An organisation’s Visual Identity is one of the most important communication tools at its disposal, yet for many E-Learning professionals, Visual Identity Guidelines are seen as a hindrance.

Looking for reasons why so many of my industry peers go as far as actively trying to discourage a client from using their own guidelines reveals an interesting fact. Rarely, if ever, does an organisation have a specific set of rules for E-Learning Graphic Designers to follow. Unfortunately, this can often result in designers being asked to use the next best thing, the guidelines for creating PowerPoint presentations!

Working Without Specific E-Learning Brand Guidelines

When we start work on a new E-Learning project, the brand guidelines are one of the first things we ask for, sometimes they’re fantastic, other times they’re extremely limited and on rare occasions they don’t exist at all. Each of these situations offer their own set of challenges that an experienced E-Learning Graphic Designer will rise to.

In cases where we haven’t been given any specific E-Learning guidelines we’ll study the guidelines that exist for the other communication channels. We’ll also consider the elements used on the relevant brand’s website to see whether there is anything of use there. Simple things such as hyperlink styles, buttons and the icons used can really help to align the E-Learning with the rest of the branded materials and has the benefit of tying in nicely with existing digital assets. Even the PowerPoint guidelines can offer something useful, whether it be a slide background, title styles or a slide header, anything you can draw inspiration from is valuable.

We find that creating a selection of designs for the client to review is effective. These normally comprise of an on-brand version, a creatively branded version and something that blends the two together.

Why Brand Your E-Learning?

One of the questions I hear from a number of E-Learning professionals is “Why do we need to brand the E-Learning at all, it’s for internal use only?”.

This is a fair question to ask and I think the reasons for branding internal communications are similar to why you would brand external- or consumer-facing communications. Instead of looking to earn the trust of the consumer, you’re focussing on your employees, the very people who represent your organisation every minute of every day.

As well as providing a platform to educate your employees, E-Learning is a powerful way to help employees feel like they’re part of the bigger brand picture. Of course, communicating your message to employees is top of the list when developing E-Learning content but having correctly branded E-Learning materials can help facilitate this.

If your E-Learning has a generic look and doesn’t align to your brand, you’re increasing the likelihood that your learners won’t relate what they’re being shown to your organisation. Contrary to this, if you take the time to apply your branding to your E-Learning then your learners will be in no doubt that the message they’re being given is on-brand, trustworthy and worth remembering.

There will always be people who think that brand guidelines and E-Learning shouldn’t mix but as I stated at the top, an organisation’s Visual Identity is one of the most important communication tools at its disposal, it simply doesn’t make sense to ignore this.

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David Tait 4pt Limited

David began his career in eLearning in 2000 after earning qualifications in Graphic, News and Infographic Design.

He is passionate about creating well-designed and purposeful eLearning solutions and is a current Articulate E-Learning Heroes Super Hero.