing the same Piktochart template over and over again when creating infographics.

Most Pikto team members aren’t designers by trade, so we all use our own tool to create all sorts of presentations, reports, and infographics that we share with others.

What at first seemed like plain old laziness in essence was a really smart hack. That’s when we thought: “Actually, that’s not a bad idea…”

Let’s discover why!

The Value of Using The Same Template

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell mentions that to become an expert on any field you need 10,000 hours of practice. What he is trying to say is this: with repetition comes mastery. The same principle can be translated to any activity, including using Piktochart.

There are a couple of benefits to using the same Pikto template over and over again. First, it saves a whole of time. Like traffic lights on my way to work, you get used to certain elements and know how they behave.

You have them memorized so you know what to do with them when the time comes. You know what works, and what doesn’t, so you can skip all the trial-and-error, and use only what fits the template.  

Second, it ensures consistency. All of your presentations and infographics become consistent and you therefore develop your own style. This is especially useful if you are a brand, and need to maintain certain aesthetics and follow branding guidelines in your marketing material.

In today’s post, we have a look at how Marta does just this.

Discovering Marta’s Favorite Template

Marta’s all-time favorite template is 2015 Resolutions. She uses it for most of her presentations at Piktochart, both internal and external.

You might ask: why this template? The answer, in Marta’s words, is very simple: “It’s clean and minimalistic.”

First, it only uses uses three main colors: yellow, white, and gray.

untitled-infographic_20151012223251_1444689171840_block_1

Second, there’s a ton of white-space, making it feel very “airy” and spacious. Elements can be easily removed, which creates space for small lines of text. Remember, though – if there’s plenty of space, don’t try to fill it out with other elements. Always go the other direction and try to tone things down. Less is more, always!

Thirdly and finally, it contains very few elements. Just some texts with lines, circular icons with numbers, and two types of charts.

All in all, the 2015 Resolutions template is flexible enough for almost any presentation or infographic. It helped Marta create this deck of slides, and this presentation for a training, as well as small flyers for our new hires such as this one.  

But how to select your own?

Selecting The Perfect Template For You

Piktochart has over 400 beautiful templates you could use. With so many high-quality designs, picking one and only one can be challenging. Personally, I’m not sure if I could just pick one!

Still, there are 3 steps you could try.

The first step is to make sure that you are picking a flexible and versatile template. Anything from the Beginners or the Visualized Article layouts works like a charm. Try to avoid Comparison, Timelines, or photo infographics, as you’ll lock yourself in those styles.

Correct infographic layouts

The second rule is prioritizing content over data. Although Data infographics are great for simplifying copious quantities of data, make sure the template you pick has enough room to illustrate any subject, and not just scientific studies or yearly business reports.

Correct infographic layouts

Finally, and most importantly, pick a template you personally love. If you pick a template with colors, typography, and an icon-style that you love, you won’t need to change everything every time you start a new design.

Now that you know how to pick yours, let’s take a first-hand look at how Marta repurposed 2015 Resolution to create an informative and educational presentation.

Designing The Art of Listening

The beauty of the 2015 Resolutions template is you can use it to visualize any article or give a presentation on any subject.

This time, Marta was doing a presentation on The Art of Listening. She selected her favorite template, opened this TED talk and this article to use as sources, and started working. Here’s what she did, step-by-step.

First, she modified the first block, which is the Header. She got rid of the existing one by using a little-known Pikto hack: pressing CTRL+A (or Command A on Mac) to delete all the elements at once .

Then, Marta proceeded to add a title, a shape and a stunning photo she had uploaded before. To make sure all elements shared the same colors, she copied the hex codes of other elements used in the template (yellow and gray).

Cool tip: Decrease the opacity of your shape to make it blend better with the background.

For the body, Marta went berzerk and did a lot of copying, deleting, and repurposing of blocks!

To create the second block, she took the third block from the original template and, using arrows on the left toolkit, moved it up. Then she deleted all the unnecessary elements like scissors, shapes, and that elegant ribbon.

After that, Marta made the chart much smaller and did some modifications using Pikto’s chart editor – like adding custom values and removing the unnecessary legend from the original chart. Then, she cloned the chart to make a second one and also edited its values.

For the third block, Marta cloned her own second block, and deleted all the charts. Then she edited the title, and added a  fun photograph of kids. She closed it by copying and pasting text from the previous block and changed its color and size.

The fourth block was simple: Marta reused the second block from the original template and did some slight modifications: changing its title and subtitle, and colors, and deleting all the icons. Finally, she added a .png photo of a woman. As .png files have no background, it worked really well.

The next two were even easier. Marta re-used the second block again, and removed the icons from the circles and moved the texts inside. Again, she changed their color from yellow to gray, enlarged the gray background and the title.

For blocks seven to ten she cloned her fifth block and deleted all the elements, just emphasizing on one. She enlarged it and added text next to it, as you can see in the GIF.

Finally, Marta closed the presentation with a footer, repurposing the 10th block by cloning it, making it shorter, and adding text to it with her sources – the TEDx talk, and a CNN article.

The Art of Listening

Want to create an infographic just like this? Here’s the template we used: 2015 Resolution.

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