The Silent Magician of eLearning – The Graphic Designer

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The Agent of Transformation – The Graphic Designer

Graphic Designers create or develop graphics, animation, and other media for eLearning courses.

In my opinion, the graphic designers of the eLearning industry don’t get the importance they deserve. Before I tell you why I am saying so, I must tell you what would happen if there were no graphic designers. Believe it or not, if we created courses without graphics or animations, they’d stop selling.

I know that some of my readers work on Rapid Authoring tools such as Articulate or Captivate, and they’d be quick to point out that they’ve been managing rather well without the graphic designers’ help. I must then ask you the following questions.

  1. Have you really developed courses that had no visuals at all?
  2. Have you ever-received a pat on the back, not from your boss, but from your audience? Did your audience ever tell you or your client that the course that you developed was awesome, and yet it just had those worn-from-reuse stock-pictures as graphics?

I think that eLearning courses without good and relevant graphics would turn out to be more soporific than those training programs that hinge exclusively on PowerPoint presentations.

So, why Graphic Designers don’t get the limelight they so richly deserve?

Well…I believe that they don’t get attention because they don’t ask for it. They usually don’t concern themselves with who gets the credit for the success of a course. In general, they are simple, unassuming people who like to do their job well and go home.  But then this is my opinion, and it could be completely off the mark in a few, select cases.

The Responsibilities of a Graphic Designer

A graphic designer primarily:

  • Creates graphics according to the storyboard. These graphics may include static graphics (illustrations, digital drawings or at times, 3D models,) and animations (both 2D and 3D.)
  • Composites/Edits videos.
  • Ensures that frame-aesthetics don’t get tossed out of the window by integrating the content visuals seamlessly with the overall visual theme of an elearning course/curriculum.
  • Ensures that the graphic design guidelines for the project are followed.
  • Even helps with media acquisition, at times.
  • Provides the graphics to the programmer in the form and format required for eLearning development.


He/she may also,

  • Aid the instructional designer during visualization.
  • Manage the video shoot/audio recording (especially if the organization doesn’t have a separate voice/audio team.)

The Skill-set of an eLearning Graphic Designer

A graphic designer who works in the elearning industry usually has an extremely diverse skill-set. He or she may have most of the following skills. The graphic designer should be able to:

  • Visualize color-combinations, layouts, and scenes.
  • Illustrate, at least a little 🙂
  • Use various graphic creation software applications with ease.
  • Interpret the eLearning storyboard correctly.
  • Make decisions about graphic formats, file-sizes etc. to ensure seamless integration.
  • Provide an overview of the new graphic technologies and how they can improve the efficiency of the graphic design process.