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Stay on Track – A Playlist for NOT Derailing Your Nonprofit Design Project

Posted by on August 3rd, 2017
Posted in Blog, Nonprofit Design    Tags: ,

nonprofit design project process illustration

Full disclosure, this post comes with tips, passion, AND some serious jams. 

What an exciting moment! You’ve decided to change your nonprofit’s logo or visual identity. You realized it just doesn’t do your organization justice.

Now it’s time to start picking out your favorite colors and fonts, right? Wrong.

Nonprofit design should be a strategic process. Anything and everything you create should be a carefully crafted tool that helps you achieve your goals. In addition to working with our clients on brand strategy, Mission Minded has an award-winning design team to help you bring those strategies to life.

5 Tips for Your Next Nonprofit Design Project (with soundtrack!)

 Shake it Out

Take a moment and admire what’s already been accomplished and built. Acknowledge how design has helped you achieve some of your goals. Nice work! Now shake it out and let it go. It’s time to move on. If you want different results, you must do different things. Enter your design project with excitement for the next phase of your organization.

 I Can See Clearly Now

If you’ve worked with Mission Minded on brand strategy prior to your design project, this is an easy step. Armed with a brand strategy that summarizes your reputation and goals, the way forward is clear—create a visual identity and logo that embodies that. 

If you haven’t done this brand strategy work yet, take a pause to get clear about what your new look must say about you that’s different from what you’re saying now. Be single-minded and explicit. And then write down those goals. This is your strategy for moving forward. Don’t stray from it.

 Stop. Collaborate and listen.

Unless you happen to be a graphic designer, you’re probably working with a pro. The only way to get the most out of that relationship is to understand your own critical role in the project. Your designer is expert at what he or she does. But you’re an expert when it comes to your organization. 

Be a partner and a collaborator. Bring your expertise and institutional knowledge to the table. Clearly, explain your goals. Think carefully about your answers, and provide all your thoughts and feedback at every step of the process. Great nonprofit design happens through true collaboration, not by you dictating exactly what you think the design should be.

 You Can’t Always Get What You Want

The final product may not have your favorite color in it. It may not say everything there is to say about your organization and all the amazing stuff you do. And that’s okay. What’s more important is that you get what you need. Remember the strategy you developed at the beginning of your project? Does your new visual identity or logo embrace the gist of that? Congratulations! That is no small feat.

 Let it Be

You’re done. Now stick to it. Resist the urge to add to your visual identity or change it frequently. A strong visual identity is a signal to your audiences that, over time, can help you achieve the reputation you need to accomplish your goals. It does not happen overnight. It does not happen in one week or one month, or even in one year. The moment you are starting to get bored with your new look is probably when it’s starting to take hold among your stakeholders. So just sit back and relax. Your visual identity is doing the hard work for you.

Wondering if it’s time for a new logo? Here are four telltale signs.

Check out some of Mission Minded’s nonprofit design work here.


Stephanie is a Mission Minded Brand Strategist and a huge Harry Potter nerd.

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