The Strauss Blog

Association Graphic Design During COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed work for everyone. Front line workers are working harder than ever and are always at risk, some made the quick shift to start working from home, and others were in the very unfortunate position of being laid off. The world of association management and my role as a graphic designer quickly pivoted as well.

Since I already work remotely, my daily routines did not change much at all. However, my scope of duties and work routines for each association I work with changed drastically almost overnight. All the sudden, associations required regular updates on government policies, news and information about their professions, events, and trade shows. All while information available to the public was constantly changing and being updated.

Normally, there is time to figure out how you want to explain or send an announcement to association members. Some delay in sending an e-blast would not normally affect the content of the message, but as we have all been finding out lately, a few days makes a big difference and information can even change drastically over a few hours.

A few days difference can go from kids being home from school for three weeks to being home from school for the rest of the school year, from people having a stable meaningful job to being forced to close doors and lay off a workforce, from being early and proactive in your decision to postpone or cancel an event to looking like you had been forced to not having another choice but to cancel.

Quick Updates

The need to get updates out quickly and accurately has been top of the list of projects the past few weeks. As a designer, I am usually the last cog in the wheel. I get a completed word document and need to send it as an e-blast, website post, or PDF.

A few things can help this process.

  1. Preparation: Let everyone involved know in advance that there will be an update sent soon and how it will be distributed. This may seem like an obvious step, but it can let everyone in the process prepare so when they get the document, they start on it right away.
  2. Put a date on it: With information changing so quickly, having a date present can make sure people are not seeing old information.
  3. Proof, proof, proof: With everyone working faster than usual, there is a higher chance for someone to make a mistake

Note: I received a campaign from an organization that was supposed to be a catalogue of resources for working from home; none of the links worked. All the links were connected to PDF’s that were on their internal server, so once it went online, none of the links worked. I emailed them about it, and they said all the links work when they tested it. These are the small things that can slip by when you’re in a rush that will have a big impact on your communications.

A previous article of mine discusses using templates and styles sheets to make quick changes to documents. This will help make things much more efficient and should be used for all documents.

Website updates

You have just been asked to put an update on your association or event website, and you suddenly realize you don’t have a place for it. You may not have needed a news section on your association’s website in the past or may have difficulty figuring out how and where to post COVID-19 updates. A quick fix may be posting a block of text on your homepage, but given that things will be different for a while still, I would recommend creating a legitimate COVID-19 resources/information page

Many of the association clients that we manage now have pages for COVID-19 updates. To create one, give it a simple name such as “yourcompany.com/covid-19-updates” and have a large visible link on your homepage that will link to it. You can link to this page directly in eblasts or other messaging. If your association has also recently started hosting online events, webinars, and/or social nights, I would also recommend creating a page to post recordings of these virtual events.

By creating useful and necessary web pages, member engagement and satisfaction will increase, and your website traffic will increase. It is a win-win situation when graphic and web designers use their skills to share information with association members.

Utilize these quick tips and tricks to keep associations afloat during these trying times. Those who are now taking the extra steps to create and distribute content will be remembered when this is all over.