Page Layout Tools for Nonprofits
If you’re going to use professional design software, you might as well design like a pro, too — or at least, follow basic design elements to lend an air of professionalism to your materials. Professional materials can help in many ways, from attracting donors to establishing a brand identity for your organization. Think of it as an investment in your image.
When designing materials like brochures, posters or invitations, don’t be afraid to try out new fonts. But choose them carefully — some look more professional than others — and don’t use more than two or three at the most. Don’t use all capital letters, and don’t use stock clip art — it can look amateurish.
Choose your color schemes carefully. Some colors are more appealing than others, and some clash with others. There are Web sites that can help you pick color schemes — some of them are listed at the end of this article. If you have a Web presence or a brand identity, consider choosing a color scheme to match. While you don’t have to stick with the same color scheme every time, it can lend an air of familiarity and trustworthiness.
In short, good software gives you more control over the final product, but it’s good design that is going to make it pleasing to readers.
If your needs are straightforward — for instance, a text-based poster or a report layout — the package you already use for word processing might work fine. Most organizations already have one of these software packages, like Microsoft Word, OpenOffice.org Writer, or Apple Pages, and they provide more control over layout than you might think.
For instance, all three allow control over font style and size, header colors, columns and lines. You can insert images and have some basic control over how the text flows around them. They allow you to export your documents to PDF format - an industry standard for sharing designed documents.