Jacqueline Jensen

Community Evangelist | Piktochart

Nearly a year ago, the marketing team at Piktochart launched an idea we had been excited about for some time. Inspired by brands like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Unsplash, our team decided to create an event series to foster community among Piktochart users. Having a global product has many perks – and one of the coolest is that anywhere we go in the world, a Piktochart user is bound to be nearby.

We launched an event series we dubbed #PiktoTour, and the goal was simple — go where the Piktochart community is already thriving, see where we can add value, and let others join in on the fun.

Since the first #PiktoTour in Las Vegas back in August 2015, we’ve seen excitement for the idea of bringing users together grow. And the excitement isn’t just within our team, but from Piktochart users, too! We’ve been in cities like Melbourne, Córdoba, and Barcelona, and events have also been organized by individual users with a passion for spreading the PiktoLove in their neck of the woods.

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Power to the People

Our first user-led event was hosted by P. Karan Jain in Shillong, India. His #PiktoTour event was held a mere 50 days after we launched the idea, and it was a huge success! Inspired by Karan’s hard work, we started telling students who were interested in Piktochart about #PiktoTour — and we offered to support them in organizing an event on their college campuses.

Soon after the event in India, we sponsored user-led #PiktoTour events in Raleigh, North Carolina; Ankara, Turkey; and Willingboro, New Jersey. We were also invited to sponsor an event at Georgetown University.

Ariel Chu is a student at Georgetown who’s pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English and Studio Art. Ariel’s passion for digital art, audiovisual projects, marketing, and design is simply infectious from the moment you speak with her.

“I first started using Piktochart at my job as a marketing assistant in the Office of Campus Activity Facilities (OCAF) in Georgetown to make infographics about policies and procedures that people rarely read,” she said. “I found that breaking down the information into smaller, visually-based pieces was a more engaging way to communicate important information to our audience. I’ve used Piktochart for clubs and my two on-campus jobs.”

We met Ariel through her desire to be a design intern for our team. When the idea of having Ariel move to our home city of Penang ,Malaysia for the summer didn’t pan out, we looked for other ways we could creatively partner with Ariel. At that moment, #PiktoTourDC was born.

Piktochart Comes to DC

“#PiktoTourDC started off pretty simply, with me trying to narrow down a couple topics to present,” recalled Ariel. “I booked the venue through one of my jobs on campus working at the Gelardin New Media Center, and the professional staff there was really helpful and encouraging as well.”

It was smooth sailing for Ariel’s event until a challenge arose that was new to both Ariel and to our team at Piktochart.

“#PiktoTourDC was hosted with Gelardin New Media Center,” explained Ariel. “So when Gelardin received an email from a deaf patron, letting them know that he needed an interpreter, I wasn’t sure what to do.”

Under time constraints, Ariel showed solid, quick decision making skills. First, she tried utilizing Georgetown’s existing school system for hiring an interpreter, but quickly found out that would have taken too long and the event was coming up quickly.

Then, she contacted Gallaudet University, the world’s only institution of higher education devoted to deaf and hard of hearing students, to see if their interpretation department could help. When that didn’t pan out, she tried going one by one down a list of independent interpreters in the DC area – with no luck.

Thinking she might be out of options to make this event accessible for all who wanted to attend, she tried one last avenue. Ariel looked to her network of peers.

“I asked my friend Timothy Loh if he knew anyone I could contact for a deaf interpreter,” she said. “Thankfully, Tim contacted a certified interpreter, Caitlin, who was available to come to the workshop.”

“It was a really tough time for me because I had never addressed issues of accessibility before, and I’m just very grateful that Piktochart was so willing to help out and support me through the entire thing,” she said. “One of the best parts of planning #PiktoTourDC was getting an email from the deaf patron, Stephen, who responded to the news that Piktochart was able to secure an interpreter for him by saying, ‘I knew there was a reason I loved you guys.’

“Despite all the worrying, the emailing, and feeling helpless because I couldn’t help someone who wanted to travel and attend this short workshop, this email was worth it. I think it really goes to show not only how much Piktochart cares about the people who use their tools, but also about the impact that infographics and graphic design has on bringing people together through visual communication.”

“It was amazing to see Ariel’s hard work pay off and make this event something that everyone could enjoy,” noted Piktochart CEO Ai Ching Goh. “In the process of building and marketing Piktochart, it’s always been important to our team to consider everyone’s abilities, from those new to design to the professionally trained. It’s important to our team that we view visual design from as many angles as we can – taking into account every single person who loves Piktochart. We were grateful to have Ariel on the ground in DC making this event welcome to everyone.”

Ariel’s Workshop

To make the most of her time with attendees, Ariel decided to cover basics. Drawing on her design expertise, she decided to focus on color theory and palette selection.

“The workshop was an introductory workshop, and I wanted to touch on topics that might not be covered in a “how to create an infographic” or “how to use Piktochart” kind of workshop,” said Ariel.

“I chose to cover color theory and color palette selection because color is such a powerful tool within graphic design and within communication. I based the bulk of my information on a few very helpful and informative blog posts from the Piktochart blog, and I also applied methods and resources that help me when I’m creating designs in an effort to share my discoveries with others.”

Ariel’s workshop talked about:

  • Graphic design basics (whitespace, layout, color theory)
  • In-depth look at good and bad examples of layout and whitespace
  • Review of the templates available in Piktochart
  • A look into Data Visualization tools within Piktochart
  • Walkthrough and side-by-side creation of an infographic
  • Exploration of Piktochart features

Ariel confessed that as an art major, she wasn’t sure if her attendees would be interested in the same things that are interesting to her.

“People responded really well to the color theory parts! They even asked me if there were other color palette helpers and sites that I routinely use when I work,” said Ariel.

“I think the attendees left the workshop with a firm grasp on how Piktochart works and how to use simple shapes to create amazing designs. I’m happy to say that a few attendees were happy to learn a little theory.”

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(Source: Ariel Chu #PiktoTourDC presentation deck)

“My favorite thing about the Piktochart templates is not how easy it is to use them, but how the designers at Piktochart create them,” explained Ariel. “Sometimes they’ll just combine a few simple shapes together to create something amazing, and once I go into the template and deconstruct everything, I realize that it’s simpler than it seems but still equally as effective.”

In her presentation, Ariel told attendees who want to include data visualization in their next infographic to try using a Piktochart template that already has data visualization elements built-in.

From trying out different chart styles (like vertical bars, pie charts, stacked venn diagrams, or scatter plots) to importing your own data through the Survey Monkey integration on Piktochart, there are many options for displaying data beautifully.

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Ariel’s Experience Using Piktochart

When Ariel shares Piktochart with peers, there are 3 features she is always sure to highlight. They are her favorites and they make her creative process a breeze.

  1. Masking Feature- “The masking feature is really handy since masking stuff in Photoshop takes a little bit longer. Piktochart really does its best to streamline these types of actions, which makes it accessible to everyone.”
  2. Icons and Graphics- “I absolutely love the icons and graphics. To the hardworking team at Piktochart that makes all these wonderful, creative, awesome graphics – thank you! The first time I started using Piktochart, I was kind of wary because I kept thinking, “So all these cool graphics are….free?” I kept looking for the caveat, but I’m still amazed that even within the free version of Piktochart, there are so many ways to make great infographics with the icons that Piktochart creates. My favorite graphics are the astronaut and anything in the Star Wars infographic, though!”
  3. Data Visualization Tools- “I like the data visualization tools. When I was preparing for #PiktoTourDC, I browsed the different bar charts and graphs, and I thought the variety was great. I also like them because it makes visually communicating statistics much easier to understand!”


Tips for the Next #PiktoTour Organizer

When planning #PiktoTourDC, Ariel took time to really get to know her audience. She also was quick to identify what parts of infographics creation excited her the most and what she would be best at sharing with others.

“I would suggest that future campus ambassadors decide what kind of audience they want to teach,” she suggested. “I chose to teach an introductory course, since I wasn’t sure if people knew about Piktochart at Georgetown. I was happily surprised that the people who came to the workshop with previous experience still learned new things at my workshop.”

She also advised reaching out to different groups on your campus to market the event.

“In addition to posting on Facebook and on the Georgetown Class of 2018 group, I also contacted the career center to showcase #PiktoTourDC in their weekly newsletters,” she said. In the past, we’ve also seen campus ambassadors leverage promotion from student groups who share the same interests, like Eda did at #PiktoTourAnkara.

“Finally, I would just tell them to have fun. Piktochart is something that I love using and, at its core, the workshop was just about sharing that passion with others,” she said.

Ariel’s Workshop Materials

Missed #PiktoTourDC but curious to learn more from Ariel? She said attendees of the event asked her for the link to the presentation deck and the notes she was using. When we heard about the excitement, we wanted to share her material with the world, too!

You can take a look at Ariel’s presentation slides and check out her notes as well. She was inspired by Piktochart blog posts about design in addition to her own experiences as an art major at Georgetown University.

“It took me a long time to figure this out, but I finally realized that I would love to work as a graphic designer,” said Ariel. “I’ve always had a bit of trouble verbally explaining myself, but once that pen hits the paper, everything begins to sort itself out. When it’s hard for me to verbalize, graphic design lets me communicate my ideas in a visual manner. And that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

“I’m so grateful to Piktochart for supporting me throughout the whole process of #PiktoTourDC,” she continued. “I loved being able to share my love for graphic design and visual communication to others in the Georgetown community. I’m so happy that Piktochart was amazingly supportive the entire time, from welcoming me on board the PiktoFam and sending me Piktochart swag for the workshop – which all the attendees loved!”

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Are you interested in hosting a #PiktoTour on your campus? We need your help to grow our campus ambassador program and learn with us along the way. Last month, we had a student-led #PiktoTour in Wałbrzych, Poland, and next month we’ll be hosting an event in Belgrade, Serbia!

If you’d like more information about how you can partner with us, email me at [email protected]