Dee’s Favorites (Part 2 of 3): Basic Graphic Design Tools

Dee’s Favorites (Part 2 of 3): Basic Graphic Design Tools

The tools I’m going to share with you in this post are some of my favorite to tinker with and explore.  I’ll call this the “fun segment” of this three part series.  We don’t really have a budget for marketing at my library (and I’m guessing a lot of you probably don’t either), but that doesn’t mean we can’t have great looking materials to distribute on our website and in print.  Anything you present to your patrons will be a reflection of your library and will contribute to the overall user experience.  Remember UX from last time?  Everything from your website, to your signage, to your program flyers are part of telling your story.  And let’s face it, you don’t want your story to be clipart and Microsoft Paint, so let’s jump right in.

Design, Document Creation, Infographics, etc.

Canva is probably the best thing I’ve ever stumbled upon.  I use it A LOT, both for work and for personal use.  It’s another tool that I have a hard time believing it’s free.  I’m not a graphic designer.  Design elements don’t exactly come intuitively to me, which means Canva is the perfect tool for me to make great looking graphics for our website and marketing materials.

So, what can you make on Canva?  Just about anything.  Check out my previous post on Canva to learn more.  One update since this post that I love: you can now search template content.  This is a huge improvement!  Did I mention I LOVE CANVA! Continue reading “Dee’s Favorites (Part 2 of 3): Basic Graphic Design Tools”

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Visualizing Data

Visualizing Data

When I was in the Army, there was a surprising amount of focus on the presentation of the intelligence we gathered. In the beginning, I was frustrated. I was young and could not imagine why it mattered so much that our presentation to the higher-ups had to be as clear and simplified as possible. It seemed like a waste of valuable time. I remained skeptical until I started comparing our work to that of some of the other units. It became blatantly obvious how well-manicured presentation of information can help inform the reader quickly and effectively. Since then, I fell in love with the process of synthesizing information into presentable formats.

infographic
Early infographic I made on censorship.

Continue reading “Visualizing Data”

Infographics

Infographics

Let’s talk about infographics!  Infographics are great way to get a message across with visual interest.  I especially like to use infographics when I teach library instruction classes.  I find that if I can give my students handouts highlighting the key points of our discussion, they pay more attention and are more interactive throughout the class.  I suspect this is because they aren’t frantically trying to write down everything I say.  I’ve also learned that it’s important how the information is presented.  When I first began teaching instruction classes, I gave my students WAY too much information.  Trust me, they aren’t going to read a packet full of library information.  They might even leave it sitting on the table when they leave.  (Ouch!)   However, they will almost always take a cool infographic with them.

If you’ve read my past posts, you probably know I’m a huge fan of Canva.  Canva is my “go to” when it comes to anything graphic design related.  It’s easy for me, a non-designer, to create a great looking graphic with this program.  Simply choose the infographic template option and start designing.

I’ll mention a couple more options for you if you’re ready to create your first infographic: Piktochart and Venngage.  Piktochart is specifically made for the design of infographics, meaning you can get a little more sophisticated with your layout than with Canva.  You can sign up for free and accomplish just about anything you’d like in a graphic.  Their support and tutorials are fantastic, and I can’t really tell you anything they haven’t already covered.  I suggest you just jump right in and get your feet wet.  Here’s a quick overview of their product.  Once you start playing around, you’ll notice the layout is very similar to Canva. Continue reading “Infographics”