Infographic Assignment

Understand the three deliverables associated with the infographic assignment. Get a sense of the big picture regarding expectations.

Note: Infographics are visual representations of information that are intended to present information quickly and clearly. The Infographic Assignment is a three-week long module in Professional Writing, an undergraduate course.

Welcome to The Infographic Assignment.

Note: You may choose to work on this project by yourself, with a partner, or as part of a three-person design team.

This project focuses on:

  • analyzing the audiences and purposes for visual texts
  • locating credible sources of statistical (quantitative) data
  • interpreting quantitative data and using it honestly and ethically
  • using your data to tell a story (provide background information or persuade your audience) that is clear, well-defined, engaging, and ethical

This project has three deliverables:

  1. A Rhetorical Analysis Memo to your instructor that analyzes the rhetorical context for an infographic you’d like to develop
  2. A draft of the infographic
    1. use at least 2 data sets (3 sets for teams)–and provides citations
    2. has at least one original graphic
    3. has one original chart, table, or graph
    4. tells one story
  3. A memo to your instructor justifying design choices.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. help you successfully plan an infographic for personal, school, or workplace contexts. 
  2. provide you additional opportunities to sharpen your declarative knowledge rhetorical reasoning competencies
  3. help you determine the best design for your infographic.
  4. remind you of intellectual property guidelines governing the use of images.

By the time you’ve completed this module, you’ll be able to

  1. Locate credible sources of quantitative (numbers, statistics) data on a topic of interest to you
  2. Plan a document that informs and persuades a specific target audience
  3. Select appropriate data visualization strategies to represent different types of quantitative data
  4. Evaluate and select production tools that are appropriate for your skill level and the demands of your communication task
  5. Use your document design and text formatting skills to design a mostly visual text
  6. Revise and edit a visual text
  7. Provide effective, professional feedback
  8. Make effective use of feedback from colleagues and supervisors
  9. Report on your own learning progress following memo conventions

Rhetorical Analysis

Step 1: Analyze Infographics as a Medium and Genre.

Do an internet search for infographics on topics of interest to you. Do a bit of preliminary research. Engage in rhetorical analysis: question how infographics are being used in social, personal, school, and workplace contexts.

Step 2: Submit a Rhetorical Analysis for an Infographic

This step is governed by invention processes. Your goal for this step is not to critique but to invent, to engage in thoughtful analysis about your rhetorical situation. Now is the time to find multiple datasets on a topic of interest. As you interrogate possible datasets, look for interesting and surprising trends in the data. What are differences and similarities across multiple datasets? Can you see a cause/effect relationship in the data? What interesting stories can you infer from your interpretation of the datasets?

While the audience for infographics might be thought of as “general audience,” there really is no such thing as a “general audience,” so you’ll need to be specific about who you’re target audience is, why you’re directing your message to them, and the specific strategies you use to engage them.

Step 3: Review Intellectual Property Law Regarding Images

Images, like words, are subject to strict copyright laws. Corporations fiercely protect their logos, trademarks, and visual property.

Review policies regarding Copyright and Fair Use Laws governing Intellectual Property. Follow ethical and legal standards for using visuals in your infographic.

[ How to Use Creative Commons Images ]

Step 4: Develop Your Infographic

  1. Sketch the infographic elements on a plain piece of paper (or other means) before trying to actually create it.
  2. Engage the reader’s interest with an interesting Title and Subtitles
  3. Provide context using copy or visuals
  4. Provide the bibliographical information for the datasets you used.
    1. Use the citation styles your audience would expect (e.g., MLA, APA, or Chicago).
    2. Place the bibliographical information discreetly on the infographic. Use in-text citation or footnotes. Place References/Work Cited list in small font size at the end of the infographic.
    3. Engage in Critical Literacy practices. What is the Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose of the datasets your used?
  5. Guide the reader through the visual language (copy, graphic, photos) in a logical way

Step 5: Critique Your Infographic

Infographics, like traditional texts, are subject to composing processes. As with alphabetical texts, you’ll want to revise and edit your infographic over time.

The video below, The Most Common Design Mistakes Made by Non Designers, provides excellent suggestions for identifying common design problems.

Step 7: Submit Your Work