5 Great (read: free) Design Resources for Nonprofits on a Budget

5 Great (read: free) Design Resources for Nonprofits on a Budget

5 Great (read: free) Design Resources for Nonprofits on a Budget

As a nonprofit, you probably want to use donations to do the good work your donors trust you to do. More often than not, managers will reject requests to purchase things like fonts or stock photos, citing that there are “free alternatives”.

Here are some of my favourite free resources that I used when working in-house at a nonprofit and still do with our nonprofit clients at Fission:

Canva

When your graphic designer is at Burning Man.

canva
Canva

Canva is ideal for making social media shareables, email headers, and blog images. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to use it. (Read: Making Great Images Canva)

Canva also has a massive library of photos and illustrations you can use in your design. The best part: if the images aren’t free, then they’re only $1.

Honorable mention: GIMP – it’s basically free Photoshop. Like Photoshop, it takes some time to learn, but once you get the hang of it, it’s hard to imagine life without it.


The Noun Project

When you need that one-pager to “pop”.

nounproject
The Noun Project

Icons are a great way to make any wall of text come to life. You can download vector icons on the Noun Project totally free. The only catch—if you use a Creative Commons icon, you must credit the creator. (Don’t know what Creative Commons is? Read this post: Creative Commons for Nonprofits)

Alternatively, you can pay a whopping $2 to buy an icon, allowing you to use it without attribution.

Bonus: Download Fission’s Nonprofit Icon Pack on The Noun Project!

Honorable mention: Flaticon — also a great place to get free icons.


Flickr

When you need an image to slap on to that post you and your staff spent hours writing, editing, getting approval, publishing, unpublishing (because someone found a typo), and then publishing again.

flickr
Flickr

I suggest you search for photos licensed under U.S. Government Works (professional-grade images with no need for attribution) or Creative Commons. In my experience, user-uploaded photos from Flickr are ideal for nonprofit needs—what they lack in gloss and sheen, they make up for in authenticity and accessibility.

Honorable mentions: Pexels, StockSnap, IM Free, New Old Stock (for vintage photos)


Google Fonts and Font Squirrel

When you just can’t even with Arial.

google_fontsquirrel
Google Fonts and Font Squirrel

All fonts on Google Fonts and Font Squirrel are completely free. Google Fonts has a particularly good selection of body text fonts, whereas Font Squirrel has an expansive selection of more decorative, memorable fonts. They’re both excellent resources—I suggest using them both.

Honorable mention: Behance – While Behance is primarily a portfolio site, talented type designers will often publish free, professional-grade fonts. I suggest looking here for more cutting edge decorative fonts.


Coolors

When it’s not blue, turquoise, or lapis—it’s cerulean.

coolors
Coolors

Coolors is an awesome colour scheme generator that makes picking colour schemes fun! All you have to do is press spacebar, and let the algorithm work for you.

Honorable mention: Adobe Color CC – If you get colour theory, Adobe Color is right for you. While the interface is much more involved than Coolors, it’s perfect for those who are looking for just the perfect shade.

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