The purpose of graphic design is to help communicate ideas or messages. Because of this, graphic designers are in an unique position to contribute to their community and society through their work. By using their various skills, designers can help non-profit organizations present their messages more effectively.
Designers working with organizations can help identify their audience and find the best method to convey their messages. Since technology is constantly changing, the most effective way to reach audiences is constantly evolving — where print works best for some audiences, the web is preferred by others. Selecting the correct media is one of the services designers can offer to their clients.
Non-profit organizations typically have smaller budgets. By using their expertise and experience, designers can provide solutions to make the most of the organization’s resources. Most graphic designers are problem solvers who love to create artwork that fulfill their clients’ needs and strengthen the organization’s identity.
Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work for a wide range of non-profit organizations. Starting as a graphic designer at PBS and NPR stations in Ohio, I designed artwork that supported fund-raising efforts to bring more radio and television programming to the rural Appalachian region. I also designed artwork to help support news, educational and informational programs. Seeing my work have a positive impact on my community had a profound effect on me. Over the years, I have continued to work with non-profit organizations helping them reach their educational, medical and social goals.
By working with these types of organizations, designers can make a difference, creating work that has meaning and contributes toward a better world. Terry Marks, a local designer, said: “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a fine spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
The AIGA recently launched Design for Good to support socially engaged designers.