When the infographic becomes the marketing tool

This week I have been taking some time to reflect on the use of infographics as a tool, not only in the classroom – but also in marketing. This time of year is a huge push at our school for enrollment. As a small, alternative K-8 school, enrollment is a huge priority for us. How do we make ourselves stand out in a crowd of other schools? I know what to say when a prospective family comes to visit – I have those keywords down. But how do I turn this elevator speech into marketing material that can be handed out to these parents? What are those keywords or images that sum us up as an amazing school?

So instead of finding an infographic for my classroom, I have challenged myself to use a variety of google suite tools to create an infographic that tells our story, doesn’t make the “bad infographic” list and makes us stand out from the crowd! Once I have created this – I know it will be an excellent tool for us to use in a number of different ways.

As I searched through the hundreds of infographics online that show innovative education, I realized that you do need to find the balance between color, contrast, words, flow, and information. Images or short bullet points are great – because our brains process it much quicker than words strung together.

I checked out 13 incredible tools for creating infographics, which contains a wealth of information on different sites to use. What’s nice about this article is that they have selected their top tools and apps for making infographics. They list both free and paid options and some that are even suitable for non-designers because the templates and other features make them so easy to use. After playing around on some of these websites I decided to use Canva and Google slides to create my infographics.

Because these will be posted on social media and used as marketing material for our school, I ended up designing and creating them and then working closely with our graphic designer to “brand” them in our Phoenix School style. Here is my first attempt using Canva.

At first, I was really excited – but after looking at it multiple times I realize it’s pretty bland. It tells a story, with those keywords, but I am not sure it is a “grabbing” as I would want it to be. To me, it doesn’t really tell our story the way I wanted my infographic to. I am not sure it sets us apart, the way that I really see ourselves being set apart. So I set out to redesign! I did, however, find that Canva was super easy to use, it has loads of options, so much that it was almost overwhelming to choose which one to use! I could change colors, adapt shapes, change the layout and play with the structure really easily, which was wonderful.

So my second attempt was using Google Slides. I found this almost easier to use as there is no template – so I just found something to inspire me and away I went. I was really inspired by Sonya Terborg‘s website and her resume. So much that we are going to challenge our students to create their own “story” or “resume” about themselves using Google suite tools. She really captures your eyes with shapes, symbols, short sentences, and keywords. She sums herself up well, including her accomplishments, her philosophy, and passions. She presents it in a visually pleasing way that makes you want to read more. I know if I came across this in a stack of resumes, I would TOTALLY want to hire her just based on her creativity and obvious technology skills alone! My favorite part of her resume is the circle with the WHY, WHAT, HOW! It’s just so meaningful.

I found a TedTalk video on this – explaining just how clever marketing targets these three things, and how most companies have it backward!

So here is my design number two using Google Slides.

I like this one a lot better. It allows us to use many more words that describe our school, including our Why, How and What, which is really important in differentiating us from other schools. It’s basic and simplistic, but effective. I do wonder if there is not enough graphics – but at this moment I am not sure where to incorporate pictures.

Overall I found that Google slides were easier to use – and less overwhelming. There were no templates so I just took inspiration from other infographics and combined these ideas into my own design. It also enabled me to set the size of my infographic. I do believe what I created is not the “traditional” size of an infographic – so maybe it can not even be called one, but I was working with a size that I wanted!

I do think using infographics in the classroom is a wonderful idea and even challenging students to create their own. When thinking of using them with students I found this video and website helpful to explain to students the different types of infographics and how they would put their plan together.

And this image, from How to Make Infographics With Students: Recap & Replay, really sums up the value the students can get out of creating their own infographic.

From here I am going to continue to work on my infographics and hopefully be posting them socially very soon, once they are approved by our board! I would love to hear your feedback on my infographics – the good and the bad, please! I would also be interested to hear if you have made infographics with your students before. What are some of the challenges and successes you have had? Do you have a favorite tool that you use with your students?


2 comments to “When the infographic becomes the marketing tool”
2 comments to “When the infographic becomes the marketing tool”
  1. Dear Mistral,
    I am so glad I chose your posting to comment on. I have really enjoyed how you have described the process to create an infographic with a real purpose in mind: to promote your school. More and more I am beginning to see how we, COETAIL cohort9, are taking more the role of creators. The same as you, course three has given me the design principles to feel more confident about creating my own designs and to feel more comfortable about “learning in public.” This phrase “learning in public”, I first heard it used by Doug Neill on his website Verbal to Visual (highly recommended.) This is what he says:

    “Why learn in public? To deepen your understanding of your work, to create a reviewable archive of it, to connect with others along the way…When you learn in public, you do that. You share your skill development and your works in progress online, even before you think you’re ready.”

    In addition, to “learn in public”, as you have done in your post, allows others to recognized that the process of learning isn’t linear and that there may be some bumps in the road to get to the final product. In a way, by being transparent, you encourage others to take risks.

    The final infographic for your school is so easy to read. I like the phrase, “Training students for jobs that don’t even exist today”, which really sends the message of how you are aware of the ever-changing world we live. I also like your choice of colors and small icons: very minimalistic. I would recommend making the actual document a bit bigger on your blog; I had a hard time reading the fine print.

    I am going to study Sonya Terborg’s work very closely since I chose to redesign my resume as the final project for course3. Wish me luck!

    Have a wonderful week and continue to share your learning with us!

    Carolin Escobar

  2. Hey Mistral!

    You’ve got some really awesome resources provided in this post! I will definitely be using some of them in a lesson I’d like to do with my classes on infographics.

    I like your second infographic that you did on Google slides (it’s a bit hard to read/see the smaller text even when I zoom in, maybe you can make it a bit bigger?) It gives more info and tells more about the school which is what I would want to see if I were thinking about sending my child there. The first one, while it looks nice, leaves me with more questions and wanting to know more specifics about each of the points made.

    Awesome job playing around with making your own though! I’ve used Canva a lot before, but have not yet done an infographic on Google Slides so I’ll have to play around and try that.

    I was also really inspired by Sonya Terborg’s resume post and I clicked on your link and see that she just recently updated the resume again with some nice subtle changes! I’m going to be working on sprucing up my resume this week as well, it’s hard not to want to copy her template and ideas, but I’m going to try to make it my own in some other ways!

    I found this step-by-step guide for how to create an infographic (for beginners) so you won’t need it as you’re quickly becoming a pro, but it might be helpful for some of your students! http://blog.visme.co/how-to-make-an-infographic/

    Thanks for the great post! Looking forward to seeing what you do for the final project!

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