Student Infographic Competition

Student Infographic Competition 2016

For many years, the STC Academic SIG is challenged STC student members to demonstrate their ability to clarify complex data sets and to exercise their creative talents. In 2016, the Academic SIG changed its annual poster competition to an infographic competition. The challenge was to present either of two important aspects of the STC Salary Survey as an infographic. Two winners were chosen. They each had their work published in Intercom magazine as well as received a cash prize. This was a great opportunity to build your professional portfolio! Participants followed these guidelines.

What You Are Creating:

Infographics have become an important delivery mechanism used in the media and across industries. They combine the verbal and visual to quickly relay key insights tell a story,  or draw attention to particular information in more ways than words or data alone.

Submitters can choose one of two most researched aspects of the Salary Survey and will create an infographic that succinctly presents that data in an interesting and appealing way.

  1. Average annual salary levels for technical communicators in the US geographies with the top 10 concentrations of tech com jobs.
  2. The top 10 geographies in the US with the largest change in the number of technical communicator jobs and what the change is. (note, this might include job losses)

Who Can Enter:

Student Members of STC for the 2016 membership year. Students may work alone or in groups of two. If you are not a member, learn how to join here:

Only STC members have access to a free copy of the 2014-2015 Salary Database. After you join or renew, please check your email membership confirmation for details on accessing and downloading the publication, which will contain the data you need to participate in the contest.

How to Submit:

  • Ensure your infographic does not include any personally identifying information
  • Compress and save your graphic as a PDF (minimizes file size)
  • Save file as yourlastname
  • Email to Meloncon at with the subject line: STC Infographic Competition 2016
  • Include the following in the body of the email message:
    • Your full name
    • Classification: undergraduate or graduate
    • Institution
    • Phone number(s)
    • Email

How Will Winners Be Chosen:

A panel of judges, composed of academic and practitioner members of STC, will evaluate the content and design of all submissions. One winner for each of the data categories will be chosen. Key aspects that will be judged are:

  • Clear, accurate, and intuitive presentation of the data. Readers should get the point and the infographic should not be open to multiple interpretations
  • Creativity of design. Infographics should be engaging.
  • Execution of concept
  • Scalability across media. Entries should be scalable for viewing on a website, on a handheld device or in print.


Winning entries will be featured on the STC website and as a complement to the Salary Survey download. Infographics will be published in STC’s award-winning magazine, Intercom. The winner in each category will also receive a cash prize of $250.00 which will be presented at the Summit Honors Reception in Anaheim, CA, on Tuesday, 17 May 2016.

*Winners will also need to sign and return a permission agreement (link to permission form) for STC to use your material on its website and in Intercom magazine.

Who do I talk to if I have questions:

Lisa Meloncon, Meloncon at

What are the technical specifications for the infographic:

Infographics can be created using any tool students like or are experienced with, however all entries should be submitted in .pdf format. Winning entries will be posted on the STC’s website and also will appear in Intercom magazine. Thus, some consideration may need to be made about how it may look when reproduced at a smaller size, a common consideration when creating graphics.

There are several online tools that can help you with creating your infographics, but these tools can also be limiting in the types and kinds of choices they force you to make. Another word of caution: these tools also do not take into account fully ethical considerations of data display, so we urge extreme caution. Using these tools as a starting place and then moving to other more robust image tools such as Photoshop or Illustrator (or open source equivalents) may be your best bet.

Some tools are:

Resources that may be useful:

There are lots of resources out there that lists and do’s and don’ts. Many students have probably taken a visual rhetoric or design class that gave you some solid principles to help get you started. Below are some additional resources for inspiration.

These are two sites that are written and sponsored (so to speak) by their authors to promote their books, but they do contain many useful tips and advice. Also see

Finally, the sections Visualizing Data and What Not to Do from the online text Data + Design are particularly useful. This was formerly posted at