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AbstractDeveloping effective instructions for complex, sequential tasks is a challenging information design problem. The focus of this thesis is on the non-verbal, visual explanations. This thesis attempts to define a set of instructional communication standards necessary to develop highly functional graphic design solutions to complex instructional information. These standards are then applied to free-weight instructions to improve their clarity and usability. Free weights, or dumbbells, are heavy-weight, metal bars that are lifted in repetitive steps to gain or tone muscles through resistance. When attempting to use currently available free-weight instructions, most people are unsure how to interpret them. This can lead to unnecessary confusion, and even injury in some cases. An established set of standards that simplifies and clarifies sequential visual explanations will result in less confusion and fewer injuries. It is hoped that these standards for instructional design will be useful to a wide range of similar design problems where complex, sequential instructions need to be conveyed with clarity, simplicity and grace.