How to Create Pictographs and Icon Arrays in Visme

How to Create Pictographs and Icon Arrays in Visme
Nayomi Chibana

Written by:
Nayomi Chibana

May 23, 2017
How-to-Create-Pictographs-and-Icon-Arrays-in-Visme pictograph maker

Statistics visualized with icons and other graphic elements have a unique way of turning otherwise hard-to-process information into bite-sized, engaging figures.

But not everyone has the time or resources to create these from scratch using traditional graphic design software.

This is why Visme recently launched a cool pictograph maker that allows you to translate statistics such as “8 out of 10 people only read headlines” into visual representations and even create bar charts using icons.

Let’s take a look at some of the creative ways you can use this new feature:

RELATED: How to Visualize Statistics Using Data Widgets


Examples of Icon Arrays

Icon arrays simply refer to displays in which icons are used to represent segments of a population, with differences either in shape or color to visualize proportions.

How to Create Pictographs and Icon Arrays in Visme-Global Literacy Statistics pictograph maker

These come in handy when you want to make statistics come alive by adding a human element to them. Take a look at how a figure like “only 3% of people with disabilities are literate” is communicated with greater impact when visualized using human-figure icons.

How to Create Pictographs and Icon Arrays in Visme-2 pictograph maker

For a more understated look, you can also use icons of shapes, such as the circles above, to visualize percentages.

Within Visme’s editor, you can also easily add other graphic elements to reinforce your main point, as is done here with the map in the background.

How to Create Pictographs and Icon Arrays in Visme-3 pictograph maker

One of the advantages of using Visme’s pictograph maker is that you can access thousands of high-quality vector icons, allowing you to further break down a population by visualizing up to three different segments.

For example, here we’ve used icons representing different emotions to visualize job satisfaction among a group of employees.

How to Create Pictographs and Icon Arrays in Visme-4 pictograph maker
Create your own eye-catching icon arrays.Try It for Free

There are also plenty of icons of inanimate objects, such as buildings, which can be used to translate statistics on housing and living conditions into shareable visual statistics, such as in the example above.

You can easily change the color of each segment to match the overall visual theme of your infographic or presentation.


Pictograph Examples

Slightly different from the previous icon array examples, pictographs are visual representations of data using icons in place of typical graphic elements such as bars or segments of a pie chart. Here are a few ways you can use them.

(Please note: The pictographs below do not reflect real statistics and are used here only for the sake of illustrating how to use this new feature.)

How to Create Pictographs and Icon Arrays in Visme-5

Take a look at how we visualized mock alcohol-consumption figures using icons of beer glasses instead of the common and less illustrative bar chart.

How to Create Pictographs and Icon Arrays in Visme-6 pictograph maker

Or find inspiration in this pictograph we made to represent a fictional figure of the number of places visited by the average citizen from each of these countries.

How to Create Pictographs and Icon Arrays in Visme-7 pictograph maker

What about visualizing survey responses? You can also do that by using different icons to represent the proportion of each response relative to the population of survey respondents.

How-to-Create-Pictographs-and-Icon-Arrays-in-Visme-10 pictograph maker
Create your own beautiful pictographs.Try It for Free

The same is done here in this colorful representation of fruit consumption statistics. Also note that Visme’s large selection of icons allows you to choose from a variety of icon styles to fit with  the visual theme of your project.

For example, here we used minimalist outline icons to represent the proportion of each of the different types of fruits students consume at different schools.


Step-by-Step Tutorial

To get started on your own engaging pictographs and icon arrays, simply follow the step-by-step instructions below or watch the video tutorial to create one in minutes.


Video: How to Use Visme's Pictograph Maker

1 Select the icon array tool.

Pictographs-and-Icon-Arrays-in-Visme-toolbar pictograph maker

If you don’t already have a Visme account, you can create one for free at with just your name and email.

Once you’ve selected the type of content you’d like to create -- presentation, infographic or custom dimensions -- you can click on the Charts and Data Widgets icon on the toolbar found on the left side of your screen.

Next, click on the icon array tool to insert it onto your stage within the Visme editor. Then click on the Settings option, found on the top-left of your screen.


2 Search for desired icons.

How-to-Create-Pictographs-and-Icon-Arrays-in-Visme-1 pictograph maker

Search for your desired icon by clicking on the arrow next to the icon in the pop-up window that appears under the Settings option. You can then type in your keyword in the search bar that appears. Once you’ve found the perfect icon to represent your information, simply click on it to insert it into your array.


3 Add a third icon.

Pictographs-and-Icon-Arrays-in-Visme-add-third-icon pictograph maker

If you have three different segments of a population to visualize, you can insert a third icon by clicking on the plus sign to the right of the second icon and follow the same steps as above.


4 Insert number of icons.

Pictographs-and-Icon-Arrays-in-Visme-change-number-items pictograph maker

Then, insert the total number of each population under each icon. If you want to visualize percentages, you can use as little as 10 icons or as many as 100, depending on how they have been calculated or rounded and how much space you want your pictograph to occupy.


5 Adjust number of icons per row.

Pictographs-and-Icon-Arrays-in-Visme-change-number-per-row pictograph maker

Depending on how you want to display your information, you can adjust the number of icons per row. Want to make your array wider? Simply increase the number of icons per row by manually inserting the number or adjusting the slider.

If you want to create a pictograph, rather than an array, you can select your row of icons and copy them by clicking on the Duplicate button to the top-right of your screen. You can do this as many times as you like, depending on the number of rows in your icon-based bar chart, and then customize each following the steps detailed here.


6 Change the color of icons.

Pictographs-and-Icon-Arrays-in-Visme-change-color pictograph maker

You can apply your own colors to your pictograph or icon array by clicking on the color swatch below the icon and either selecting from one of your previously used colors or choosing from any of the color presets available within Visme. You can also save your palette for future use by clicking on the Save Palette option under the Colors tab.


7 Change the order of icons.

Pictographs-and-Icon-Arrays-in-Visme-randomize-option pictograph maker

Additionally, you also have the option of randomizing the order of icons, in cases where you want to display a group of various icons but not in a clearly segmented fashion. Simply activate the Random Order option above the slider in your pop-up window.


8 Publish and share.

How-to-Create-Pictographs-and-Icon-Arrays-in-Visme-Download pictograph maker

Once you’re satisfied with your pictograph or icon array, click on the Publish button at the top of your screen to generate a URL which can then be shared with anyone.

Alternatively, if you’d like to save your visual as an image, you can click on the Download tab from the pop-up window and choose from a variety of file types: JPG, PNG or PDF.


Your Turn

Now it’s your turn to create some beautiful, shareable visual statistics using Visme’s new pictograph maker and icon array tool. You can get started for free here and let us know what you think below!

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    About the Author

    Nayomi Chibana is a journalist and writer for Visme’s Visual Learning Center. Besides researching trends in visual communication and next-generation storytelling, she’s passionate about data-driven content.

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