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5 Simple Steps to Successful Custom Illustrations

If you’re reading this, then perhaps you have an eLearning project that just needs something. You want your course to do more than instruct the learner—you want it to inspire. And that means better visuals and personalization. Both these facts increase memory retention and create emotional rapport with the learner.

As you’ve probably noticed, many eLearning courses use stock images for visual representation. However, there’s something that can connect even deeper with your audience—and that’s custom illustration.

Custom illustrations involve the creation of images tailored to your project and audience. While it’s possible to design illustrations in-house, a trusted design agency can be a great alternative. A design agency should have all the expertise necessary to create amazing illustrations in the style and time-frame you want, all while adhering to the exact needs of you and your audience. So why bother with custom illustration when you can just find some stock images online?

The goal is personalized control.

With custom illustration, you have complete control over the content. Finding photos involves a lot of time searching for the one that’s just right—and never quite finding it. Even if you find a photo that’s almost perfect, it’s often just one angle or facial expression away from being exactly what you need. With custom illustration, all those details are under your control, giving you the freedom to personalize the illustrations to the exact specifications of you, your eLearning course, and your audience. This allows you to relate to your audience on a personal level, creating a more relaxed, yet engaging, experience.

So where to begin? Here’s the process of designing custom illustration for eLearning in distilled into five easy steps.

1. Find a designer.

If you’re looking for a designer, then you probably already know your subject. What you need is a designer that creates new illustrations just for you, tailored to the exact specifications of your eLearning course. A great designer gives you the flexibility to determine the extent and style of your project.

2. Develop a persona.

Your illustrations may have a persona—or main character—which often represents the stakeholder or learner. These personas can be customized to your audience demographics, representing similar race, gender, and age. Your designer can (and should) work closely with you during this period to develop a persona that best connects with your audience.

3. Style matters.

Once you’ve discovered your persona, it’s time to open up a conversation about style. Your designer will create a variety of styles for you to choose from, from thick lines with bold shading to simple shapes. Illustrations can be as detailed or as simple as you want, including backgrounds and settings created for your exact needs. A good designer will create a style that’s just right for you and your audience.

4. Watch creativity happen.

Designer, persona, style—check. Now it’s down to the creation process. The creation process varies depending on the level of detail within each illustration. For a project in the center of the spectrum—detailed enough, but with a friendly, relatable openness—each illustration may take 30 minutes to an hour.

5. Review, revise, and actualize.

Once the illustrations are complete, they’ll be sent to you for review. If you like them, fantastic! If not, no problem. The designer will revise until everything meets your exact specifications. Once your illustrations are complete and implemented within your project, it’s time to put it in the hands of the audience.

Success Simplified

Five simple steps and you have access to customized illustrations that make your eLearning courses stand out. It might take a little longer than finding subject-related photos, but it opens up a new world of possibilities for you and your audience. In addition, some design firms can do more than illustrate your eLearning courses; they can custom design them for you from the ground up.

Now that’s success in action.

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