Silhouettes are dualistic. In equal measure, they are informative of their subject while also leaving out enough information as to be abstract. This places them outside of the dreaded “uncanny valley,” allowing us to project our own feelings and emotions on to them. They look like the outline of something we could be, therefore drawing a sense of empathy from its viewers. It’s the same reason why a lot of “epic” movies tend to have bland characters in the lead roles. They’re generic and inoffensive enough that most people can see a little bit of themselves in character, thus allowing them to “take a ride” and pretend they’re the ones going on the grand journey.
eLearning Brothers has two silhouette-style cutout characters, one man and one woman. Between the two of them are over 100 poses that you can use to inject a little humanity into your next course. Here are a couple of suggestions for using our Silhouette cutout characters.
Many social media sites use silhouettes as a generic profile picture. Before a user customizes their profile, they’ll be represented by simple outline. You can use silhouette character in a similar manner for your eLearning. For instance, you might have a scenario in which there is an unnamed character. (“Sophie and Charles, who work in a marketing firm, have received a special assignment from a new client.”) In such a case, you can draw more attention to your full-color characters (Sophie and Charles) by including silhouettes (the client) in the line up.
Sometimes you might want to keep your learners in the dark for a little bit before pulling away the curtain to reveal something. One way to do this is to use silhouettes in conjunction with regular cutout people. Perhaps you want to introduce a character before revealing who it is. For instance, you could pair a silhouette with a simple description: “This person is in charge of hiring, interviewing, and facilitating healthy employee relations.” Then, with a click of the mouse the silhouette transforms to reveal a regular cutout person with the description: “Sophie is the HR manager. She also handles payroll and recruiting.”
How do you use Silhouette Cutout Characters? Let us know in the comments and download your own today!