Space is an extremely important element of an e-learning design layout, yet it is often underrated or ignored—to the detriment of your final design. But applying the proper spacing principles to an amateur-looking layout can transform it, giving it a polished and professional finish. Let’s have a look at three ways you can apply simple aspects of graphic design related to spacing to improve your e-learning layouts.

Use White Space Appropriately

White space (or negative space) is the spacing between different elements on your slides. White space contains nothing, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be white. Some graphic design best practices recommend that up to 50% of a design consist of white space. You can easily apply this principle to e-learning slide design as well. Using a heavy amount of white space avoids clutter and gives the items on your slide “breathing room.”

Apply the Principle of Balance

Humans have an innate sense of balance. When we see things that are balanced and orderly, we feel comfortable and relaxed. To achieve balance in your e-learning designs, you should evenly distribute visual weight in your layout. Two simple ways to achieve visual balance are to use equal spacing around all your objects, and to use consistent spacing on your slide.

Understand Symmetry

To create balance, one must apply symmetry to the design. Symmetrical composition means it is made up of similar parts facing each other or around an axis. However, it doesn’t need to be an exact duplication one side to the next, so no need to go overboard. For example, you can balance a paragraph of text with an image of about the same size, as shown below. Which design do you find more aesthetically pleasing?img1.png

The first design looks a bit cluttered and uneven. Everything is squished at the top, which means there’s no balance. There’s also unequal spacing around the text box and the image, which indicates a lack of symmetry. And finally, the slide does have about 50% white space, but it’s not used efficiently, as it’s all in one big area at the bottom of the slide.

When we move our items to the center of our slide, and add the correct amount of white space all around, we can really clean up our slide and make it easier on the eyes. Amazing how the empty space on your slide has a huge impact on the final look!

Got any tips of your own regarding white space, balance, or symmetry in e-learning design? If you do, please leave me a comment below!

You can always sign up for a fully functional, free trial of Articulate software. And don’t forget to post your questions and comments in the forums! We’re here to help. For more e-learning tips, examples, and downloads, follow us on Twitter.

Brett Rockwood