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Monday, October 13, 2014

Is Clip Art Dead?

I made a resolution after falling in love with Articulate's eLearning Hero challenges that I was going to try and complete as many as possible. After scrolling through the current list and checking off the ones I have already done (See my examples here). I decided to take a stab at #8. I think the reason why it struck my interest the most is my current interest in vector images (I'm really liking the flat trend) and the fact that previous employers had a strict No Clip Art rule.  But is that really fair?

Clip art began in the early 80s with the introduction of personal computers.  It quickly became a wide spread trend for programs to include some type of "quick image" option. The most notable in my mind would have to be Microsoft's which was introduced in the mid 90s. Mostly because around that time my family got our first personal computer (Who remembers Clippy!!). They were quick, easy to use and could represent almost any topic. Around this time Adobe introduced and reinvented some of its products making it easier for the common joe (with money to burn) to create personalized material. As modern day graphic design began to gain momentum the use of clip art slowly declined as it was seen as a outdated method.

Is there anything wrong with clip art? No! As a matter of fact some of the offerings are quite modern and useable (check out 1280 and 1568).  It's also a fun task to manipulate the images to work in your restraints as well. So that's exactly what I did.

The Challenge:
Show and share your clip art-inspired template using one or more clip art objects:

  • Objective: Create one or more e-learning template slides using free clip art objects.
  • Tools: You can use Articulate Storyline, Articulate Studio, Word, or PowerPoint to create your template.
  • Notes: Please include the clip art file you used for inspiration.  
I began by looking at the suggested styles. Up until the moment of reading the challenge post I didn't even know styles existed.  It only makes sense but not knowing has kept me from utilizing this search tactic for the last 10 years! One thing I had discovered is the free download from Microsoft called Silverlight.  When used with clip art it gives you the option to pull together images that are similar in style and subject matter.  I find it easy to use and worth the free download (find it here). I ended up finding a group of people with similar faces who ironically didn't have a style and what prompted me to add Silverlight to my current work computer.

Elements and Background:
I started fishing through the images and couldn't find a solid topic I liked. I thought about family therapy training but my limited knowledge on the subject matter immediately had me running for the hills.  It wasn't until I noticed I had a couple images of the people cooking that I decided to create a prototype of a training about basic cooking skills.  I started looking around for what I would need to represent a kitchen and food and found style 599 to be of my liking. I wanted something that would stand out to my background which I planned on being flat so the curvey unfinished lines were a great addition (this wasn't going to turn into a Where's Waldo!). I knew that I didn't want to use them as is so I went through the easy but annoying task of removing the background color, making sure it was PNG and filling in a color I wanted the way I wanted it. I also looked around for a background kitchen image to base my recreation and found inspiration in one off Shutterstock. I figured sticking with the food theme I would come up with a somewhat dark color scheme after seeing an image of tomato soup (inspiration comes from every where!).


Mid Edit


Color Scheme:

I decided that the training would be a basic course on three relatively simple tasks; scrambled eggs, salad and a fruit smoothy.  I quickly started creating my background image and cooking elements.  I then realized I had an excellent opportunity for a gate screen where the user can pick what to cook and it checked off challenge #3 requirements! I decided that the end goal was for the user to gather items on a supplies list and then complete the necessary tasks to make the food.

During and After:
I got so lost in creating things that by the time I realized it I had WAY more hours into this project then I ever expected.  I had to cut myself off from developing it further (Work *sigh*) so right now it's just a representation of gathering the supplies for one cooking task. Ideally I would have added other items into the kitchen as distractors and considered making it a timed task. If I was working out of an actual course development software program instead of PowerPoint I would of liked to create the actually cooking element as well. Even with my time restraints I feel like I still ended up with a really great example of how to incorporate clip art into a training project.

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