Graphic Designers: Here’s How To Make a Difference Right Now
Elaine Lopez
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Elaine,

I agree 100% with what you say in this article.

You’re right. Client usability is extremely important. As is helping to make sure that they are spending their money on the right thing. Dozens of boxes of unused flyers and brochures only serve to take up space and waste needed money. I’ve seen this happen more than once.

You’re right that good graphic design can help supercharge an organization’s ability to do good work, get funded, and communicate with people. Working with a nonprofit will give designers the chance to help guide an organization through the design process and advocate why one design is going to better serve their needs than another.

You’re reasons to jump and work for social impact are part of the reason I enjoy working with NPOs over the years. I’ll also add:

4) Self worth. Giving back has an immense power in one’s life. To know the work you do plays a positive role in the world helps build true self confidence. It touches deep chords inside me in regards to personal responsibility.

I must advise any designer, and design firms, contemplating making their own opportunities in helping out with social impact, to have a good talk about compensation with the org that they are doing work for. A lot of groups don’t have much of a budget for design, and make due on what they are given. I would recommend that negotiating some form of compensation. Because when you are designing an identity package or some other extensive design undertaking, and they want to put it on a deadline and they don’t have a budget to pay you for it, you may find yourself getting burnt out or having negative feelings. That helps no one. My own experience has shown me the importance of asking for some sort of skin in the game, that is, asking for some sort of investment on their part. You are letting them know you are as valuable as they are, reminding them that you are a professional, and that you are a partner in their success. Again, this is a chance to help guide better communication and understanding of how “good design can serve them by taking their mission (and your creative work) further than ever.”

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