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Graphic Design When You’re Not A Designer

Graphic design is an essential part of marketing. The way your brand looks makes a first impression with prospective supporters, whether that be on your website, social media, or through advertising. If people see a brand that has inconsistent graphics and a style that’s all over the place, they may be less likely to view you as a professional organization. Design and style choices say a lot about who you are. Don’t worry, even if you’re not a professional graphic designer, these tips will help you create a recognizable and professional brand.

Create a design style guide

The first thing to do before you begin designing is to create a style guide. While many organizations have an extensive style guide, you can start by keeping it simple with just fonts and colors. This simple step will help your organization have a definitive brand identity, and as you progress you can add on to your style guide. If you need help coming up with a cohesive color palette, try using Coolors. Having a consistent color palette will help your audience connect your content to your brand.

You don’t need to do it all from scratch

While the creative freedoms of Adobe products like Photoshop are great for full-time graphic designers, you can still make great graphics without having the skillset for advanced software. Online design sites like Canva offer templates to get you started as well as many customizable elements that you can add to your graphics to create a custom look. They even let you create a style guide that will include your brand colors and fonts. If you’re a nonprofit, your organization may be eligible for a free premium subscription through the Canva for Nonprofits program.

Take advantage of free resources

When it comes to sourcing imagery, you can find free stock photos on sites like Unsplash and Pexels. It can be hard to take photos of your own if you don’t have the proper equipment or staging, and these sites offer thousands of pictures that can fit your design needs. There’s a wealth of free tools for digital organizing — sign up here to get the guide of our favorite free tools for digital organizers.

Find inspiration from others

If you’re not a professional graphic designer and have run out of creative ideas, try finding inspiration from others! Looking through Instagram accounts of brands you follow can be a great starting point to get inspiration for your graphics, as well as a way to keep up with trends in graphic design. Your team can also be a great source of inspiration as well as feedback — sometimes it’s hard to see your designs through the eyes of others, and asking for feedback on your design to get some collaborative input might help you improve your design. Even professionals run out of creative ideas sometimes, so don’t be disappointed if it takes you some time to get used to trends and design elements.

Get professional help

Sometimes there’s just no one on your team that has the skills, capacity, or desire to be a graphic designer. If that’s the case for your organization, it may benefit you to hire a professional. Don’t worry, if your organization is struggling with graphic design, we can help! Set up a free strategy call to get started.


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