Design a brand

Primary and Secondary brand colors

Branding is an important part of creating eLearning content that will both represent your identity and look professional at the same time. It’s also a common challenge in eLearning to create courses that look good and function properly while staying on brand. This is an extreme example, but you get the idea. The example on the left has no brand elements applied, while the one on the right is branded and looks more appropriate. Branding guidelines, or a style guide, should be one of the first things you ask for when you begin to design an eLearning course. If the company has a style guide, it’s your responsibility to use it. Colors and fonts are the two most important categories in branding because they are so easily recognized, but you also want to make sure your courses are legible. Some guides may also mention logo placement, guidelines for imagery, and the tone of voice of the writing. Most brand guidelines offer primary and secondary color choices for the brand. In this example, you can see there are four primary colors and 12 secondary colors. This means we use the primary colors more often with the secondary colors being used as an accent or highlight colors as needed. If the brand colors are already allotted for things like texts and buttons, follow those rules. If not, take a look at the colors you have to work with starting with the primary palette. Find which colors go best and experiment with your options. Here I’ve tried several combinations of the primary colors to see which works best. Instead of using gradients, try a fresh approach.

Use transparent blocks of a single color to create depth for a background. Here I’ve used a primary brand color and applied transparency. I use this shade a lot in my courses, and we’ll cover that more in another video. A background image that’s got transparency applied can work nicely. Make sure all text is readable and high contrast against the background. Another approach is to use the image in its original form with a transparent shape over it in a brand color to house the text. Again, make sure it’s high enough contrast and legible. Play with the colors to find good combinations. Not all secondary colors are meant to be used together, so plan. Here I’ve grouped some of the secondary colors to see which combinations I like. One way to use color in your courses is to make each lesson a different color. As you can see in this example, both lessons in the course look similar in style, but each lesson is a different color. The slides look similar, so this helps tie the course together because all the elements are the same, but each lesson is distinguished as being able to stand on its own. Start each course by reviewing the brand guidelines and acquaint yourself with how the colors interact with each other. Choose strong color combinations that will enhance the course but not distract the learner.