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Learning & Development Blog

Creative Direction eLearning Design

How to Use Images Creatively in Your eLearning Design


by Eric Berget & Andy Schiemo

Dashe & Thomson's award-winning creative director, Eric Berget, explains how to use images creatively in your eLearning design. Beware the floating rectangle!





Full transcript below! (Though you won't see the awesome examples without watching!)

Hey guys, in this video I want to take a look at how to use images creatively in your next eLearning design. Let’s go!

Before we get into the how, let’s just back up and just look at the why. It’s important to remember when we talk about the aesthetics of an eLearning, it’s not about making something pretty just for the sake of making something pretty. We’re not trying to be creative just to show off our creativity. Right? Good design communicates. And when we’re creating eLearning, what we’re trying to do is train, we’re trying to communicate, we’re trying to improve performance.

So now that that’s out of the way, here’s five quick tips on how to creatively use images in your next eLearning design.

Number one. It’s an over-arching tip. Be unified in the images that you’re using. Whether it’s graphics or images, that’s going to make the biggest difference of any choice that you’re making, any aesthetic choice that you’re making.

So what are we talking about here? So if in your project, you’re using stock photography or internal assets like photography that you’ve taken, it’s important to take a look at those and see how do they work together. You know maybe you’re pulling from stock photo sites and internal photos. How do they work together? And what are some ways you can make them feel like they work together? They’re not just coming from completely different style and look and feel, and color tones, and things like that.

Number two. Use black and white. I’ll often, if I have photos from stock photography that don’t quite match each other, that seem like they’ve been taken with a little bit different tone and texture to the photo, and I want them to look unified, I’ll convert both of them to black and white. Use that as a unifying style throughout the course. It can be a really effective and classy way to bring unity to that visual.

Number three. Give your photos and images a color tint. This can be another way to unify images or photos in your eLearning projects. And you can see it here with these four photos. They’re each given that similar tint, and you can see on the slides here as that look is carried through the module. It really gives it a branded look by having this color tint, while still having those images incorporated.

Tip numbers four and tip number five both have to do with avoiding the floating rectangle. What I mean by that is, you’ve all seen that layout, we’ve all used it, which is the bullet points on the left, or the text on the left, and the floating rectangle on the right. Nothing inherently wrong with this layout, but it can be very redundant and just boring.

So tip number four: Use images with a white background. So with a slide you have like this, by finding a white background or cutout images, I can balance out that text on the left, but in a way that is little more classy and just includes more variety than the floating rectangle.

Number five: Soften the edges of the photo so that it blends smoothly with the rest of the slide. And again, just another example of a way to add variety so that not all of your slides that are basic image text slides, they’re not all floating rectangle, bullet points, left, right, again and again and again.

So in summary: Number one overarching tip, think about unity, or the images that you’re pulling together. Really try to get unity in the images and graphics that you’re using. Number two: Use black and white. That’s a good way to have unity, it’s classy, everybody loves black and white. Number three: Put a color tint on your images. Again, so that to achieve unity and to have a way to incorporate brand. Number four is to find images that have a white background to avoid the floating rectangle. And number five, soften the edges of your image and let it blend smoothly into the rest of the slide.

All right that was five quick tips. Hope you find something useful you can use on your next eLearning design. All right, we’ll see you next time.


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