Show and Tell: The Process of Creating an Infographic


Today, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of my process for creating an illustrated graphic. A lot of times when we start projects here, we begin with just paper and pencil, and leave the computer stuff ‘til later. We do this same process for logo design as well.

Recently, we were asked by Eloqua to do the layout and graphics for a new addition to their Grande Guide series. The Grande Guides are a series of PDFs that offer advice on social media marketing.

For their most recent piece, the Grande Guide to Community Management, Eloqua asked us to create a graphic illustrating the many roles a community manager can play in a business.

I started out by making a few sketches of how the graphic could work.


The first version had a central layout with callouts shooting out to the sides.

There were also a couple sketches depicting a stick figure community manager; one in a central format, and one in a vertical layout.

I toyed around with the idea of a literal interpretation of the creative kickstarter idea with a foot kicking a ball, but in the end I decided to go with the lightbulb instead.

I started out by using a Wacom tablet to make a digital sketch of some of the objects, but this had the wrong feel. I wanted to go with something cleaner.


An entirely vector version felt a little too clean.


I did some research on other infographics to see if I could find a style that inspired me. I really like the current trend toward a more hand-drawn feel in infographics. It’s a nice contrast to have on the screen, because it’s still not something you see on the web very often. I particularly like the work design company JESS3 does.

Here’s the first version of what would become the final illustration. Some designers scan their sketches and trace over them on the screen using the tablet, but I prefer to just work from scratch on-screen, using my original drawing as a rough inspiration.  


Eloqua asked for descriptions of each role to be added to the graphic. With the extra content, a vertical arrangement was the best way to fit everything in, as well as fitting the graphic itself into the PDF. Some modifications were also made to the top banner and text.

Here’s the final as it appeared in the Grande Guide. You can download the entire Guide from

Eloqua’s website(hint: it’s #11 in the series).