The Importance of Having a Graphic Designer on your Learning Development Team
Do I need a graphic designer on my learning development team?
Generally, I prefer to weigh the sides of an issue and make a carefully nuanced decision; but when it comes down to it, you need a graphic designer on your team. Of the information transmitted to the brain, 90% is visual. Articles with images get 94% more views than those without. Research has shown that after three days, learners retain 10-20% of written or spoken information, but almost 65% of visual information.
Where can images come from? Stock images are getting better, but too many of them showcase only a narrow slice of humanity (primary white, young, conventionally beautiful, and depressingly happy—and that’s not even mentioning the lack of representation of people with disabilities). Photo shoots are useful, but can be time-consuming and expensive to set up. And often the most effective images aren’t photos, but rather diagrams, sketches, or charts.
Graphic design is complex. Much can be done with a layman’s knowledge of principles. Yet visual elements can be much more powerful once someone has a deep appreciation that goes beyond simple tools and surface understanding.
This takes work, skill, and practice. A graphic artist lives in the world of visual design, and can develop mastery that learning professionals who dabble once in a while can only dream of.
So, yes, you need a graphic designer on your learning development team.
And yet…sometimes we just can’t. We can’t afford the added expense of hiring another person, even one with specialized knowledge.
So what can we do? If you can’t hire a graphic designer for your project, then think of it as a specialized role that one (or more) of your team can assume. Like any role, it requires dedication and practice to maintain proficiency. Ensure that the member of your team that fulfills the role has the same support (including solid design resources) that they have for their other duties, and has the opportunity to develop their abilities to the high level that the importance of images in learning demands.
Until next time,
Microassist Senior Learning Architect
For More in this Series on Learning Development Roles, Consider…
- The Importance of Using Roles When Developing Learning
- The SME Role in Course Development
- The Indispensable Role of Clients in Learning Projects
- Instructional Designer and Course Developer: One Person or Two?
- Empowering Learning Development Project Managers
- Elearning Team Roles: Critical Skills for Learning Projects
- But What Could *Possibly* Go Wrong? Testing Your Online Course
- Accessibility Expertise: Determining Where It Belongs in Elearning Development
Sign Up for More Learning and Development Insights
This commentary originally appeared in our Learning Dispatch newsletter. Use the form on this page to subscribe for monthly learning insights, resources, and thought leadership for learning and development!