Design that doesn’t interfere with fundraising

One of the most common self-inflicted injuries in fundraising is hard-to-read design. No matter how cool your design is, if it impedes readability, it is bad design.

Here’s some design help from the Hilborn blog, drawing on readability guidelines from The Canadian Association of Optometrists: Make your materials clear for older donors. Please don’t think this is only for elderly readers. Better readability is better for all ages.


  • Printed material is most readable in black and white.
  • Bigger is better. Keep your text large, preferably between 12 and 18 points
  • Leading should be at least 25% to 30% of the point size.
  • Avoid complicated or decorative fonts.
  • Opt for fonts with medium heaviness and avoid light type with thin strokes.
  • Don’t crowd your text: keep a wide space between letters.
  • Break text into columns to make it easier to read.
  • Use a matte or non-glossy paper to cut down on glare.

Do these things conflict with your brand guidelines or your personal preferences? If so, your guidelines (or preferences) are hurting you. It’s time to change them.


Comments

2 responses to “Design that doesn’t interfere with fundraising”

  1. Yes yes yes!! I am always fighting with designers about this. Especially designers who love, for some unfathomable reason, grey type on screens. Thank you for posting the link to this valuable study.

  2. Yes yes yes!! I am always fighting with designers about this. Especially designers who love, for some unfathomable reason, grey type on screens. Thank you for posting the link to this valuable study.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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