We all know this intuitively—websites or flyers that are balanced, colorful, and visually interesting get
more attention. But if you work at a small nonprofit, chances are you don’t have much money to spend
on a graphic designer.

Fortunately, anyone can learn graphic design. Whether you’re already creating visuals for your
nonprofit’s communications or are interested in taking this on and know nothing about it, we can help
you gain the knowledge and skills you need to wow your followers with interesting and attractive

Join us for a three-week course that will walk you through the fundamentals of design and show you
how to get started with the right tools.

During this course you’ll:

  • Learn about theories of line, shape, form, and space.
  • Explore the theories behind why colors affect the way we think and feel.
  • Discover the sneaky importance of typography.
  • Review layout dos and don’ts.
  • Learn a few basic tricks for using Adobe InDesign.
  • Find out about low-cost alternatives to InDesign. 

Session 1: The Elements of Design

We’ll begin by delving into the ideas behind good design. We’ll explore how designers use lines, shapes, form, and space as the basic tools for showing depth, movement, or other visual ideas. We’ll also spend time talking about the importance of color and how to use it to achieve the right effect. And we’ll lay out how typography can affect both what the viewer sees and feels within a design.

Session 2: Layout in Action

We’ll start out by talking through some basic principles of graphic layout. Then we’ll take it a step further and show you in real time a design being created—explaining the thinking and decisions being made during the process.

Session 3: Technology Tools

Adobe InDesign is the industry standard and is recommended for anyone creating designs that need to live on beyond the immediate moment. That’s why it’s important that we show you a few useful tricks for doing basic design work in InDesign. However, there are a number of alternatives that offer similar functionality and many simpler tools that are free and easy to use. We’ll spend some time reviewing those tools and discussing their strengths and weaknesses.

About the Presenter

Cary Walksi

Cary Walski is an entrepreneur using her background in psychology and the arts to create positive online experiences for mission-driven organizations. Passionate about nonprofits making informed decisions, Cary has delivered presentations locally and nationally for organizations including NTEN, Idealware, The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Minnesota Council on Foundations and Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. As owner and nerd-in-chief at Copilot, she works with small to medium sized nonprofits to produce websites, email campaigns and social media communities that connect with and inspire individuals to action.

About Idealware

Idealware is a program of the nonprofit Tech Impact. We are the authoritative source for independent, thoroughly-researched technology resources for the social sector. Our publications, assessments, and training can save you time and money by providing impartial guidance that gives you the knowledge and confidence you need to decide what’s best for your organization. Browse our archives, sign up for our mailing list, or learn more at