Teaching Infographics

I’m planning a mini unit about infographic design for the middle school students. We are going to start with an ‘About Me’ project to learn the elements of graphic design. As a bonus, the kids are looking for an interesting and attractive visual for the home page of their ePortfolio websites – I’m hoping this can fill that need.

While reading through other Course 3 posts, I found an excellent infographic on design principles that I will use to introduce the elements of CARP.

Image courtesy of Reid Wilson @wayfaringpath

To help them understand The Big Four, I will provide some printouts of others’ personal infographics. The kids will work in groups to find and label examples of contrast, alignment, repetition, or proximity. Because these students are prone to over decorate their portfolio pages, I will also prompt them to look deeper into the color schemes and texts.  In addition to a couple relevant examples on 9 Dynamic Digital Resumes that Stand Out from the Crowd, here are samples of what I will provide for analysis:

Image courtesy of Visual.ly
Image via Ioanna @ioannakoliou.com/about-me/

One of the challenges will be the understanding that every choice of the designer, from colors to images, was for a reason. Each element must symbolize or communicate something. For instance, we can look at how they used colors in this infographic to show where the changes are happening in the body:

How Quitting Smoking Changes Your Body
Image via Visual.ly


Our next step will be to sketch out some basic plans on paper. As a class, we should be able to look at our examples and create a list of details that everyone should include, as well some optional categories like interests and skills.

Before they get too far into an actual design, I will need to show them the tools. I’ll give them the choice of  PiktoChart, Easel.ly, or Google Drawings. With Google Drawings, to avoid clicking and copying, I will also need to include instructions of how to use sites like Font Squirrel, DAFonts, free clip art, or images licensed for reuse. Since they are all basic design programs, I won’t want them to get too far into drawing their design and then being disappointed that it can’t be recreated. I chose these three sites because they were the least confining if you already had a vision in mind and they all have the option to start from a blank page in order to practice their new CARP skills.

Here is a basic example I quickly made on a Google Drawing and can add to during instruction. 

We’ll see how it goes and I’ll be sure to post an update here about changes I had to make. And of course, I’d appreciate feedback or ideas you may have thought of reading my plans.