Rough multi-colored sketches of shapes and objects. Some have cartoon eyes on them.
Rough multi-colored sketches of shapes and objects. Some have cartoon eyes on them.
Illustration from Blush. created by Pablo Stanley

10 Digital Design Tips for Grass-roots Activists

Know when to get help

The first question you should ask is whether you need professional help.

Squarespace logo on a dark background with the text “squarespace” under it.
Squarespace logo on a dark background with the text “squarespace” under it.

1. Keep line-length to roughly 10–16 words long (50–75 characters)

A paragraph of text under two dotted lines. The lines are labeled indicating the paragraph is 10 words and 55 characters wide
A paragraph of text under two dotted lines. The lines are labeled indicating the paragraph is 10 words and 55 characters wide

2. Make text blocks/paragraphs font-size: 16–21px

3. Give your content some breathing room using margin and padding

A photograph of a crowd next to a paragraph of text. There are red dotted lines showing the space between the text and image.
A photograph of a crowd next to a paragraph of text. There are red dotted lines showing the space between the text and image.

4. Use color to draw attention but do not overdo it

A title, paragraph, and blue button. The button reads “Call to Action”. An orange arrow points at the button.
A title, paragraph, and blue button. The button reads “Call to Action”. An orange arrow points at the button.
The blue button stands out as important and so does the orange arrow.
Bright red background that has text on it reading “This is waaaaaay too dominant on the page…”
Bright red background that has text on it reading “This is waaaaaay too dominant on the page…”
Even at only 700px wide this box demands too much attention due to its bright red background

5. High contrast between text and background — especially on your buttons

Three colored shapes with contrasting text on them next to a paragraph and header. On the far right is a red “X” over shapes
Three colored shapes with contrasting text on them next to a paragraph and header. On the far right is a red “X” over shapes

Bonus Tip 4½ — Avoid putting text over images or textures.

6. Draw your page before making it — boxes and scribbles will do

Rough drawings of computer screens on white paper sitting on a desk. A black pen rests on top of them.
Rough drawings of computer screens on white paper sitting on a desk. A black pen rests on top of them.
Here are some quick sketches I made while planning out the illustrations for this article.

7. Get user feedback!

8. Forgo the animation or visual ‘feature’ — simple is much more effective!

Bonus Tip 8½ — Consider ditching the interactive maps (that messy map with tons of hovers isn’t helping…)

9. Keep your forms as short as possible

A type form with Name, Email, Phone, and Zip Code entry boxes. The Phone and Zip Code fields have a red “X” over them.
A type form with Name, Email, Phone, and Zip Code entry boxes. The Phone and Zip Code fields have a red “X” over them.

10. Preview your work on a mobile device

A human holding a phone in one hand with their other hand resting on a laptop.
A human holding a phone in one hand with their other hand resting on a laptop.
Photo by Maxim Ilyahov on Unsplash

Thanks for reading!

David is a designer passionate about connecting digital and physical mediums and the circular economy.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store