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When creating graphic designs for municipalities and government agencies, reaching the most people with social change campaigns relies on the ability of people to see themselves in the materials.

Most people are invested in any combination of social causes. If your design addresses that cause and looks like them, they are more likely to spend time engaging with it simply because it feels familiar.

Target Audience

Similar to the commercial sector, government clients will supply you with the demographics of the target audience to guide your designs. It is best to always lean on your partners for information about your target demographic. They are the experts in the people they serve.

It’s up to you as the graphic designer to take that information and create something that will communicate effectively.

Design for Public Consumption

Often times a government agency will have real-time data to work with. vote-sacramento-portfolio-mainWith data comes an opportunity to look at those numbers and really dig down to find the things that have worked in the past.

This can be challenging at times, especially when things that have worked in the past were not designed by you and have different aesthetics than what you have envisioned for the campaign. Take what has been done before and make it better.

Often the preferences of your collaborators can muddle what would be the best way to communicate to your audience. Put yourself in your audiences’ shoes and don’t be afraid to educate your client if you feel like the message is getting lost. This will help you empathize with your target audience and will create a clear path for your design strategy.

Make it Easy, Fun, and Popular

One of the biggest lessons I have learned about designing for the municipalities is that the government message isn’t necessarily always “fun.”

To ensure that they have a successful campaign, graphic designs need to do two things:
• Inspire the behavior change the client is looking to affect
• Make people forget that the government is telling them to do something

At Uptown Studios, we design using Human-Centered Design methodology. This means designing from a hyper-target audience perspective. We strive to inspire the target audience to change a behavior on their own.

The way to excite people isn’t with negatives but with positives. This is where messaging is very important. It’s easy to point out what’s going wrong and to showcase the bad, but to inspire and create change, you need to have the positive messages be the focus of a campaign.

Remember this is meaningful work! When stuck on a graphic design project for the public sector, remember that your work is:
• Creating positive change
• Mission driven
• Impacts the world you live in

When you design for the social change campaigns, using the mission and vision for the project can infuse a passion that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Don’t forget that not everyone that you design for speaks English. Translations can be helpful but understanding and designing for another culture is key to reaching this segment of your audience.

We love to work with municipalities and government agencies. Let us know how we can help you.

Kara Primm
By Kara Primm