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Even with the most capable, imaginative marketing committee and plan of attack, an organization with publications that are aesthetically disastrous is doomed for failure.  Because visually appealing publications are fundamental to a campaignís success, fortunately organizations can learn how to create original design for stationary, brochures and other campaign material without breaking their budget.

The first necessary step involved in graphic design is to keep oneís eyes open for new ideas and techniques.  Inspiration can be found through research, by looking at examples in newspapers, brochures, magazines or magazines.  While doing your research, take note of the layout, the font choice, whether images are produced in black and white or color, what shapes are used, etc.  These are examples of deliberate decisions; if a publication is alluring, it is usually a result of strategic planning.

A major part of planning a graphic layout is considering the target audience.  Think of the differences between the look of Seventeen magazine and the Wall Street Journal, for instance.  These differences are examples of the way a designer caters to the taste of a publicationís readers.  Likewise, a nonprofit organization must consider their potential donors and clientele when developing a pamphlet, newsletter or other campaign material.  For instance, a organization with the reputation of being conservative might consider visually representing values such as tradition in their printed materials. This style is often described as classic or subdued; it is not usually found to be flashy.  Essentially, design is a medium for communication, and an organization usually wishes to communicate a particular message to a particular audience.  These intentions must be conveyed visually.

The next aspect to consider in design is composition.  Although many people believe one has to be born with artistic talent or spend many years in professional training to have a knack for compositional arrangements, this assumption is simply not true.  Of course, it helps to have a good eye, but consider how many people who arenít especially artistic are able to come up with a great outfit, or successfully arrange the furniture in their living room. In many ways, creating an effective publication is an extension of the same ability to please the eye.  However, graphic design differs in that it requires three additional, yet easily attainable skills:  a basic understanding of composition, typography and layout.


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