We’ve all seen more than a few professionally designed infographics that convey more in a single webpage download than an entire 10 page article about some subjects. Infographics are perfect means to convey information and data analysis on the web, though it does take significant planning and powerful graphic design skills to create a compelling visual.
But for those of us who lack those skills or even an advanced design software, a new site called Easel.ly, might be a very useful way to get your feet wet with infographic design, even if you just want to create a down-and-dirty visual, like the one I produced for this article.
How Easel.ly Is Set Up
In its beta stage, Easel.ly is a web application which allows you to select and drop themes, backgrounds, objects, and text onto your canvas to create visuals. After you register with the site (so you can save your work), you can start from scratch with a blank canvas, or you can edit an existing theme.
All the tools and objects for your visual graphic are accessed from the Easel.ly menu bar. The opening canvas points to those features, and it is the place where you get started. However, you will of course want to have researched your topic, made sense of your data, and thought about what theme you want to use to convey that information.
If you’re like me and you don’t have the skills or the time to create an infographic from scratch, Easel.ly provides several dozens infographics that you can choose from as a template to get started. For the purpose of this review, I chose a simple theme of circles and arrows.
In Easel.ly, you click the “Vhemes” button to open the current collection of themes and select one to drop onto your canvas. (Notice also there’s a handy Clear button in the menu bar to wipe clean your canvas for a new project.)
One way you can think about themes is based on how you want to convey your data, e.g., compare and contrast (Angel vs. Venture), statistical by geographic region (World Oil Consumption), chronological information (Top Songs: 1940s – 2010s), or simple point-by-point information, like the visual above.
Editing Existing Themes
To edit a theme, you can easily select any item on the canvas and delete or relocate it. Unless you have worked with graphical online applications like Easel.ly before, you may not realize you can select and move items on the webpage, i.e. your canvas.
So for example when you want to change existing text in a graphic, just double-click on the text to open the text box. This is similar to most word processing applications tools for changing and resizing font styles. There’s only about 20 font styles available in Easel.ly, but that’s plenty to choose from to get started.
The same types of edits can be made for shapes and objects, just select or add items from those tool sets. Notice also there’s a Duplication tool (the double-circle) icon for copying and pasting objects. There are also tools to change the color and layer position of any item, including the background.
Unfortunately, there’s no automatic save in Easel.ly, so you will need to save your work in the event of a browser crash as you work. Your visuals are of course saved to your account, where they can be re-opened and edited. You can download your projects as a JPG file or share them online via a web link. Likewise, you can click “public” and share your visual on the Easel.ly repository.
To create another infographic, click on the “start fresh” icon in the listings of Public Visuals.
Let us know what you think of Easil.ly. And for other infographic related articles, check out these: