The responsibilities of instructional designers vary from organization to organization. While some companies do have graphic designers on the team, others require instructional designer to wear a hat of an artist. Regardless of your responsibilities, it is suggested that you become comfortable with basic graphic design theory so that, if needed, you can apply it to practice. Here are a few basic recommendations that many instructional designers should find useful.
•If you know how to do something that does not mean you should do it. In eLearning, less is more, so if the tool or an option is available to you that does not mean that you should actually use it in your project. This particularly applies to animations. Try to avoid animation whenever possible. Instead, consider separating information into several slides.
•The same principle applies to images. When you add images to slides, always be sure that they are meaningful and are not just there for decoration. Images should help clarify the content, not make the learner figure out their relevance.
•If possible, try to make the design elements of your eLearning project as cohesive as possible. This means that the fonts, colors, and bullets should be similar and consistent. It is always a good idea to repeat specific design elements to ensure cohesiveness of your design.
•Since most eLearning companies buy licenses for stock photography, many courses end up using the same images over and over again. One way to add uniqueness to your eLearning is to use an editing tool to crop, recolor, and combine images. Also, when you search the stock photo library, consider going directly to the last page of your search as the images on the first page often tend to be overused.
•Make sure that the colors and fonts you use can be easily read by individuals with visual impairments. For the same reason, it is best to avoid transparency and shading.
If you want to learn about graphic design in ELearning and about eLearning in general, you are more than welcome to check the Instructional Design for ELearning: Essential guide to creating successful eLearning courses book. This book is also available in Spanish.