Information graphics (or infographics) are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.In research it has been proven that messages will have higher memory recall if they are presented visually as images rather then verbally through words.
The famous map of the London Underground subway system is an archetypal example of visual code using a language of colour and line to convey complex information: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/projectsandschemes/2443.aspx .
The following simple & free tools + resources will help you research and create infographics which can be used as assets for marketing & link building:
1. The Consumer Barometer (brought to us by TNS, IAB and Google) shows what role online sources can play in the consumers' journey from consideration / research to actual purchase. It allows users to create their own graphs / infographic images for free quickly and easily. It allows users to segment data according to demographic and activity whilst shadowing shoppers from their mobile device / PC to the store. The Consumer Barometer is an interactive tool that covers 39 countries across 36 product categories: http://www.consumerbarometer2013.com/ .
2. http://import.io/ can be used to transform information from the web into useable data for free by turn any website into a table of data or an API in minutes without writing any code
They provide a scalable solution that allows you to create, manipulate and explore Data Sets. You can use the info to inform business decisions, feed data visualizations / infographics, and power apps.
3. http://www.freebase.com/ is a large collaborative knowledge base consisting of metadata created mainly by its community members. It is an online collection of structured data harvested from many sources, including individual 'wiki' contributions. It aims to create a global resource which allows people (and machines) to access common information more effectively.
Freebase data is available for free/libre for (non-)commercial use under a Creative Commons Attribution License, and an open API, RDF endpoint, and database dump are provided for programmers.
4. http://www.google.co.uk/publicdata/directory The Google Public Data Explorer makes large datasets easy to explore, visualise and communicate.
6. http://www.theguardian.com/data – Data journalism and data visualisation from the Guardian.
7. http://think.withgoogle.com/databoard/#lang=en-us - The Databoard is another free tool from Google that lets you explore insights from Google's research studies & share them with others by creating your own custom infographics quickly and easily.
8. http://www.marketingcharts.com/- Charts and data for marketers in web, Powerpoint and Excel format
9. https://think.withgoogle.com/mobile-purchase-journey/#/ - Yes, yet another free tool from Google to generate charts, images and data on the use of mobile devices in consumers' journey from consideration / research to actual purchase. The Mobile in the Purchase Journey is a global research project commissioned by Google and conducted by TNS.
10. http://www.google.com/drive/apps.html#fusiontables - Google Fusion Tables - A web application that makes it easy to host, manage, collaborate on, visualize, and publish data tables. You can search for data on the web to use. (Experimental).
11. Google Media Tools can help you visualise data using Google Maps for free – http://www.google.com/get/mediatools/.