When you are building a nonprofit, one of the first things you need to consider is branding. How you can properly brand for you to create the right impression you want. But often, nonprofits ignore it, whether out of ignorance or they don’t care. So their lack of consciously creating a brand strategy hit their reputation and dent its value perception.
But before we get into it, let’s make something clear here.
Many people think when they create a logo, that’s it! A logo is just one element of the whole branding package. There are many branding touchpoints out there. In this article, I am going to mention a few of the basics you need to do to get started.
As a small nonprofit, one of the things you need to do is selecting colors. Choosing colors is fun, but sometimes it can be hard to get the right matching colors for your brand. People find it daunting to choose the right colors that will invoke the feeling that they would want people to feel about them.
To choose the right color for your nonprofit, you need to understand some colors and their meanings. You don’t want to choose red, yellow, and blue, except if your nonprofit is about children. These are the primary colors; they are all too often seen in children’s books.
To help you speed things up, you can use a color wheel or have a designer help you match the colors for you.
Be conscious about using colors. Don’t just throw them on your print and digital designs. If you use a consistent branding color on all your identities, it will tie everything together and give it a unifying look. Your brand should be memorable and cohesive.
The second aspect you need to consider is fonts. For colors, almost all nonprofits choose colors because that’s highly visual and forget about fonts.
Fonts are very crucial in branding because you use them in every aspect of communicating your brand message. You use it to communicate every day, but you’re not conscious of its usage. My recommendation is, choose 1–3 fonts.
We have different types of fonts, and choosing the ones that will contrast is daunting. First off, I must tell you to stay away from Arial, Helvetica, and Times New Roman. Except if you want your copy to look like it’s from the 1970s.
Sometimes, choosing just one font with a variety of family members is just what you’d need. You will have a concordant copy with lots of family to contrast. But if you can choose one serif and Sans-serif fonts, that is the best idea. The main point here is contrast—difference, not similarities.
If that’s the idea you go with, you must select one for your headings and the other for body copy. Consistently using your selected fonts on all your digital and printed materials will make you stand out of the crowd in your game.
There are many other brand touchpoints like illustrations, images, sound, tone, etc. but these are the basic ones you need to start branding.
Brand or visual identities are all those elements that people see and also interact with about your nonprofit. We are going to talk about three identities I consider as the face of your brand.
Logo design is broad; it encapsulates a lot of conceptual thinking to come up with one. There are different kinds of logos with various design trends and patterns. Start by asking yourself about what you’d want people to think of you when they see your logo. And obviously, that is narrowed in the story behind the logo.
Logos are not just ordinary symbols, but they depict a message. That is where creativity plays a role. One thing to also note is to make it simple. Often, people confuse visual complexity for beauty. But in design, less is more. The less noisy, clean, and elegant your design is, the beautiful.
The best way to design these three things is to do it together with the same design layout. The reason for this is that you want to have a professional look that reinforces each other and makes everything unified and cohesive.
Choose one alignment and structure on all three. You can put your logo at the top and contact info at the bottom right or left of the page.
Who said they all have to be at the top of the page?
Don’t just type your organization’s name in large fonts across the top and put your logo on the left and right of the page. You’re good with one, and it doesn’t have to also be at the center. Left or right is also good but make sure you’re conscious of it.
You must try to make sure you stick to the same structure on all of them; when you give your business card to someone today and send them a letter next week, they’d instantly know it’s from you.
Don’t design everything separately and uniquely. If everything is unique, nothing stands out.
Many organizations and small businesses, especially in developing countries, don’t even bother to create a website. It’s whether they don’t know they need to design one or they think it’s too costly.
But the case is not always like that. With codeless tools now available on the internet, you can even design your website yourself. Pick a theme that looks like what you want to create and change it to your unique design.
I wrote an article about why every nonprofit, regardless of size, must design a website
A website is also an excellent place to empower your brand to shine through and become more memorable.
The main point here also is consistency. You should design consistent header navigation and footer on all pages. You don’t want people to wonder whether if they are still on your website or they’ve unconsciously fallen into another land altogether.
Colors and images hugely impact nonprofit website design. You can experiment with your color palette here and create something unique.
Branding for nonprofits is very crucial, and it’s an essential aspect of a nonprofit setup. Be conscious of what you’re doing to brand yourself well. It’s about the way you communicate and how you want people to perceive you. You want your brand to be recognizable and memorable, not the opposite.
If you read to this point and you are wondering how you can get started creating a unique brand for your nonprofit, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and discuss your needs with me.
If you’d like to know more, click here to see some of my work.
Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below. I’ll be glad to read them.