September 26, 2018

25+ free (or low-cost) design resources for nonprofits

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 3:08 pm

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

When I present my branding and marketing workshops to nonprofits, I inevitably get asked the question: “Is there any way we can do some of this stuff on our own? (preferably for free or not a lot of money!)”

Well, with a little bit of digging, plus my own huge list of resources (I’m a research junkie), I put together this list of free or low-cost design resources for nonprofits and higher education.

Fonts

Fonts are intellectual property, so they must be licensed before you can use them, so I don’t recommend downloading free fonts unless it’s from a reputable site that sells fonts (see below). Most font sites offer free fonts or inexpensive bundles, which is a great way to test drive fonts and build your collection.

Always make sure you have licenses for the computer(s) you are using your fonts on, and don’t share them unless your license allows usage on multiple computers. Read Monotype’s guide to font licensing for more info.

Stock Photography & Illustrations 

Just like fonts, images are intellectual property. Never—I repeat—never use an image that you “grabbed from the web” (i.e Google Images, blog posts, etc.) I have personally known colleagues who have been threatened with legal action for using an unlicensed image. It’s no joke.

Always make sure you have a license appropriate to the usage you need, or choose royalty-free. See my quick overview of stock photo usage, or head over to StockPhotoRights.com for more in-depth information.

Also, if you are using images from a free stock photo site, just remember that lots of other people are also probably using that same image. So save it for social media or other casual usage, and use licensed stock photography (or even better, hire a photographer) for images that are more critical to your organization’s branding and marketing.

Cision has curated a huge list of websites with images that are not protected by copyright laws and/or in the public domain (i.e. historical images, images created by the federal government, etc.)

Design Templates

Of course, I would always encourage you to hire a graphic designer (hint, hint) to design identity and marketing materials for your organziation. But I totally get it: sometimes timing and/or budget just doesn’t allow for it. In that case, I’ve given my stamp of approval for using a template from one of these sites.

Design Learning

My clients at smaller organizations often ask how they can learn design basics or related applications. The resources below are perfect for diving into a design topic or application.

I also offer onsite design and branding workshops that can be tailored to your needs. Reach out to me to learn more or schedule one for your organization.

Graphic & Video Editing

Images and video are crucial for getting noticed in print and social media. For important organizational marketing materials (identity, brochures, reports, event invitations, etc.), I do suggest working with an experienced graphic designer. But for editing a photo on the fly or creating a social media video, these sites make DIY fast and easy.

Did I miss something? Let me know so I can add it to the list. And be sure to bookmark this page—I will update it as new resources are available.

Stay tuned for the rest of my series, Free (or Low-Cost) Design & Marketing Resources for Nonprofits, as it becomes available.

June 18, 2018

Recap: A to Z of Design blogging challenge

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

For the last 4 years, I’ve been participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge—a daily blogging challenge during the month of April.

Last year, I started a series called A to Z of Design (including basic design terminology for non-designers) but work/life got in the way and I never finished it. So this year, I restarted the series and I’m happy to say, I finished it!

Read the A to Z of Design and learn design basics—everything from A (alignment) to Z (zip)!

See my past A to Z blogging series’, A to Z of Being a Mom in Business and A to Z of Branding.

May 10, 2018

DESIGN DEMO: Tracking

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , — lidia @ 2:14 pm

When you are typesetting a presentation or other large design, it’s always a good idea to adjust tracking (letter spacing) as large gaps between letters can be more noticeable at large sizes.

May 2, 2018

A to Z of Design: Z is for ZIP

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , — lidia @ 3:47 pm

A to Z of Design: Z is for ZIP

A ZIP (Zone Information Protocol) file is a file format that compresses multiple files into a smaller, more manageable size. ZIP files are easily restored by clicking to unzip the file.

I always recommend creating a ZIP when sending multiple files—especially if sending font files as they can get corrupted in transfer.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

May 1, 2018

A to Z of Design: Y is for yard

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 5:06 pm

A to Z of Design: Y is for yard

Ok, so we don’t actually use yard measurements in graphic design, but I had to stretch my creativity to find a design term that starts with Y!

Back when I started out (ahem, before computers took over), graphic designers had a unique measuring system that was all our own. It consisted of points and picas and I loved it because it was based on multiples of 12 (and therefore easy to calculate in your head).

Points are still used for measuring type sizes (as well as things like paragraph leading) however picas have gone the way of agates (another design measuring system, which was slightly before my time). I was a pica holdout for quite some time, however I finally gave in and reluctantly started using inches.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

A to Z of Design: X is for x-height

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , — lidia @ 11:18 am

A to Z of Design: X is for x-height

X-height is the distance between the baseline (the line a letter sits on) and the top of a lowercase letter, excluding ascenders and descenders (the parts of the letters that extend up or down). The name comes from the fact that x-height is measured by looking at the height of the letter “x” in a typeface.

Typefaces with large x-heights may appear crowded when used in body copy, and will need extra leading to assure legibility.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

April 30, 2018

A to Z of Design: W is for weight

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 3:24 pm

A to Z of Design: W is for weight

Weight is the range of a typeface stroke’s width. Most type families are available in weights of Normal (or Regular), Semibold, and Bold. Some also include weights such as Light and Extra Light or Heavy and Extra Bold.

The weight of a typeface is especially important to consider when designing a print piece with small type as too light of a typeface could be illegible.

Weight should also be considered when designing for the web as light type weights can seem to “disappear” on computer screens or mobile devices.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

April 25, 2018

A to Z of Design: U is for usage

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am
A to Z of Design: U is for usage

Icon by Adrien Coquet from the Noun Project

Image usage rights are generally available in royalty-free or rights-managed options.

Rights-managed (RM) images are basically “rented” from the image owner, so they are limited by things such as duration of use, type of use (i.e. editorial, print, online), geographic location, or number of impressions.

Royalty-free (RF) images allow (nearly) unlimited use, in any application for as long as you like, based on the terms of the license agreement.

There are also now multiple online sources for free stock images licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, which means they can be used anywhere without attribution required.

But always check the licensing information on the website for any photo or illustration you purchase or download before using them.

And most importantly, just because you find an image online doesn’t mean you can use it! Research the image first to see if a license or attribution is required.

See this website for more information about image usage rights.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

April 23, 2018

A to Z of Design: T is for tint

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 8:29 pm

A to Z of Design: T is for tint

A tint is formed when white ink is mixed with a color to make the color lighter. It’s also called “screening back” a color and is indicated by a percentage. Using tints allows you to include multiple colors in a design when a project budget only allows for 1-color printing.

A shade is formed when black ink is mixed in with a color to make the color darker.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

April 21, 2018

A to Z of Design: S is for serif

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

S is for serif

Serifs are the small lines or flourishes that extend from the beginning and end of a stroke on a letter or symbol. Serif fonts have this decorative element, while sans serif fonts do not.

Serif fonts are usually easier to read in printed works, which is why most books are typeset in a serif font. However, sans serif fonts can be more readable online, due to the lower resolution of computer monitors and digital devices, which can make thin serifs difficult to see.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

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