What is Graphic Design

What is Graphic Design in eLearning and Why is it Important?

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of graphic design is “the art or profession of using design elements (such as typography and images) to convey information or create an effect”. In the case of eLearning, graphic design is used to better convey information to one’s audience. A good instructional designer knows the value in the aesthetic look and feel of a training, and knows when and where to implement graphic elements in a training. Humans are drawn by visuals. We like things that are brightly colored, flashy, and visually exciting. This does not mean that your eLearning needs to be doused in glitter, but it should be aesthetically pleasing to the learner.

  • Imagine taking a training online that consisted only of black letters page after page. The letters stretch across the page or video with no formatting, bullet points, visuals, or color. This kind of training would be painful to create and even worse to look at as a learner.
  • Now imagine that the text is formatted with bullet points, columns, and other elements that make it easier to read. This training still lacks color, shapes, and other visual elements. It’s a step in the right direction, but still won’t do a good job of holding the user’s attention.
  • Finally, imagine a training that has well-formatted text, cohesive graphics, and appropriately-accenting colors. When you create this visually appealing environment for your learners, they are more apt to be interested in your content and retain it.

Notice that none of these changes involve editing or adding to the actual learning content, but rather how the content looks aesthetically. Adding cohesive elements like shape, color, and text formatting to an otherwise boring training will grab the learner’s attention and keep it throughout. These tips can be applied to handouts, in-person trainings, eLearning, and many other elements of learning. So now that you know what graphic design is and the importance of implementing it into your eLearning, be sure to stay tuned for my next post on tips to designing better trainings!

Savannah is a Graphic Design Professor at Gila Community College, and is passionate about using design to better the world around her. She believes in researched design, and is a major proponent of paper before pixel. In her spare time, she enjoys painting, designing for small businesses and non-profits, and attempting any DIY she finds on Pinterest.

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