Tue May 14 2019

A Guide to Creating an Infographic with Illustrator (2/2)

An Adobe Illustrator CC tutorial
⚠ This is the second part of this tutorial. Start with Part One if you’ve missed it!

Ready to continue the creation of your infographic? Let’s get back to our beauty! 💁‍♀️

Content (Part Two)

  1. Adapt your first item to your data
  2. Automate your calculations (Optional)
  3. Adapt all items to your data
  4. Add labels and references
  5. Add a title
  6. Create a new artboard
  7. Choose your colors

Step 9: Adapt your first item to your data

For the European Union item, I have ten full-color cars, which equals to 100%. However, I know I need them to represent 82.9%.

Here is how I do it.

I know that I can represent 80% = 8 full icons
But what is the equivalent of the remaining 2.9% = ??? icon

I know that 1 full icon = 10%. If I find out the icon width in pixels—in other words, the number of pixels representing 10%—I can calculate how wide the remaining 2.9% should be!

To find the icon width, select the icon and open the Properties panel (Window > Properties). Its width is indicated by the “W” in the Transform section. Here, an icon width is 33.247 pixels.

Create a rectangle of the exact same width by writing the dimension in the Properties panel while selecting the rectangle. Keep this rectangle on the side.

We now know that 10% = 33.247 pixels. How about the remaining 2.9% = ??? pixels

You can find it out with a simple Rule of Three calculation:

33.247 * 2.9 / 10 = 9.642 pixels

Duplicate the rectangle and align it over the 9th car icon (the one that should be partially transparent). While keeping it aligned to the left, resize it so that its width is equal to 9.642 pixels (which we’ve calculated just before ⬆).

Duplicate the transparent car icon that we’ve been keeping on the side and align it perfectly under the 9th icon (Right-click > Arrange > Send to Back).

While selecting the opaque car and its accompanying rectangle only, Right-click > Make Clipping Mask. Everything that is not covered by the rectangle (the clipping mask) will be hidden.

And here you go. 82.9% represented visually with icons 🎉

You can simply do the same for the bus and train icons. With the same process, you’ll find out that:

  • for the buses: 9.4% = 31.252 pixels (= 33.247 * 9.4 / 10)
  • for the trains: 7.7% = 25.6 pixels (= 33.247 * 7.7 / 10)

Step 10 (Optional): Automate your calculations

Last step was waaay to easy for you? Well, you can level up your process and save time by automating your calculations in a spreadsheet.

In the next screenshot, I’ve pasted the updated data file to the document directly. On the left (%), I have kept the original data as percents. On the right (px), I have calculated the last appearing icon partial-width for each type of transportation.

For instance, Luxembourg last car icon should be opaque over 10.307 pixels, and transparent the rest of it.

Tip: I’m always highlighting the item I’m currently editing with a red rectangle. This avoids mixing the numbers up 😵

Step 11: Adapt all items to your data

Once you’ve mastered Step 9, reproduce it for all items of your infographic.

Step 12: Add labels and references

Almost there, don’t give up yet!

Add labels and references to your infographic. Make sure to include all the sources and attribution needed.

Don’t rush through this section, as it’s the best opportunity you’ll have to make your infographic as clear as possible. Any additional information or important detail you couldn’t include through your visuals? 🤔

Step 13: Add a title

Some infographics don’t need a title, as their message is clear and strong enough to be conveyed without words. However, a bit of text can often help and strengthen the point that was meant to be made 💪

Step 14: Create a new artboard

Remember, when I told you we would need a new artboard to choose our final colors? Yeah, that was like ages ago… 👵 Well, the time has come!

In the toolbar, select the Artboard tool and click on the New Artboard icon in the top Control panel. Place the new artboard next to your existing one.

Duplicate the Original layer containing your entire infographic and rename it Final. Move the content of the Final layer to your new artboard.

Step 15: Choose your colors 🌈

Are you excited? We are so close to the end! 😆

Hide the Original layer. Select an object with a color you’d like to convert to another one.

In this case, I’ve selected a black object, as I’d like all black objects and text to be displayed as white. Click on Select > Same > Fill Color, that will select all black objects. I simply change their color through the Control panel or the toolbar.


Do the same for all the objects you’d like to recolor… and behold the masterpiece 🎉

Woot, we made it! I think I need a coffee.

Love 😘


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Go back to Part One of this tutorial.