Three graphic design tools to help you create superb learning assets

Three Graphic Design Tools To Help You Create Superb Learning Assets

If you are looking for the best graphic design tool, you will have a number of different options to select from. This can make it a little bit overwhelming, as it’s hard to know which tool is going to be right for you without trying them all.

Luckily, we have done all of this hard work for you, so you don’t have to. Read on to discover more about the main graphic design tools – Adobe Spark, Visme, and Canva.

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Canva

Let’s begin with Canva, which is a powerful drag and drop editor. If you’re looking for a simple design solution that will enable you to create impressive, professional-quality graphic designs, this is a good choice. You will have more than one-million fonts, graphics, and photographs to choose from, and the tool itself is pretty user-friendly.
The main benefits of choosing Canva

Canva is a robust and simple online design platform, which means it is suitable for all skill levels. It gives anyone the power to turn an idea into a stunning graphic with ease. If you are not graphically inclined, Canva is a good option to consider.

Canva is also budget-friendly, yet this does not mean that it has compromised in the feature department. You can achieve a lot on this platform.

What features does Canva have?

These are some of the main features you will be able to make the most of should you decide to opt for Canva:

  • Speech bubble maker
  • Image cropper
  • Add texture
  • Stickers
  • Photo frames
  • Design grids
  • Photo blur
  • Photo enhancer
  •  Badges
  •  Web wireframe
  •  Free icons
  •  Photo vignette
  •  8,000 templates
  •  Image transparency tool
  •  Add text to photographs
  • Photo straightener
User experience
You need to create an account on Canva to get started. This ensures your projects are saved so you can go back to them at a later date.
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You will be asked what type of user you are, for example, a non-profit, business, personal, teacher, or student. This will impact the design types you are presented with and potentially the promotions you see.

Canva is largely based around templates, so you will pick a category and then be presented with plenty of options to select from. It’s a straightforward process, so you should find Canva pretty easy to use.

Canva plans and prices

Canva has a free plan available, as well as two paid SMB and enterprise pricing packages, ensuring different user demands are met. There is a free trial available, which is always great news.

With the free plan, you are going to get access to millions of photos, which cost $1 each. You can also upload your own images, access more than 8,000 templates, get 1GB of storage for assets and photos, add up to 10 team members for free, and use two folders for the organization of your designs.

Canva for Work will cost $12.95 per month. You get everything in the free plan, yet you can add up to 50 team members and use an unlimited number of folders. Storage is also unlimited. There are plenty of extra features too, including uploading custom fonts for your brand, setting color palettes, magically resizing designs, priority support, and much more.

If this is still not sufficient, you may want to consider Canva Enterprise. You will need to contact the company for a quote. Some of the main features of this include 99.9% uptime SLA, a dedicated account manager, advanced analytics, team administrative controls, and more.

Visme

If Canva is not the graphic design tool for you, you may want to consider Visme instead. Visme is an all-in-one content creation solution, which enables you to create and share stunning content, including graphics, videos, documents, infographics, and presentations. Like Canva, you don’t need to have any design skills to use this tool, so it really is suitable for all.
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Benefits of Visme

There are a number of benefits that stand out when using Visme. You can create animated graphics and there is a big focus on interactivity, enabling customers to interact with your content through the likes of hover-overs and pop-ups.

Graphs and charts also make up a big part of what Visme has to offer. These visuals are great for anyone seeking to communicate the latest news, studies, and stats. You also have the power of publishing projects and sharing them via URL, which is a handy feature.

The platform also comes with rich analytics, which is ideal for project managers looking to measure how their content is performing so that they can improve future output.

What features does Visme have?

These are some of the main features you will be able to make the most of should you decide to opt for Visme:

  • Graphics and charts
  • Access management
  • Animations
  • Lead generation
  • Content database
  • Drag and drop functionality
  • Offline mode
  • Project templates
  • Microsoft Office integration
  • Customer activity reports
  • Collaborative interface
  • Video and streaming support
  • Social media marketing
  • Privacy and safety
  • User interface
  • Document templates
  • Data visualization
Visme plans and prices

Visme also has a free plan available, as well as a number of paid plans. You can make considerable savings on the paid plans should you choose to pay per year, rather than per month. For example, the Standard Plan for Individual use is $25 per month, yet this reduces to $14 per month if you pay for a year upfront.

The free plan comes with public projects, a number of widgets and charts, download as JPG, limited templates, 100 MB of storage, and the ability to do up to five projects.

You then have the option of a Standard Plan for Individual Use, Single Plan For Business Use, and a Student Plan.

The Standard Plan comes with color palette creation, all charts and widgets, no Visme brand on projects, all premium assets and templates, 250 MB storage, and up to 15 projects.

The Single Business Plan boasts all of this, yet you get 10 GB of storage and unlimited projects. Other extras include being able to record audio, a brand kit, organization with folders, collecting and storing leads, privacy control, slide library, and download as HTML5.

The Student Plan is very similar to the Standard Plan, yet it is charged at $30 per semester instead.

Adobe Spark

Finally, we have Adobe Spark. This merges three Adobe properties: Adobe Voice, Adobe Slate, and Adobe Post.

User experience

It is really straightforward in terms of getting started with Adobe Spark. All you need is an account with Adobe.  Alternatively, you can log-in with your Google or Facebook credentials. There is nothing to install or download. In terms of the apps, these can be downloaded with ease from the app store.

The interface is easy-to-use. Once you have logged onto the website for Adobe Spark, you will have three simple options to select from, which are represented by big, colorful buttons. These options are Video, Page, and Post.

Each option will be presented with a short description and a plus sign.

So, what does each feature offer?

  • Video – This is for presentations and tutorials.
  • Page – This is for info pages, catalogs, and portfolios.
  • Post – This tool is designed to help you create a social meme.
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Adobe Spark Benefits

Adobe products tend to have a big learning curve, but we are pleased to say that this is not the case with Adobe Spark. The solution is accessible to complete beginners, which is quite a feat for this brand.

You can also build unique web projects quickly using Adobe Spark. From creating a landing page to turning an idea into a simple story; you can get your message you there with ease. It is a three-in-one solution, enabling you to make pages, images, and videos.

One advantage that Adobe Spark has over the competition si that it is completely free to use. You don’t have any premium parts to pay for. However, we must make it clear that Adobe branding will be included on the output, which can be a big drawback for a lot of people, especially those looking for a graphic design tool for business purposes.

What features does Adobe Spark have?

These are some of the main features you will be able to make the most of should you decide to opt for Adobe Spark:

  • Content management
  • Content permissions
  • Email integrations
  • E-commerce
  • Site analytics
  • Hosting
  • Marketing tools
  • SEO
  • Domain name
  • Drag and drop
  • HTML input
  • Templates
Final words

So there you have it: an insight into three of the best graphic design tools on the market today. We hope that this review has helped you to understand the differences between the three tools so that you can easily figure out which one is going to be the best for you.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a graphic design tool. It is all about figuring out what is most important to you and then selecting a tool that aligns with this.

Selecting the right media for digital learning can be a real puzzle. It’s a media puzzle. (You might not get that reference right now but keep reading and you will). The puzzle exists because there is just too many options and it is easy to be swayed by something pretty and shiny. So what is media? What are we talking about? Media can include (but not limited to) images/graphics of people, places and things; avatars, both 2D and 3D; audio/sound including voice over, podcasts, sound effects and music; videos and animations. Before you select your media, here are the 5 key things you need to consider:
1. Learner experience – What do you want them to achieve by viewing your media? Is it possible with what you selected?
To solve your e-Learning media puzzle, you must consider who your learners are and the outcomes you want them to achieve. If your media doesn’t fit, don’t use it. I’m sure you have all come across media in e-Learning that doesn’t work properly, poor quality and frankly a little confusing. If the image you really want needs to be stretched out of proportion to fit, don’t use it.  You need to select media that achieves the outcomes you want, not because you are whetted to a particular image or video or design concept. (I must have a video every second page)
“If the picture you really want needs to be stretched out of proportion to fit, don’t use it.”
e-Learning stretching images

If you stretch images in your e-Learning courses, your learners will notice. Find an alternative.

If you stretch images in your e-Learning courses, your learners will notice. Find an alternative.[/caption] Do you choose an Image or video for your learning? Video is probably one of the best types of media for digital learning as it has audio and visual elements which can be engaging and break up text. But be careful, depending on where your learners are viewing your videos, they can have issues with poor internet capability or low bandwidth where the video does not play or continues to buffer. This kind of negative learning experience is going to have a detrimental effect. Make sure you know who your learners are and if this is an issue for them, cut down your video usage. For example a low cost and low fuss alternative could be a labelled graphic or pointing out elements on a screen shot when explaining a key piece of equipment.
2. Relevance – You might see the connection between what you are teaching and your media selection, but do your learners?
When searching for media to incorporate into your digital learning make sure your selection is relevant to your learners.    I always talk about how I used to use an image of a racehorse in my training. The training was about the relevance of imagery, and the image was selected because I know many people would see the relevance of the image. It’s the same picture below, a picture of a racehorse that won the 2002 Melbourne Cup called Media Puzzle. So there was a definite relevance between the content, talking about the media puzzle and the imagery of the horse Media Puzzle. I understand that with my background in racing I have that connection and it’s relevant to me but I’m not the learner and using an image that is not relevant to the learners has no impact. You need to consider how relevant the image is to the learner. If the media does not have any impact on the learner than it is pointless.
selecting the media for e-learning can be a media puzzle

If I hadn’t pointed out the connection between the media puzzle and horse racing, would you have understood the relevance?

3. Accessibility – Will your media for e-Learning allow everyone to access it?
An advantage of e-Learning over a face to face training course is it’s accessibility by people you might not otherwise be able to reach. Ironically, e-Learning isn’t always accessible if designed only for people who have no disabilities. Disabilities requirements can be broad but some of the basic limitations your learners might have include hearing, sight and mobility restrictions. When solving your media puzzle consider how your media selection can be accessible to learners with these restrictions. How can your media be used in another way to make it more accessible? For example a video as part of an e-Learning resource is not accessible to people with visual disabilities so make sure provide a transcript. Closed captioning can be created for people with hearing disabilities. Images should have alternative text that provides a relevant description of the image so that screen readers are able to provide an accurate description.
4. Technical limitations – Does your learner have the knowledge and computer systems to support your e-Learning?
I remember a self confessed ICT developer and enthusiast once told me that she had to remind herself that not everyone gets as excited about system updates as she does. She would roll out the latest and greatest update and be totally astounded when her customers would ring and complain. They seemed to prefer the old way and didn’t like the fact that they had to learn a new way even though it was an improvement. Why aren’t they as excited as she is? Not everyone has strong technological knowldege or updated computer systems that can run the latest and greatest technology.
7-Technology-Fails-Laser-mouse-fail

Not everyone is keeping up with the latest trends in technology. In fact they aren’t even keeping up with old trends.

When selecting media for e-Learning, keep in mind learners’ technical requirements and limitations. Will they be able to listen the course, or will they be utilizing the course in on-the-job learning environments? Are you using media elements that may be too advanced for some computers or that some devices are unable to run? Alternatively, are you using media elements that are not supported by some computers or devices, for example Flash not being supported on mobile devices, IOS operating systems and through the Firefox browser. Also, you’ll want to consider whether or not your audience is tech-savvy. Will learners be able to navigate through the eLearning course easily with the multimedia elements you’ve added?
5. Size – Does size really matter?
The size of the media files (images, video and audio) can have an impact on the download or streaming of your eLearning content, especially when the learners have issues with internet connectivity or limited bandwidth. When it comes to images, the smaller the size, the better. Low resolution images (fewer than 100 pixels per square inch – 96ppi & 72ppi are the most common) are appropriate for use in eLearning and online materials. High resolution (greater than 300 ppi) are generally used for print resources and will have a larger file size. Size is also related to the file format. Use images that are JPG (or JPEG), GIF or PNG. All of these file formats keep file sizes very low by compressing the file and/or by reducing the number of colours in the image. Also consider the size of the audio and video files. Video files in MPEG 4 format (also known as MP4) (H.264 codec) are widely used (including recommended file format for YouTube videos) as they are displayable on a number of devices and browsers and can be of a smaller file size than other video formats (such as AVI, MOV, WMV). Audio files should be on MP3 format. This is an audio-specific file format that is designed to reduce the amount of data required to represent audio recording. .WAV is another common audio format (it is the file type that most simple computer-based audio recorders will produce), however this format, if uncompressed, creates a large file size making sharing online unpractical. Some key questions to ask yourself when selecting the media includes:
  • Is the media relevant to the learner, content and context?
  • How will students that do not have access to technology to view this media be supported?
  • If learners are bringing their own device how this is impact on the media you’re using?
  • How long is it going to take you to develop the media?
  • Does the development time relate to the benefit? What could you do quickly and easily?
  • Is the medium effective? Does it help students learn content better?
  • Is the medium accessible?
  • Does it suit the technology of the learners?
  • Are my images, audio or video files of an appropriate size?

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