Paid Sick Days for American Workers: An Infographic

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with ThinkProgress and this is for solely educational purposes.

Brands are constantly trying to find new ways to convey information to a quick-skimming audience in an interesting manner. Along with an increase in video content (see last week’s assignment), infographics—images that take information and represent it graphically—are gaining in popularity.  Infographics are eye-grabbing, and they break down data into charts, diagrams and imagery that viewers can easily digest. For my Design Showcase this week, I was assigned to create an infographic based off of this ThinkProgress article, which describes Obama’s proposed Healthy Families Act. The act aims to enforce that full-time workers should be able to earn paid-sick days, as the U.S. is the only developed country that does not already have such a program in place.

I have never created an infographic before, so the process initially seemed a bit overwhelming. I began by going to Pinterest and looking at infographics of all kinds for inspiration on how to separate information, what kind of charts are popular, how text is chunked and so on. When I felt ready to start, I pasted my article into a word document, highlighted any information that I wanted to include and then separated the data by a hierarchy of bullet points. I took information from the original article as well as this second article, which is linked though in the first. I thought that stressing the length and intensity of the average American workweek really helped to stress why it’s important that full-time workers should have access to paid sick days.

In the end, I decided to divide the data into four main areas, excluding my header and footer. The first discusses how few Americans currently have access to paid sick days. The second emphasizes the intensity of the workweek. The third deals with maternity leave, since Obama plans to sign a memorandum that will give federal employees paid sick days for the birth of a child if the act is passed. The fourth and final section describes the effects of the act.


When I was developing the actual layout, I selected a color scheme and typeface and moved forward from there. I wanted consistency with flat icons but created some variation by playing with their opacities. I used the pen tool to create the semi-circles in the first panel that represent the percentage of Americans with paid leave benefits. This was probably the most difficult part of the assignment, as the pen tool is still new to me and I really struggled with forming the shapes that I wanted. My favorite imagery is in the third panel, which depicts the minimal amount of countries that do not require paid maternity leave as a few drops of milk in the bottom of a baby’s bottle. I wanted to get the statistic across in a creative way that immediately conveys the point.

Overall, this proved to be one of the more time-consuming projects I have completed this semester. It has also been one of my favorites, because I was able to take information and completely develop exactly what I wanted to say and how I wanted to show it from the bottom up. I have been wanting to take a stab at infographics for a while, and I am happy with my results.

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