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Ok, so I just ran into this idea.

Right now I am designing materials asking for donations for a charity association dealing with child hunger/starvation and lack of education from underdeveloped villages from my country.

While at a roadblock and looking for ideas, a lot of the posters/materials I found on the internet asking for donations are poorly made even if created by designing/marketing companies. [There were also some, more recent, good ones but that's a minority.]

Then it hit me, may there be a reason behind it? Are these posters designed intentionally with a cheap look?

Does a 'bad' poster give the idea that they didn't even have the money to hire a professional designer while a good design may trigger the 'they had money to hire a good designer but they are asking us for money?' idea?

Are there real life examples when asking for donations, a bad design is more appealing to the public rather than a good one? [this gets crazier by the minute].


Is there something really happening in a viewers brain when they see a good, fine and bad design asking for donations. All with complete transparency of their activity and full credibility.

How does someone choose which of the 3 causes [with the good, fine and bad designed campaign] is more worthy of their money? Will they pick the good design thinking of the time and effort put into it or will they choose the bad one thinking they are more in need of the money cause they couldn't even afford a decent campaign?

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    Not sure I'd consider this a dupe but you might find this Q/A useful: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/75552/… – Ryan Sep 6 '16 at 18:53
  • @Ryan i was thinking the same just at the same second. – joojaa Sep 6 '16 at 18:55
  • @Ryan I will look into that question, see if it gives me an answer. – Alin Sep 6 '16 at 18:56
  • @Ryan , looked at the question and answers and where it might have similarities, the target and idea that the two need to send are completely different from how I see it. – Alin Sep 6 '16 at 19:02
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Depends on your audience. This is a social norm kind of question. Some people assume good quality ads automatically mean expensive. In the face of charities this means money wasted on administration. As a donating person you would like to give your donations towards the cause not the graphics designer.

Off course you and I know that a quality poster is perfectly possible to make with a equivalent budget. However, the average person does not necessarily see things this way and you are going for his money so you need to carter the target audiences psychology.

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  • Hmm, theoretically speaking, would adding a statement that all the marketing materials were made as a volunteer make things better or worse ? :)) – Alin Sep 6 '16 at 19:00
  • Also, when we are talking donations, everyone with a buck to spare is your audience. I am really interested right now [more like it's bugging me] if there is something really happening in a viewers brain when they see a good/fine or bad design asking for donations. – Alin Sep 6 '16 at 19:15
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    @Alin hard to say you would need to A/B test that. But in general some people probably wont see that notice. Anyway i would not really worry about this too much. – joojaa Sep 6 '16 at 19:15
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Just do a really great design, but add on to it, "Design provided by the generous donation of Alin, inc." (or whatever)

But to answer your question - no, I don't believe so. It's more a matter of finding a quality designer that is willing to volunteer their time. And then not only that but getting assets can be a huge challenge. So now you need a designer and they have to either find free assets or invest their own money to purchase stock ones because NPO's often don't have this material readily accessible if it even exists. Even getting someone from an NPO to regularly communicate the idea and copy can be hard. A lot of designers might know a few parts of this but few can touch up photos, layout the piece, write the copy, make it print ready, etc. All while being largely ignored by the NPO because they're busy trying to organize events and fundraisers and lack the resources (manpower) to talk to you. Which is what NPO's often need.

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  • I see, I am actually doing this part as a donation/volunteer for a priest [long story] and was just asking @joojaa if making a statement like that [exactly what you started with] would make things better or worse. – Alin Sep 6 '16 at 19:12
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    @Ryan you have a valid point. Just try googling for a topic, then put the creative commons filter on and see how your options just dramatically dropped to nearly nothing in the image search. – joojaa Sep 6 '16 at 19:19
  • @joojaa , I know, but at the time I have everything I need to create a solid campaign when the thought hit me...I could also take my own photographs as I usually do when in need of images to work with. – Alin Sep 6 '16 at 19:24
  • @Alin then do the best design you can. Nobody is going to look at it and think, "If they can afford this than there's no way I'm donating" -- people just don't think that way. Most aren't even going to think twice about the design, they'll either see it and read it or ignore it / discard it. Your goal is to try and make a design that they'll stop and glance at for 2-6 seconds. – Ryan Sep 6 '16 at 19:30

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