How to create course images your students can’t miss

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We are all familiar with the old saying ‘a picture paints a thousand words,’ and in many cases it’s true.  

When choosing the right picture to put on your course banner you need to keep in mind what words you want to be associated with your course.

There is no denying imagery is a very powerful medium (according to range of statistics found here) Some facts:

This means making a good impression with your banner will result in a better impression of your overall course.

Having an interesting and well-designed banner or thumbnail can make the difference between someone clicking on your course or just scrolling by. The best way to create a stand out banner or thumbnail is through imagery!

One of the key things to remember when working with imagery online is sizing. Here are the important sizes that you need to know about your images on OpenLearning: 

  • Course banner: 2340 x 340px
  • Course landing page promo image: 900 x 450px
  • Course thumbnail: 600 x 300px (a 3:2 aspect ratio)

Sizing your images to fit these dimensions correctly is important for ensuring your imagery is not stretched or skewed.

SIZINGArtboard 2

Your course thumbnail and promo image will probably be the first things your students see so they should be exciting imagery that reflects your course.

The content of your imagery is just as important as the content of your message; you want text and image to work together. Also try to keep the tone of your image consistent with the tone of your message.

An often made mistake is the use of cliché imagery which doesn’t match the attitude and character of a course.

Try to avoid overly cliché images when creating a banner for your course.

blogArtboard 2 copy@2x

One way to ensure that your image is in tune with your course is to create your own imagery. If you don’t have the time or resources to create your own images, stock photos can be a convenient option. Many stock photos can be somewhat cliché, tacky and overused. This may mean not necessarily using the first photo option that pops up.

Here are a few good sites with free stock photos


If you have found an image that you like, but it still doesn’t quite fit with the tone of your course, don’t be afraid to edit it. A few small adjustments can take a photo from good to great!

These days there are many free photo editing software options available. Some of the most popular are

  1. Gimp
  2. Fotor
  3. Pixlr
  4. Canva

Canva is particularly good as it has many useful templates for adding text to your images so you can create effective design without being an Adobe whiz.

With these tips in mind, you can start designing course banners, thumbnails and promo pics, that will be sure to grab your students’ attention!

Happy designing  🙂 

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