visual design
visual design for training

Visual Design

(VIZH-oo-al DEE-zeyen)

gas-like elements


What is Visual Design?

Visual design is the practice of incorporating basic visual design concepts to ensure print and digital materials are engaging and effective.

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Perfectly balanced Insights from Brian Washburn in What's Your Formula?

Whats Your Formula book
Order your copy to learn more about visual design and all of the related elements.

Elements that Bond beautifully with Visual Design

microsoft wordMicrosoft Word

Microsoft Word is not a graphic design program, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put in the effort. Yes, some wonky things can happen with the formatting, especially when you try to combine documents, but well-designed, clearly laid out handouts, participant guides, and job aids are more inviting and more likely to be saved and used after a training session ends.

powerpointMicrosoft PowerPoint

I’m always surprised by how many features are available in PowerPoint. In addition to the more popular features such as font, color, and layout choices, you can do some basic editing of images (removing items from the background, adjusting the color or transparency, and so forth) and basic cleanup of tables and charts to emphasize the data most important to your content and message.

adult learningAdult Learning

Keep in mind that adult learning, at its core, is ensuring learners understand the relevance of your content to their lives. Economizing on words, emphasizing key concepts, and making sure any data presented is clearly labeled and reduces the amount of guesswork your learners need to engage in are all ways to bring adult learning theory into your visual design.


When you choose to generate analog visual aids such as posters and flipcharts, be sure to take your time and prepare as much as you can in advance. Flipcharts can be powerful tools to which you and your learners refer all day.

rapid authoringRapid Authoring

Rapid authoring tools have made it easy for anyone to generate e-learning modules. Keep in mind that simply because a tool is easy to use doesn’t mean that you have a license to leave the learning materials ugly. Even when you’re under time and budget pressures, taking some time to make sure the visual experience is clean and doesn’t look like someone just used the default settings can make an impact on how your learners perceive the credibility of your course and your content.

Download the Element Sanity Check

Even if you haven’t yet purchased the book (what are you waiting for?!) you can get access to worksheets that will help guide you through the use of the elements of amazing learning experiences.