A lot of instructional designers and e-learning developers work independently or on small teams and are responsible for all aspects of course development. This requires a whole range of skills, including consulting, project management, instructional design, and visual design. And that’s on top of mastering the authoring tools and all their related technologies. No small task, for sure!
When you’re wearing many hats, you may not know everything—and that’s OK. The key is to find a few friendly faces willing to lend a helping hand. Which is one of the reasons I think the Articulate E-Learning community is so cool!
Rachel Healey started a great conversation in the community recently about filling in graphic design gaps. And since most e-learning designers are not formally trained as graphic designers, I thought a lot of other people might also be interested in the responses she got.
Collect Visual Design Inspiration
One great suggestion, by Daniel Brigham, is to collect the things you see that have appealing visual designs. He collects design ideas from places like cereal boxes and restaurant menus. Whenever he gets stuck he pulls out his folder for ideas and inspiration.
Some of my favorites are MultimediaLearning.com, ElearningExamples.com, and the Weekly E-learning Challenges. I’ll also second a suggestion from Simon Perkins naming Graphic River as a good source for design ideas.
I’d really love to hear what other community members are doing. Do you collect inspirational design ideas too? Do you gather physical, hard-copy items, or do you prefer looking online? Where do you find your best design inspirations, and how do you keep track of them?
Resources for Learning Graphic Design
There were also several good suggestions about how to build a solid foundation of graphic design principles for your e-learning work. Some of the recommended resources include:
- Robin Williams Design Workshop
- The Non-Designer's Design Book
- Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery
- Introduction to Graphic Design
- Foundations of Color
- Foundations of Layout and Composition
- Foundations of Typography
- Before and After: Things Every Designer Should Know
What have you found helpful that you would add to this list?
Don’t Forget the Community
Of course, I’d be missing one of the biggest and best resources for learning anything even remotely related to e-learning if I didn't mention the E-Learning Heroes Community itself. There is no better place to turn when you aren't sure of what you don’t know and you’re looking to fill in some e-learning gaps.
Jump in and join the conversation by leaving a comment below or adding to the forum discussion.
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.