Topics Covered:

Adobe Creative Suite
Shape Tool
Shape Builder Tool
Creating Symbols
Clipping Mask
Text Wrap or Text on a Non-straight Line
Text Wrap on Image
Drop Shadow and Effects & Images
Create Your Own Color Swatches


Through this post, you will learn how to design infographics using Adobe Illustrator. If you look closely, most infographics are made up of simple shapes and symbols. There are tools you can use to create these elements.

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1. Adobe Creative Suite

Given below is the Adobe Illustrator tool bar that would have main tools that you would use to design your infographics-

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If you press and hold any of the tools in this tool bar with the small triangle at the bottom right, it expands into a family of related tools.

You can fill or add a color to the shape by selecting and then using the option called “Fill Color”. To put an outline on your shape you can use the “Stroke Color” option – increase or decrease the thickness by changing the “point value” (pt).

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2. Shape Tool

You simply draw out the shapes and adjust the size. To create a circle, you can use the ellipse tool present under the “Rectangle Tool” when you right-click it (hold the shift key to constrain proportions).

Shape Builder Tool

Combine and overlap simple shapes to create more complex shapes. For example – for an hour-glass type shape, overlap two ellipses with one rectangle and select them all at one time by dragging the arrow around them. This is illustrated below-

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Use the shape builder tool to remove sections. Toggle + and – with the “Alt” or “Option” key. Take help of this video –

Creating Symbols

Menu -> Window -> Symbols

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Once the symbol panel is open, you can click the small box on the upper right corner of the panel, to access additional options. “Open Symbol Library” – you can drag these symbols onto your art board.

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Once you have created a symbol or shape in illustrator – you can use File -> Save for web (JPG or PNG) to save your image with a transparent background and use it in your final infographic.

Clipping Masks

This feature of Illustrator can be used for creating picture in custom shapes. Following are the steps you need to follow to use this tool –

  1. Open your picture in Illustrator
  2. Draw a section in the place of the picture you want visible.Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 3.08.18 PM
  3. Select both the picture and the shape at the same time, right click -> “Create Clipping Mask”.  File -> Save for web -> Save in png for transparent background.Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 3.09.51 PM
  4. Same technique can be used for odd shapes, by drawing custom shapes with the “pencil tool”.
  5. You can also do it with text – Use the Type tool to place your text on top of the image. Go through similar steps for a custom effect. Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 3.13.53 PM


Text Wrap or Text on a non-straight line-

Utilize the “Type on Path” tool to create text in non-straight line. For example – Draw a custom shape or line (path) using the “Pencil Tool” – Switch to the “Type on Path” tool, click on the path, type out your text, and it will follow your path.

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You can also do the same kind of thing for shapes.

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Note: You can use the handles around the text to change the position of your text along the path.

Text Wrap on Image

  1. One way is to use the “text wrap panel” in InDesign –

Start a New Document in InDesign, Place your image into that document (File -> Place). There is a caveat – text wrap can be more successful on certain kinds of images. So to start with – convert your image into a file format that works well for text wrap (i.e psd – photoshop file, or gif etc).

Next – make sure your image is NOT selected on the page (click off of it), then place your text on top of the image. This can be done by using File -> Place, and placing a word document as your text.

Once your text is on top of your image, select the image, but NOT the text. Next, open the text wrap panel.

Window -> Text Wrap
The icons control the kind of wrap it is
The numbers control how close or how far away the wrap is from the edge
Wrap Options can control where on the image it wraps (left side, right side etc)
Contour options control where the wrap starts in relation to the image and what is considered the “edge” (Tip: alpha channel, if available, can provide for a tighter wrap)

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With the image selected – modify your wrap settings until you get the text wrap the way you like it. Once you have successfully gotten the wrap on the image, you can export the file such as jpg and use it in your final document. File -> Export

Drop Shadow and Effects on Images or Shapes-

In Illustrator, if you select a shape or an image, you can put effects on these objects through FX menu option. Effect -> Stylize -> Drop Shadow.

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Create your own color swatches –

You can create custom color swatches and get guidance on color schemes for your infographics based on the images you are using here:  — you upload an image where the camera icon is and use this website as guidance for your color choices or to create custom color pallettes)