Finding the right software to create an infographic that fits your visual storytelling needs can be difficult. Luckily, I tried out some of the top-rated ones for you. Canva, Piktochart, and Visme are highly rated in the IOT, and each one offers a unique experience depending on what you are trying to create, and for whom you are creating it.
I am relatively new to this process of creating infographics, and therefore have an objective view of the three platforms I investigated. If you, like me, need to create graphics fast and easily on platforms that have a short learning curve then I recommend one of these three Canva, Piktochart, and Visme. Each of these platforms offers a free experience along with an upgraded monthly paid for service, which gives you even more content to work with.
For the purposes of this post, I tried each of these platforms in their free mode. Let’s take a more detailed look at the functionality of these websites.
The first thing I would like to mention about Canva is that this platform is not used specifically for making infographics. This site offers a myriad of different templates for creating things like Facebook Posts, Presentations, Logos, Business Cards, and many more. I have been using the presentation portion of Canva for some time now but have never used it for infographics.
When you first visit the Canva page, it offers a very ‘new age’ home screen, and from the start, it is easy to use. After you create an account and choose infographics, they bring you to a page with a blank graphic, and numerous templates to choose from, or you can also choose custom dimensions. The templates are labeled as free, or they let you know how much each one costs to use.
If there is any doubt at this point about how to use this platform, there is a help button at the top left that will help get you back on your way to creating something beautiful.
The features on the left side also offer an elements option which includes things like graphs, royalty-free photos, grids, shapes, illustrations, etc. It then goes down the list to text, which gives you plain text or pre-made groupings to choose from.
You can also change the background of your graphic, and like the templates section, and they offer you multiple free templates from which to choose. Alternatively, you can upload your own design. Designs can be layered or moved from back to front depending on how you want them placed on the graphic.
Canva offers a lot of free content to choose from, and it gives any creator the ability to easily find ways to be creative in their visual story. In the event that the creator wants to collaborate, Canva offers an easy solution. Simply hit the share button and enter people's email addresses, connect it to social media, grab a link, or copy code to embed somewhere. You can also download it as a PNG, JPG, or PDF, along with presenting it straight from the site.
To sum up, here are the pros and cons for Canva:
Canva is by far the easiest infographic platform to use. It is straightforward, easy to find free content to use, offers lots of sharing and downloading options, and easily answers questions during creation. Additionally, I love that it autosaves what you have created in case your cat decides to close the browser for you unexpectedly. Any company should be able to utilize Canva’s free version without really needing to upgrade. Since Canva is so simple and straightforward, it offers a lot of freedom for expression. However, unlike Visme it does not offer video or analytic data. Here is the result:
I would like to mention here that Piktochart also offers multiple presentations. It, however, offers fewer options than Canva. You can create infographics, presentations, and printables, i.e. flyers and posters, although you should check with your printing vendor’s dimensions before choosing their printable templates. You can also expand the bottom of your infographic to make it as long as you like. Canva does not offer this, but Visme does.
After signing up and clicking on the infographic button, they bring you to a page where you have a few templates to pick from. There aren’t as many templates in the free version, and you have to ‘Level Up’ and use the pro version to fully utilize their pre-made layouts. They offer the same categories of items that we saw with Canva, but the graphics you can use are less rudimentary and are more colorful in the free version. You can also upload any image or graphic you want, or choose from for their large collection of free graphics if any sparks your imagination. They have limited offerings of free images, but you can just as easily upload an image from a royalty-free site.
For those of you who have limited design background, Piktochart provides some templates with photos and in color schemes. You can choose the colors around what you want your template to be focused on, and it will automatically change some of the graphics to fit that scheme.
The charts option does require some time for exploration because they offer almost every chart imaginable. You can even upload data from your Google Drive, SurveyMonkey, and Excel. My favorite feature is the chatbot who checks on you throughout your process and is always live to answer any questions you may have.
Overall, Piktochart is easy to use. A few downsides include the inability to collaborate through sharing and limited exporting options under the free version, all of which is available in Canva.
To sum it up, here are the pros and cons for Piktochart.
With what Piktochart offers it seems that any business could utilize this site without having to upgrade. The only issue may be collaboration, sharing, and downloading. This may cause inconveniences for a larger business, but less applicable in a smaller setting. They offer a huge selection of graphics to choose from that will meet any visual storytelling needs. I would consider this and Canva to be almost equal on the learning curve, and both equally as useful in the presentation world. Here is the result:
At first glance, Visme is a website created like Canva. It offers a wide variety of items you can create such as Social Media Posts, Menus, Flyers, Presentations, etc. It offers more items than Piktochart does, including the option to create custom dimensions as well. You can expand the bottom of the infographic to make it as long as you like. A downside is that you can only create a few free graphics before you have to upgrade and pay to create more.
At first glance, this site seems daunting. While it is easy enough to choose the template with which you’d like to start, the tools are labeled in a slightly confusing manner. After clicking on what you need, it brings up a screen that offers some help as to where to find items on their page, but this is hardly helpful. They do have a help section that is easy to find at the top of the page.
After having spent 30 minutes or more, this website is still confusing. It is definitely more difficult to use than Canva or Piktochart. They do offer more features to create advanced infographics, but that also makes their site more complicated to use. They also offer analytical data, which makes their site more valuable if that is what you’re looking for with an infographic.
The elements along the side are set up in the same way as the others, Canva and Piktochart. It includes basics (font/text, graphs, and figures), graphs, data, media, theme, and uploaded files. The downside to their pre-made groupings is that they are difficult to change. However, it is equally as difficult to make your own groupings.
Just like Piktochart, they offer a large quantity of graphics; however, you have to pay for most of the interesting and useful ones. They do offer a library of royalty-free photos to use, which is nice. They boast having a library of over 500,000 photos.
On another note, when you add items to the infographic, they snap to a grid and are nearly impossible to move around without it bringing other objects along for the ride. This interface is difficult to use and not as user-friendly as the other two platforms.
Additionally, the only available free exporting option is JPG. Sharing is also not available under the free version, but you can publish it to the web and get a sharable link.
To sum up, here are the pros and cons for Visme.
Visme is by far the hardest platform to use out of the three. It does offer more features, most of which requires purchasing. The free version is comparable to a demo and not intended for actual business use, especially for a larger organization. The upside to Visme is the built-in analytic data which allows you to see graphic views. Here is the result:
As we can see, none of these platforms hit all the desired points when used for free (which is to be expected), but depending on what you are trying to accomplish, one of them will fit the bill. If you want to pay to use one of them, I would recommend Piktochart because it offers everything Canva does plus video and sound capabilities, with an easy to use interface. Each of these platforms works well and offers a lot. Your preference will depend on your skill level as a designer, what you are looking for in a design platform, and what you are ultimately trying to create.
Qinghua Lao & ERC team