[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCmO8YKzv9U&hd=1[/youtube]

From Co.Design:

“Before PowerPoint, you had to go find a designer to create a custom presentation,” says Stew Langille. “Even though everyone hates PowerPoint now, it was really helpful when it first came out.”

Now Langille’s startup, Visual.ly, is attempting to do for infographics what Microsoft did for presentations. [Yesterday], the company launched a new platform to allow virtually anyone to create data visualizations. By tapping into data APIs–from Facebook Insights, Twitter, Data.gov, and so forth–Visual.ly enables users to plug predetermined datasets into premade designs, offering a stable of templates and themes that will continue to grow thanks to the startup’s in-house team and community of roughly 4,000 freelance designers.

The startup, which has raised $2 million in VC funding to date, unveiled the self-service platform at SXSW. With just a few clicks, users can choose a theme, select a dataset from a drop-down menu, and create an infographic with little or no effort. For example, plug in a Twitter hashtag or Facebook account, and you can watch Visual.ly spit out various metrics represented visually–basic statistics about growth, location, demographics, engagement, and so on.

Read more at Co.Design »

Also, happy Pi day!