Creating custom illustrations for e-learning courses vs using stock images

A key element in the creation of e-learning solutions is not only the delivery of text content but also the way it is visually presented on screen. Obviously a badly designed course may still work to a point, but only to the extent that users can complete the course. It wont deliver the WOW-effect that is expected. Courses prepared in a hurry, without prominent and exceptional graphics are boring and are hard to digest and retain by users

So how do you present the information in a proper way and ensure that the course doesn’t look like a number of very similar looking presentations

Apart from good content and proper layout design, the most important factors for e-learning courses are the utilization of colour, typography and suitable graphical elements (photos and illustrations) while maintaining a good balanced ratio between graphics and text content

If you are looking for photos or illustrations, sometimes stock resources are a tempting option, but their power is limited. Other e-learning course developers quite often tend to use ready-made graphical assets. It’s not the worst thing in the world to go that way in an emergency (ie for a very fixed budget or fast delivery) but such solutions are not great in the long run for a couple of reasons. First of all, in pre-made stock sets of icons, illustrations etc, the number of elements is finite. Someone designed them as a bundle and it may result in the absence of a specific graphical asset that’s needed for your project. Also the stock sets can be used by an unlimited number of customers so it’s not offering anything unique. In fact some icons are completely overused and therefore your content delivery is diluted as a result

It doesn’t mean that you have to reinvent the wheel each time you start a new e-learning project, but it’s really worth going your own way and focusing on creating your own graphical icons and illustrations. It’s always a better and more faithful representation of your company’s brand and message

How many times have people used the same clichéd photos of a cheerful ”thumbs-up” project manager in their presentations? Yep, thousands of times! A good custom illustration, even if it somewhat repeats or takes inspiration from a photo is better as it’s unique and has a personal touch. Tailor made illustrations designed from scratch will always have their own style that’s perfectly suited to your project and more representative of your message and your brand. Custom made icons and infographics communicate far more effectively than plain text and those factors enable your audience to understand and retain e-learning content to a much higher level.