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What is the Difference Between Data Visualizations and Infographics?

persuasive infographic about climate change

A persuasive infographic published by The World Bank about climate change.

Infographics and data visualizations are not necessarily different. Rather, an infographic is a type of data visualization. Like other data visualizations, infographics aim to communicate information more clearly, but they are often created with a number of additional goals in mind. Infographics are usually meant to be entertaining and illustrative. It is also common for infographics to narrate a story and/or attempt to persuade the audience of a specific message or argument.

How Do I Create an Infographic?

Because of their illustrative nature, Infographics are usually made using design software like Adobe Illustrator. You will likely need some basic understanding of design concepts to create a successful infographic. The Design Lab at the Undergraduate Library provides an excellent guide for getting started with infographics.

Accessibility Tips

Make your infographics accessible with these easy tips: Avoid using small font, stylized fonts for paragraphs, and white text on dark backgrounds. Do use high-contrast colors for text and images. Additional tips from the pictochart website.

Tools for Creating Infographics

infographic made in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard for creating illustrations including infographics and illustrative diagrams. It will take a lot of learning and practice to become well versed in Illustrator, but doing so will enable you to design many types of beautiful graphics for data visualizations and beyond. UNC students can get a free subscription to Adobe Cloud while faculty and staff can obtain one by request.

infographic made with microsoft powerpoint

Microsoft PowerPoint

PowerPoint can be a less intimidating tool for those who are used to working in Microsoft Office. Powerpoint allows the creation of charts and graphs from copied and pasted data, and it includes many shape tools that can be used to develop infographics and diagrams when applied creatively.

infographics template from canva


Canva is a web-based design tool with a free pricing plan that includes special features for creating infographics such as customizable templates, chart building tools, stock photos and illustrations. Canva also allows you to download PDF versions of your infographics.