Using Graphic Design to Help Tell it All

Chittranjan Dunakhe
Posted: July 21, 2014

When we speak of graphics, we’re looking at visual representations of items we’re talking about in the content, or text, of our training. Such items can be colorful, full of variety, and can be anything including symbols, icons, stock photographs, graphs, and much more. Basically, you want to draw the learner’s attention to some concept.

Graphics can play a huge role in elevating the quality of any training, whether a video production, slide presentation, or paper-based learning. Using graphics and design whenever possible brightens the presentation, helps simplify complex concepts, and is attractive to the reader or learner. There’s no limit to imagination when it comes to what graphics can be used. Here are some examples of ways to use graphics that may spark your imagination:

  • To explain training items that can’t be seen, such as a mechanism, how a system works, a flow chart of events, a concept, a timeline, a process overview, and so on
  • To caption bullet points where the visuals are poor, such as amateur photos, or where the training content is dull and needs brightening
  • To caption summary sections, reinforcing the learning points
  • To add to titles and section headers, allowing the viewer to compartmentalize training information, structure it in memory, and so recall it better when on the job
  • To use as in backgrounds, keying to a person who perhaps has been photographed against a green screen
  • To provide an overall thematic unity to the production

An outstanding graphic theme looks great in any training, providing coherence and interest to the learner. Conversely, training productions without a graphic theme often look ordinary and dull, making it harder for a learner to grasp concepts.

With graphics we can create icons — symbolic representations of items the learner will use in the course of work. These icons not only can be helpful in providing a more seamless flow of work, but can create an interface that’s both easy to use and to remember.

Let’s take an example of a content writer who needs a super and easy-to-use interface. He or she wants to work with words, but also have icons representing the words as well. The content writer can ask the graphic designer to create a layout interface with appropriate color combinations and icons to explain key words and concepts. In the layout, he or she needs vibrant stock photos to support the content, as well as photos that are properly shaped, aligned and given special effects such as shadows or embossing, if appropriate.

Below you see an example in which users will be shown privacy choices; before they see those choices, they must first click the “interface” safe door to reveal them. Thematically, the interface works as a whole to reinforce the concept of privacy; it is also visual, bright, spare and arresting, drawing the user’s attention. In learning materials, graphics will always win the day!

Using Graphic Design to Help Tell it All


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