Why Corporate Brand Books Are Not Good For eLearning

Corporate Brand Books Are Not Good For eLearning

Nearly every company has its own corporate style regarding colors, fonts, and aesthetic design for presentations and promotional material: all recommendations on how to follow this style are presented in a Corporate Brand Book. You can see all different kinds of brand books, from really detailed ones, to those containing just a few tips on using a corporate logo or color scheme.

When eLearning course development became a common practice for many companies, some decided to use Corporate Brand Books for course design. While this may seem to make sense, I'd like to remind you what kind of content these Corporate Brand Books were developed for:

  • Corporate presentations for internal and for external events;
  • Marketing materials that should present company with it's own style and culture.

This means, that these don't include:

  • Reading a lot of on-screen text (perhaps, this is not good for an eLearning course, but still happens a lot);
  • Managing the attention and engagement of online learners;
  • Conveying meaning with all different types of design approaches.

Typical eLearning courses stay on-screen much longer than presentations, and need a lot more of the user's attention: they have to read, participate in interactive elements, and feel comfortable through the duration of learning.

For an eLearning course, we need color coding and attention-catching, engaging visual aids to help the learner remember the course. Using bright colors for important words or phrases is useful: you will definitely need colors for your organizational and learning graphics. For example, there are clients that don’t have any red or orange on their color palette: their entire Corporate Brand Book is blue, grey and green. All of those colors are calming and relaxing, but not about being alert and paying attention. The choice of color should always be a factor when designing a course.

Besides colors, fonts are one of the biggest issues. In an eLearning course, we tend to use mainly sans-serif fonts, which are the best for reading on-screen texts. But what if the Corporate Brand Book allows only a serif font, like Times New Roman, which is definitely one of the worst options for eLearning? We also need a font for comments, (like hand-writing or something else; creative but easy to read) and maybe even a third one for something special.

If you are confined to following a Corporate Brand Book, you can try one of these two options:

  • Develop a separate eLearning Brand Book. Some companies already use it, but be sure to give some space for creativity and keep in mind recommendations for using color in eLearning;
  • Agree on following only some of the guidelines, like logo placing and using color palettes for all the slides' content, while not exactly following the Brand Book verbatim.
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