EdTech 506 Graphics for Learning

In my EdTech 506 class, a systematic approach to designing a learning unit was taken. I chose to do my final learning unit on Typography. Each week we were tasked with creating graphics related to the principles we were learning and apply the images to the final product. The following are the weekly graphics and forum justification posts for the weekly tasks. Access my final project to see how the graphics were integrated into the final learning unit.​

Universal Design of Instruction (UDI)

Visual literacy is the ability to communicate meaning through the use of an image. The image must be universal to all people and must be “read” without the use of a specific language or use of letterforms. Universal design addresses all design issues that influence all people and in everyday life situations.

With the increased use of technology in the classroom, I created the images to represent security. Padlock images are used as icons in computing, technology-based instruction, graphical user interfaces (GUI), and simply in security. The image on the left is an image of a closed padlock and can represent a secure, password protected, or encrypted environment. The image on the right is an open padlock and can represent an unsecured area, program, document, or webpage.  The lock and unlock symbols are visual indicators of security levels within all types of environments including physical places and/or virtual spaces.


My unit of instruction is on typography. To show the broad terms of typography, I chose to represent the history of type, type of text, and type styles. The four words are:

  • Printing press – I tried to make it look life an offset press with a piece of paper rolling off a drum onto a printer’s plate (akin to an old Heidelberg press).
  • Uppercase & lowercase – I positioned and changed the case of each to illustrate the words. Uppercase is in all caps while lowercase is not. I mixed the case in the word “Case”. Confusing to read, easier to see how I did it.
  • Boldface – Utilized the letters B O L D to make a face. Get it?
  • Oblique – italic type is often referred to as oblique so I slanted only two of the letters to the right 45 degrees.

The origins of type are broad depending on which era you are referencing. I chose to focus on the printing press since in revolutionized our ability to spread the printed word. Quite a few of the typographic terms we use on the computer now are from this time in history such as leading (the pieces of lead in between the movable type) which we use to refer to the distance between one or more lines of type. Uppercase & lowercase refer to where the movable type blocks were stored in either the upper or lower cabinet case. I also chose boldface and oblique since these are terms used in describing type styles.

Use of Shapes

The function of shapes in instructional design can be just as versatile as typography to emphasize content. The example I created for my ID project on the anatomy of typography lesson utilizes rectangles and squares to contain information and illustrate comparisons on the “Serif vs. Sans Serif” subject matter. The circles identify the difference between the two types of fonts facilitating the learner to focus on the subject matter. 

ACE it with PAT

Looking at the ACE model as a design process. ACE stands for analyze, create and evaluate. The ACE model is a part of the Design and Development phases of the ADDIE model of instructional design: principles, actions and tools (or PAT). Using the synectic approach, I created a visual metaphor to represent typeface recognition that would be part of the anatomy of a typeface lesson. The users are adult learners in a design course. An emoticon is a representation of a facial expression commonly used in internet writings such as e-mail, chatting, or text messaging. Using a colon, dash and curly bracket resembles a man with a mustache when rotated 90 degrees. The main point this graphic illustrates is that typeface recognition comes from association; much like how we learn to recognize people’s faces. In addition, the intent of the graphic is to show how the use of different typefaces can change the visual expression of the design.

CARP Principles

My unit of instruction on Typography included the CARP principle so there was an overlap again on what we were learning and what I presented in class. My graphic incorporates the CARP principle in the following way:

  • Contrast: Contrast is achieved in the reversed headline and reversed letters within the circles.
  • Alignment: All elements are aligned to the left both in the small graphic and in the detailed graphic organizer.
  • Repetition: The repeating elements are the circles within the headlines. Font usage has also been repeated in both images.
  • Proximity: Proximity refers to groupings. In the detailed organizer, the headline and the associated text for each principle illustrates proximity.

Selection Principles

What do theses faces have in common? They are all designers of type throughout history. The figure/ground principle is illustrated by the usage of fonts to create a face. If you look closely, you will see I created each face with letters and used the font that the designer originally constructed. This graphic will progress to the detailed graphic with more information for the learner.

The detailed graphic organizer (link below) changes the focus from the face to the information on the origins of the typefaces. I purposely changed the color of the faces and deleted the background silhouettes to keep the designer’s name and information as the focus:


Gutenberg's mustache is made from the capital J. Bodoni's nose is a question mark. Lubalin's mustache is made of ampersand characters. Can you see what other letters I used?

Use of Color & Depth

Lohr (2007) references Edward Tuft’s four functions of color to create informative yet appealing instructional materials. The four functions of color are labeling, identifying quantity and measurement, representing reality and creating aesthetic appeal (Tuft, 1990). Depth is also referenced as how the information stands out to facilitate selection.

In this instructional visual I created, typography students will learn to differentiate letters naturally occurring on a baseline and forcing a baseline shift using the typographic editing tools in Adobe Illustrator. A forced baseline shift is indicated in red. The baseline is indicated in blue. I also used blue in the headline to mimic the color of the actual baseline (subliminal impact).


Justification of the four functions of color:
1. Labeling - red and blue are used to differentiate information
2. Identifying quantity and measurement - measurement is shown by character’s relative height above or below the baseline
3. Representing reality – characters are represented using a before and after technique using only a baseline shift typographic function in Adobe Illustrator
4. Creating aesthetic appeal – visually pleasing by minimal use of red color so focus is on character shift from baseline

Depth was incorporated by the use of the drop shadow around the before and after examples to help them stand out.


Typography students will learn the basic typography functions in Adobe Illustrator. Using the organizational principle “chunking,” I arranged the information into blocks of related data. The arrow was utilized as a visual clue to direct the learner’s attention to the keyboard shortcuts and the corresponding graphic of each Illustrator function.

White Space

What you leave out is just as important as what you put in. Lohr (2007) describes space as a design tool and includes white space, negative space, counter space, and trapped space. For my Typography unit, the focus this week is on the “seven principles of typographic contrast” by Carl Dair. I used his quote and type manipulation verbatim on the first page since this describes and illustrates the concept of contrast very well. The first page uses black to create negative space. The following pages are slides of the each contrast principle. I used whitespace quite a bit so the focus will be on the type and the fonts utilized in the design.

Integration Principle

Lohr (2007) discusses the integration principle as Gestalt.  The definition of Gestalt is the perception that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Gestalt might be defined as the big picture. The final graphic I created is based on the Gestalt principle; integrating design principles to create a definition of typography as a whole.


Lohr, L. L. (2007). Creating graphics for learning and performance. (Second edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Tuft, E. R. (1990). Envisioning information. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.

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© 2013, denise reilley
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