Have you ever looked back at old photos of yourself and thought, “what the heck was I thinking?” You might have had similar reactions while looking back at older graphics on the web. You know the type, those sites with wacky colors, ugly icons, multiple graphical trends and too many typefaces.
Before we get started, lets do some housekeeping. It is wise to make sure you have a desirable place to work, clean and free from clutter that may distract from your tasks. Make sure to rest here and there versus killing yourself until the day is done.
Now that you’re somewhat rested, your place is neat, tidy and set up to your own standards of design, lets forget about the past and dive into the present/future of design and clean up with these eight design tips.
1. Use Contrast in Your eLearning Design
One of the best ways for your design to stand out is by utilizing colors that contrast well. So, if you have a font that is light colored, use a dark background or dark image to maintain visual typographic hierarchy in your design. Adjust the brightness of the background images to help offset the text color. Use different hues and tones, play around with the brightness slider to create contrast. Also, keep in mind fonts can clash with one another and can highlight important elements within your space.
2. Keep Order By Aligning Text and Imagery
One way to create visual symmetry is by adding a line or embellishment to your design. Make sure to match the weight of your typeface with the thickness of the elements you use. Another way is by using a grid to align multiple images. A combination of these design elements will allow you to have a clean and professional look.
3. Match Your Typeface with Your Content
When the typeface is congruent with your text, it makes a natural look. Typeface can also communicate different things. For example, rounded typefaces are friendly. San-serif geometric hard-edged fonts are considered strong. Finally, serif fonts are more sophisticated or elegant. When designing a layout, always be consistent in your design, choose a heading, subtitle and body text font. Also, be sure to keep unity by duplicating a page that’s almost finished and then editing text and replacing images. Keep your clients brand in mind, use fonts from your client’s website or the front they provide to ensure consistency. (Read more about typeface in my blog post about The 4 Main eLearning Font Categories.)
4. Use White Space
Keep things easy, fresh, and to the point. Designing can be endless, and there are many elements to choose from when designing your blank canvas. Don’t use “too much of a good thing” like, great images, graphics, and fonts. Too many good things can potentially have the opposite effect. Less clutter means your message will shine brighter. More clutter will distract and essentially drown out your message. Make sure to justify all your design elements and minimize the number of fonts, colors, and shapes you use.
5. Use Icons to Save Design Space
Adding shapes and icons will help illustrate and convey information to the audience quickly, as opposed to using a paragraph of content. Icons teamed up with typography are great tools to create interesting infographics, graphs, and statistical information.
6. Edit Your Images to Work with Your Design, Not Against It
Make sure your images look their best. Edit color issues, and don’t use blurred images. You can crop your images so they fit your typography. Make sure to choose images that provide enough space to hold your typography, if more space is needed, try enlarging your image.
7. Research the Work of Great Designers
Find yourself getting stuck in the design process? Make sure to look the work of other designers. Doing so will help push your skills and abilities when designing.
8. Avoid Clichés
For example, don’t use a light bulb or thinking bubble icon to represent an idea. Think outside the box, don’t stay only with current trends or use icons/symbols that you’ve seen everywhere on the web. Keep a sketchbook or online idea book to draw or jot down something when a new idea sparks. Learn from trial and error. And if it doesn’t work, try something else.
What eLearning design ideas do you have? I invite you to share your design ideas below.