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Use Design to Define Your Association’s Brand and Grow Membership

by | Oct 21, 2014 | Industry News & Trends

Your design choices create the first impression, and lasting perception, of your association in the minds of members, prospective members and your industry. Your branding – your logo, artwork, photography, colors, layouts, fonts, etc. – creates the first overall image someone experiences when looking at your web presence, marketing and member communication pieces and should be valued with the true significance it carries.

Your branding is broadcast through each and every external contact you make. The design choices you have made are selling your association visually through digital media such as your website, e-mail, social networking, online association job board, and more. Further, your brand elements carry through to your member collateral including renewal notices, internal/external communication, member newsletters, association letterhead, member cards, staff business cards, etc.

Your branding sets the look and feel, while content and tone explain and educate on your message and purpose. This combination must work in unison and must be consistent throughout all facets of your organization to build and reinforce your brand while establishing your association as the voice for your industry.

But how do you create a compelling visual message while also enticing a member or prospective member to learn more about the benefits of your association? It’s a delicate balance that often is best carried out by a professional design partner and includes important factors to consider before going before member eyes.

Design Becomes Strategic and Compelling by Balancing Art with Commerce

The key to brand design is creating memorable, motivating visuals that drive the commerce you’re looking for such as increasing membership, mobilizing members toward a common goal, generating non-dues revenue such as preferred partner marketing with outside vendors, etc.

Association and member-based organization executives all have business goals to achieve but sometimes let personal opinions dictate branding/design decisions instead of using objective, strategic thinking. Will your design look good? Maybe. But the true question is will it attain your goals?

On the flip side are staff members looking to create pieces that are unique and artistic but may not align with the association’s business goals. Will your design attract prospective members and gain attention? Maybe. But will your audience be drawn in to learn more and become active members? Here’s where a professionally created comprehensive association marketing package can help.

Professional Design Services Can Make the Difference

A seasoned, professional design team can translate your goals into a visual message and provide solutions that align with your association’s business objectives while reinforcing your brand.

Further, a design partner is an objective resource, not influenced by the internal association dynamics noted above, whose sole responsibility is to attract and engage members and future members through visual marketing.

If your overall design elements are weak and unprofessional then the perception of your association will be likewise.

Professional design services, created by an expert experienced specifically in working with associations, can make the difference between a thriving, growing and active membership and a barely surviving, stagnant dues-based organization.

The Ultimate Decision Makers: Current and Future Members

Design is subjective so whose opinion is it that really matters? The answer is the members and prospective members. If you’re not looking at your association’s branding and overall marketing through their eyes then your efforts will be for nothing. It’s not about an executive director, board member or staffer liking a design, it’s finding the right design that resonates with and mobilizes your audience.


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