A few months ago, Beth Brodovsky, a long-time Twitter friend made via trusty #assnchat, invited me to join her for her podcast Driving Participation to chat about the challenges of being a communications pro at a small staff association. To me, one of the biggest challenges of wearing all hats communications/marketing/web/social media/editorial is graphic design. It’s like “one of these things is not like the others”–words, whether on paper or online, I’m fine with (who says an English degree isn’t valuable?). Images? Not so much. I know what looks good, but creating it? A struggle and a half…to put it mildly.
So Beth and I talked about the challenges of handling graphic design when you’re not a designer–a subject that I know I’m not alone in tackling. Even outside the association world, job descriptions are becoming more and more far-flung when it comes to communications and marketing positions. Yes, they want you to be a good writer with strong editorial skills. But you now also need to know how to code, create and execute social media strategy, manage online communities, create and edit video and be skilled in graphic design. All for, usually, a salary in the $50k-$75k range–if that high. Of course, price out any of these functions to a professional graphic designer, social media consultant, video editor or freelance writer/editor and you’realize that each of these is a specialized skill-set that commands a high price tag. But we all have to pay the rent, and variety is fun, so we just Macgyver it and hope for the best.
At any rate, if you’re a communications or marketing pro who is struggling with delivering on your new graphic designer hat, give a listen to the podcast, and/or download the transcript. Beth and I chat about particular challenges like coming up with images in different sizes for social media posts, figuring out how to be a designer with both no training and no budget for the necessary tools, and we both give tips on our favorite tools for getting the job done. Beth is a seasoned graphic design professional and her agency, Iris Creative, works with associations and nonprofits, so she has some great advice for the unique challenges that nonprofits face when it comes to graphic design on a shoestring budget.
Beth and I list out our favorite apps and tools for creating or editing graphics–what are some of yours? I can always use another free tool in my graphic design arsenal, such as it is.
In the meantime, I need to head over to Canva to create a graphic for this post….