Graphic design plays a rather large role in online learning. Sure, the content will always be the most important. But your graphic design is next in line. Today, the majority of online classes include some sort of PowerPoint presentation, video, or PDF handout. Within each of these course elements, you can find graphic design.

Your students and peers will definitely notice your images, fonts, and layouts. So, why not impress them? I’ve rounded up 10 tips to help you become more successful with your eLearning graphic design.

  1. Use strong, good quality images. If you use stock photo images (here are 10 free resources) within your course, always download the largest file available. The bigger the image, the better the quality. You can always scale an image down, but you cannot make a small image larger without it becoming pixelated. We also recommend not downloading images from Google. There are many copyrights out there and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Use stock photos or create your own.

  2. Avoid too much text. It’s easy to overwhelm your students with an overload of information. When creating an online presentation, stick to bulleted lists and just a few ideas per slide. Big paragraphs of text on each PowerPoint slide are a big no-no.

  3. Be sure your images have a purpose. Don’t use graphics just to fill your empty space throughout your online course. Each graphic should be valuable to the course content. Use meaningful images. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.

  4. Don’t forget readability. When choosing fonts, sometimes it is best keep it simple. Sure, maybe there is a super cool new font (or two) you want to use, but if your students can’t read it, what’s the point? Don’t compromise readability for a trendy new font.

  5. Simplify visual data. If you are including charts, graphs, or any type of visual data—try simplifying it for the students. Instead of going way too in-depth, create a brief overview that is easy and quick to understand. If you absolutely need to include all in-depth data, create an additional resource for the students to download.

  6. Don’t be afraid of empty space. Sometimes less is more. If you have included all the necessary information on a slide and are left with extra white space, consider leaving it as is. Adding more content or more meaningless graphics will only overwhelm and possibly confuse your students. Instead, move on to the next course section and appreciate a little bit of white space.

  7. Learn to love contrast. Include contrasting colors, shapes, and images within your eLearning graphic design. This will help your students stay focused.  For example, instead of making the whole course all one shade of blue, add a bit of orange to add some visual appeal. One benefit of using more than one color throughout your course is that you can highlight the important factors easily.

  8. Be consistent. If you have many different course sections, handouts, or presentations—keep them uniform. Everything within a single course should flow together and match a theme. All those slides within a PowerPoint presentation should be created with the same template, colors, and fonts. Check out these do’s and don’ts for branding your course.

  9. Keep titles simple. Many times your different course sections, videos, handouts, and tests have unique titles within a single course. Be sure those titles are relatively short and informative. When the student opens a course presentation, the very first slide should be a title slide. The student should instantly know what the presentation is about and what to expect.

  10. Have fun. If you want your students to enjoy your online course, have a little fun with it! Choosing bright colors and graphics can lighten the mood. Avoid too much mundane text that nobody (not even you) wants to read. If you have an intro video, maybe consider cracking a joke to start out. There are many different ways to have fun with your course and make it more enjoyable for you and your students.

Hopefully these 10 tips can help you create successful graphics for your online courses. What tips do you have? Please share!