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Are Other People’s Graphics Better Than Yours? Here’s What to Do About It.

There was a time
when instructional designers didn’t need to worry about graphics.
Among other things, the skills and tools were highly specialized,
which meant that instructional designers or technical writers wrote
and graphic artists did graphics.

Today, almost every
authoring tool contains a graphic drawing component, and your boss
knows it. “Hire a graphic artist? You’ve got to be kidding me.
Why can’t you do it yourself?”

Of course, there
are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t have non-graphical people
doing their own graphics, but if you think that your boss will have a
change of heart and hire a professional graphic designer to help with
your project, you may be making a big mistake.

It would be better
for you to learn a few reasons why graphics that other people create
are better than your graphics, and to take the steps needed to make
your graphic images appear more professional.

Left brain versus right brain

As a rule, when you
write descriptions of processes or procedures, you use your left
brain, but graphic designers utilize their right brains (creativity)
more than their left.

Does that mean you
cannot create your own graphics? Absolutely not. But you should be
aware that it will be easier to create your graphics if you separate
the two tasks. Write your text first, and then review it later with a
focus on graphics – and with your mind in right-brain mode.

As you review the
text, identify “visual clue” words that lend themselves to
graphics. For example, if the text describes a program that runs
under another program or within a certain operating system, “under”
and “within” are visual clue words that will help you to create
an appropriate graphic.

Some specific guidelines

There are a number
of fine points in the use of graphics that will give your production
a more professional appearance. Here are the key ones.

Orientation

Gradients

Fonts

Arrows and Arrow lines

Colors

Photos

White space

Will your graphics ever be better than
other people’s graphics?

If you are patient and practice these
skills, it won’t be long before someone says, “Hey, that’s
pretty nice
!” And then you’ll know you can wear that Graphic
Designer hat proudly as you create your own graphics.

Read more at www.learningsolutionsmag.com