5 Tips for Making Visuals for your Nonprofit & Small Business

Over the last two days I have been on a teaching blitz as I presented Creating and Using Visual Content - a Spark Mill class and Using Visuals to Showcase your Metrics with Dashboards and Infographics at Nonprofit Learning Point.  The two classes had lots of cross over information.  After teaching similar content for two days I felt the need to share the top tips and some of the amazing outcomes from the class. 

Below you can find the top 5 tips for making visuals for your nonprofit and small business. 


1. Know Your Audience and Know Your Goal

Any kind of visual will be stronger if you thoughtfully consider who it is for and what you intend for them to do or learn.  Here you should be guided by answering the question  SO WHAT?

2. Always design on paper first. 

If you are not a trained graphic designer, then you will save yourself a considerable amount of time if you grab some paper, markers, and washi tape and make your mistakes there.  This allows you the opportunity to work out formatting time and will make your design time more worth it in the long run.  If you think I am wrong then watch this inspiring TED talk by Author and speaker Sunni Brown

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3. Hire a Designer if You can

A professionally trained graphic designer will create amazing and thoughtful designs.  There are a few moments where you really ought to hire including the development of your logo and brand standards. To the right is an example of professionally designed brand standard sheet, in this case by the awesome Campfire and Co. Because I have this sheet I am able to manage a lot of my collateral by myself and keep the general brand of The Spark Mill intact.

4. Use Awesome Free Tools

Okay, so you don't have the money.  First, you do have some money - get professionally designed brand standards so you can easily maintain consistency.  Next here is a round-up of some of my favorite tools.

  • Canva - I heart Canva, seriously while it is beta, I have come to rely on its ability to make well designed things in a jiffy.  You can control all aspects and even purchase stock photos directly from them.  The super most awesome thing they offer are really great tutorials.
  • PicMonkey - The best value for paid content on the web for editing pictures. 
  • SnapSeed - On your phone and tablet - one of the best editing suites

5. Give it the best dressed sniff test

This may sound funny but show your finished item to the best dressed person in your office. Odds are they have an eye for design and sometimes we need to be called out for too many fonts or odd spacing. 

Finally, here is a slideshow of some of the awesome dashboard and infographics created in my class with ordinary craft supplies. #ComeLearnGoDo

Sarah MilstonComment