Training graphics

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Training graphics are also called speaker support: audio-visuals; educational training graphics or courseware designs.

What is important is that the training graphics are dynamic, and liven up the text for the viewer.

:Is it necessary for the style to be the same throughout?

It depends very much on the formality of the occasion. But – I’ve seen consistent, beautiful, stylised graphics during a slide show at an informal 30-minute evening talk for web designers.

At the other end of the scale was some truly awful cartoon clip art for a presentation on trusts. The gathering was made up of entrepreneurs who’d all paid a fat chunk of money to be there. The clip art didn’t do the important and interesting info any justice, in my not very humble opinion. I was bothered enough by it to send a friendly (I promise) email to the speaker and hoped it didn’t look as though I was punting for work, which of course I MAY have been. But my greatest reward would have been to know that in future the presentation would look a little more ‘together’.

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Pitfalls in training graphics

  • Inadvertent sexism is another little matter to keep in mind, and most graphic designers would know better than to angle the entire talk at men only, in this day and age.
  • In South Africa, the diversity issue is something to consider as well when composing speaker support but most material has this well in hand by now.
  • Clutter is a major mistake and a very easy one to make. Imagine the eyes of the viewer(s) at halfmast after a hard day and a long life. When they arrive to absorb what you are offering, don’t give them a screen full of stuff. Let there be space in the togetherness, to misquote Khalil Gibran. White space is a Good Thing.
  • Use decent graphics. They don’t have to be lots of expensive stock photos or complex  illustrations. You can reuse one photo many times in different ways. Or use really simple, elegant line drawings/symbols. Cheap looks cheap and your standards will be judged. Worse, the audience will feel despised, which would be sad.
  • The more intense and difficult the training material is, the more graphics can do, to lighten things up and provide a rest for the eyes. Lots of white space around text and graphics also helps.

 

The viewer could be one amongst thousands in a vast auditorium. Or there could be just one lone mind sitting in front of a screen, absorbing it all late at night, and trying to better their income. To be part of this is a great honour and one needs to treat it with respect.

It’s a pleasure to pay tribute to my clients who’ve taught me so much about training graphics:

AdvTechCommunication and Training ConsultantsEskomWesbank; Unidata, now UnisysMr Price; Centrepeace; OneWorld and RCCPUnilever; and many others.