People IconsIcons are one of my favorite go-to graphic treatments for my e-learning projects. They’re a clean and modern-looking alternative to text buttons and they can really complement today’s flat design trend. I find that people icons are especially handy to have in my design arsenal since their physical features are open to interpretation. This makes them a great fit for courses with a global audience. And depending on my design, they can represent different roles or characters, or they can take center stage in navigating an interaction. They can also take on a supporting role in illustrating a concept. 

But what if you don’t have budget for professionally created icons, or just don’t have access to the tools or expertise for creating or editing vector icon sets? How can you make your own?

Thankfully there are a ton of free resources for building your own custom icons on the fly. One of my favorites is a tool you probably already use: PowerPoint. Check out this quick how-to video to see one way to create modern, flat design people icons very similar to these, using only grouped shapes and color fills.


What’s even better than creating your own icons? Scoring some free ones from the E-Learning Heroes community! Don’t miss this recap of Weekly Challenge #78 to see and download some stunning new icons that your fellow e-learning peeps have whipped together.

And while you’re feeling creative, snag some great pointers (and a free download) for creating your own pictograms in PowerPoint, courtesy of Mike Taylor.

Tell us: how do you create icons for your e-learning projects? We’d love to hear your creative ideas and tips in the comments below.

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