Tips from a Graphic Designer

Graphic Design  - 2013 Sept 18

First we brought you a look into the instructional design world; now it’s time to explore graphic design! We talked with a professional e-Learning graphic designer who shared a few design tips and tricks to help you take your e-Learning to the next level!

  • What are the 3 most important design elements to keep in mind when putting together an e-Learning course?
  • Consistency. Stick with a small color palette, and use the same fonts and text treatments.
  • Simplicity. Keep things simple and intuitive and let the graphics on the screen complement the learning. Try not to put too much text on one page. Don’t use images as decorations; use images that emphasize the content on the screen.
  • Legibility. Use proper contrast with text to make content more readable, and let text breathe with generous white space to help your learners soak up the content.
  • What is the biggest design mistake you see new e-Learning developers make?
    The most common design mistake is a lack of white space. People need room to learn! New e-Learning developers often put too much content on one page, not realizing you can chunk things into smaller, related pieces of content.

    Do you have a favorite font or least favorite font to use in e-Learning courses?

    Any web-safe font is great for e-Learning. Arial and Georgia are great; Calibri works well by itself or with Candara. There are many good fonts; just try to keep it simple and never use more than 1 or 2 fonts in a whole course. And no Comic Sans!

    What are your favorite tools for creating graphics?

    Photoshop is the obvious, but another great tool is the Snagit® tool that comes with Lectora® Version 11 e-Learning software. You can add so much to a photograph! It’s very easy to add drop shadows and other elements. Also, the drawing tools within the new Lectora V11 interface are really handy; you can easily create scale-able rectangles and circles.

    What do you think is the hardest part of designing e-Learning courses?

    Sometimes it takes time to settle on the right design and style for a project, which can be a challenge. But, honestly, designing a course is fun! Start with some inspiration, like a pleasing color palette or an idea for a smart user interface. Here are two good tools:

  • Webcreme is a repository of beautiful websites that are great for inspiration.
  • Kuler is a fun color tool that can inspire your color scheme.
  • Do you have any specific tips on layout or typography to share?

    For new e-Learning developers, take a look at the templates that come with Lectora and get inspired by those. There are some great design templates that you can customize and tweak to make your own.For colors and layout, try colors like grays and blues; overusing warm colors like red can be too distracting. If you use mainly relaxed colors, you can emphasize important content with brighter colors. Working in a grid can be helpful for laying out content too.

    Another important thing is to know what platform your learners will be using and create content sized for that screen. This information affects the first step—designing your user interface or picking a template. Size and format is something that’s much harder to change later, so it’s good to know right at the beginning. This also helps you when creating design elements like buttons. If your learners are using tablets or smart phones to access the e-Learning, you’ll need to make sure the buttons are far enough apart and big enough for learners to successfully click.

Are you soaking in all this great graphic design knowledge? Now it’s time for you to take these tips and create your own professional looking e-Learning with Lectora! Try Lectora today with a free 30-day e-Learning software trial.

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Christie graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a bachelor's degree in English and Writing. When she's not writing about e-Learning, Christie enjoys traveling or playing piano and guitar.

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