Can businesses learn something about design from charities?

After 13 years working for a large corporation, Parminder Kalsi has joined nim design as Marketing Manager. Her experience is making her realise that businesses could learn a thing or two about design from charities. 

Social and digital media has altered the way customers relate to organisations and in this changing marketplace commercial companies are required to be more honest, open and authentic. Nim design works with many charities and in the last couple of years the team has begun to realise that businesses could learn a great deal from the way the third sector employs design to reflect the personality of its organisation and connect with audiences. 

In the past, designs for commercial and charity clients might have been quite different; cutting-edge, cool and smart formats for corporates and a softer, friendlier look for non-profit-making organisations. But this is changing. Now these approaches are beginning to merge as corporates seek to show their softer ‘human’ side and charities strive to look more professional. 

Marketers understand that visual branding and graphic design are powerful tools for conveying the image of an organisation. Words are important, but in a digital age, the visual representation of your brand makes the biggest impression. As commercial organisations wake up to the importance of engaging with stakeholders on a deeper level – they could look to the charitable sector for some tips. 

Charities have understood for some time that as well as demanding integrity, people are increasingly influenced by the level of corporate social responsibility demonstrated by a brand – whether this is around transparency, sustainability, climate change, human rights or fair trade. Successful businesses are beginning to recognise the changing priorities of their customers and are adjusting the visual representation of their brands to help communicate their position accordingly. Brands like The Salvation Army, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Foundation and Plan International have all understood that graphic design plays an important role in their relationship with stakeholders and their loyal client base is evidence of this.

Nim design’s creativity and expertise, honed over several decades, has given the team a unique insight into the way both commercial brands and charities can employ a more design-led approach to increase the appeal and reach of their brand. Your logo, colour palette, fonts, tone of voice and imagery all play a part in how your organisation is perceived. 

Increasingly our clients from all sectors understand the need to flex and stretch brand guidelines. In this new world where consumers and supporters are quick to switch their loyalty, clever design will enable your brand to connect with audiences, operate effectively on all communication platforms and reflect the issues that matter most to all your stakeholders. 

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