My kids love stickers. They plaster dozens of random ones on a page and proudly give me their new work of art. This approach to graphic design is fine for your family, but you don’t want your elearning courses to look like cluttered and random creations developed by sticker-happy children.
Get Rid of the Clutter
In this post, you’ll discover how to use your clip art to create images that are consistent and look like they belong together. Let’s get started by looking at the image below.
My guess is that you’ve seen this type of screen before. This elearning course looks kind of sloppy and unprofessional. It’s a cluttered design and the images don’t look like they belong together. This is not want you want for your course.
You want your screens to be less cluttered and have a consistent look and feel.
When you’re on a budget and have limited access to graphic resources, you need to be creative. If you’re forced to use clip art, odds are that you don’t have enough or the right ones. In the previous post, Little Known Ways to Create Your Own Graphics Using PowerPoint, we looked at ways to easily take Microsoft Office clip art and create your own images.
Now, let’s apply those techniques to create a consistent look for an entire elearning course.
Ungroup Free Vector Images
Microsoft stopped providing clip art but you can still use the same ideas by ungrouping vector images in PowerPoint.
Here’s what to do:
- Download all of the images to an open PowerPoint file.
- I like to spread the images out over a series of slides so that I can easily see them. I can fit quite a few on one slide.
- Save the file. This way you always know what style it is and you can easily access all of the images to edit them.
- Once you have the images saved, use the technique that I described in the previous post and create custom images.
Here are some additional tips:
- Don’t be afraid to play around and see what happens.
- You can change heads (or other body parts) on the characters.
- If you need a specific ethnicity, change the skin color or eye shape.
- Modify the clothes. You can change the colors or get rid of the “business look” by taking out the ties and white shirts.
Before & After Examples
I’ve included some before and after examples to whet your appetite. By applying my surgical expertise, these two images become a visual metaphor for chasing profits.
The image below demonstrates what we learned from the previous post. I ungrouped the image, took out what I didn’t need, and changed the color of her outfit. She went from being a soldier to a happy college student.
There’s no reason why you can’t mix and match body parts or facial expression to get the exact pose or look you want. All you need is a blank face, and you can drop any expression you want onto it.
In fact, I’ll go through all of the images from a style group, pull out the facial expressions, and put them on a blank slide. This way I have quick access to the expressions I need.
Here’s a quick way to create images for your next pirate rehabilitation course.
The image below is a combination of the same style. I changed the map reader from male to female using the hair and body shape from the original female image.
When you use the same style, it is easy to create images that meet your specific needs and look like they belong together. I
t’ll make your project look that much more polished and professional.
Here is a quick makeover of the first image above. I modified the images and then I cleaned the screen up a little. This is a simple example. Combine this technique with some of the presentation concepts popular in books like Beyond Bullet Points and you can really create a powerful and effective elearning course.
I look forward to seeing what you’re able to do. Next time, we’ll look at some simple ways to jazz up the images with a photo editing program.
Upcoming E-Learning Events
- We'll be adding events for 2017 soon. If you'd like to see one of our workshops in your area just let me know.
- Mar 20 (Orlando). Want to learn to build courses with the right look & feel? Join David Anderson at his all day workshop on Graphic Design Essentials for Non-Graphic eLearning Designers.
- Mar 22-23 (Orlando). Come by the booth at Learning Solutions and say hello.
- April 13 (Minneapolis). Variables Made Easy with Articulate Storyline. Limited seats, so sign up now.
- April 13 (Minneapolis). Articulate User Meet Up. Details coming soon.
- April 14 (Minneapolis). PACT Meeting: Facing Today's Instructional Design Challenges.
Free E-Learning Resources
Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.
Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs
Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills
Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.