One current trend in holiday cards that I can’t get enough of is the infographic-style newsletter. It’s fun, it’s light, it’s informative, and it’s just the right amount of info for your card recipients to enjoy quickly before resuming the holiday hustle and bustle. If you’re interested in creating your own infographic newsletter, then a good handle on Illustrator, Photoshop, or Photoshop Elements is a must! If you know the basics of any of these programs, then you should have all it takes to quickly put together a stand-out infographic newsletter this year, as the perfect back-side to one of our holiday photo card templates. Just follow these steps!
Simple enough, right? Need a little more help? Here’s some extra info on each of these:
1) Choose your color palette. Keep it simple; 4 colors or a few more if you’re doing graphs. Resist the urge to make your infographic a rainbow of information. You are presenting a lot of information, so you want to keep it as simple as possible. Keeping a small color palette helps the viewer to make sense of the information you are sharing, while too many colors confuses and overloads your viewer.
2) Choose 1–2 typefaces. Pick a simple typeface with various weights. The worst mistake you could make is to clutter your infographic with an overload of typefaces. Trust me on this. The simpler you go, the better. I would choose one sans serif typeface that has a variety of weights, and that has condensed or extended options. This will give you more flexibility as you’re laying out your design, since you NEVER want to stretch text out of proportion to make it fit a certain space. Use weights to help you fill the space! (We have a great typography class if you need to learn more about working with type!)
Because these are holiday infographics, then in addition to a clean sans serif typeface, I would be okay with a nice script as well, but keep it to an absolute minimum. Use it as a nice accent, but don’t try to let it take center stage. Use it subtly.
3) Assemble family facts. Keep it brief, entertaining, and informative. Talk with your family about the highlights (or throw in some lowlights for humor or to keep it real!) that you’d like to share. Because this is an infographic, think about facts that you can share that lend themselves to numbers, graphs, or icons.
4) Find or create icons. You’ll need Photoshop or Illustrator. I do 100% of my creation work in Illustrator. To create your own icons, you’ll need a pretty good base in Illustrator or Photoshop. But you can use other icons, if you can find them! I’d like to share with you the set that I have created specifically for these holiday cards. I’ve included both Illustrator and Photoshop versions, depending on the program that you use!
Also, in Illustrator, I can create a pie chart very easily by using the polar grid tool, which is nested beneath the line segment tool. You will want no concentric circles, and then choose your number of radial dividers. Once you’ve created your polar grid, simply make it into a Live Paint Group (Object > Live Paint > Make) and use the Live Paint Bucket (K) to color in the sections.
5) Use numbers and headings. You don’t need icons. If you don’t have them, just use lots of big numbers and big headings. Remember, DON’T STRETCH YOUR TEXT OUT OF PROPORTION.
6) Lay out info and add lines. This part should take a bit of work to find the right layout and the right balance of information. You might have to cut out some things that you’d planned to include, or you might need to add a couple more items of interest to fill the space. To add lines, Illustrator’s Stroke Palette has great line options, especially versions CS5 and newer. Use solid lines, dotted lines, dashed lines, arrows, and more! But don’t do all of them in the same design, silly.
7) Don’t forget the photo. Ultimately receiving a holiday card with graphics and text only is going to be a bit of a let down. Remember to include a photo! People who haven’t seen you in years want to see what you and your family look like. I’ve made a variety of photo card templates, all of which would look GREAT with an infographic newsletter on the back! So nab one of these designs (all of which already have an option for a patterned back!). It will take you 2 minutes to put in your photo and family info on the front, and then you can pour all your energy and creativity into creating a memorable infographic newsletter on the back!
Good luck! We’d love to see what you come up with. Feel free to upload your infographic to our Facebook timeline so that we can see!