6 Design Rules to Live By

If you’ve gone to college for a design degree, these tips might be second nature to you now. But when you’ve been handed a project or assignment that involves creating an eLearning module from scratch and have no previous knowledge of design, these tips will keep you on the straight and narrow. Just follow these six steps and you’re well on your way to becoming a graphic designer.

  1. All fonts should be legible and understandable.

When you’re new to design, make sure that you keep within normal and standard fonts. Shy away from using ‘cutesy’ fonts like Chalkduster. Those kinds of fonts are hard for the learner to read and you’ll lose the attention of your learner before they get to the heart of your content.

  1. Stick within 3 colors overall

Don’t get color happy. Just because you have the whole color wheel at your disposal doesn’t mean you need to use every color. A simple trick for distinguishing information is to use different shades of the same color. This will allow your pallet to be slightly larger without having the entire rainbow on one page.

  1. Negative space is your friend

For some reason, a lot of white on a page is scary for newbie designers. I’m not surewhy. Let me give you a real life example: When I just started out in the graphic design program at Northern Arizona University, my designs were jam packed! Hardly any white anywhere. It was like I was so happy about learning all these new things that I felt the need to put them all into one design. Now that I’ve matured some within graphic design let me tell you that being sparing with design is key. Don’t make the same mistake that I did starting out. Be selective with the content and graphics that you are highlighting. I promise you, your learners will thank you.

  1. Layout of your trainings is crucial!

Hierarchy of design is so important. Make sure that you have the most important content larger, bolded, or colorful. This will draw your learner’s eye to the most important thing within your trainings. But, keep in mind the previous tips that we just talked about. Don’t go overboard.

  1. Don’t be afraid to use your resources

If you can use iStock to make your content more interesting – USE IT. Take advantage of the resources that are out there to spice up otherwise really bland information. This will help keep people’s attention and prevent them from drowning in content. Also keep in mind that Clip art is on its way out. Use realistic photos or illustrations that are updated. Especially if you are presenting your information to a younger audience.

  1.  Stay consistent throughout your training

Consistency will help every slide of your training feel complete and unified. Use the same fonts, colors, similar layout throughout, similar graphics or illustrations and your training will look as if you’ve been designing for years!


Now that you have all these tips handy, you can create complete, well designed, cohesive trainings. If you have any other tips on creating a well designed training or eLearning module, comment down below!

Ashlee is an Intermediate Instructional and Graphic Designer on the Learning and Professional Development team and has a background in Graphic Design and Photography. With over eight years of Photography and Graphic Design experience, Ashlee brings a unique talent and perspective to the team. She joined the Learning & Professional Development team in 2014 as a student worker and now works full time as an Instructional & Graphic Designer. She primarily works with Adobe products and is using her knowledge to help develop exciting new trainings. This opportunity allows Ashlee to reach out to the NAU community and create interactive ways students and staff can learn.

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