Are You Making the Most of Your Nonprofit Website Background?

  • by Ryan Phillips
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Of all the design elements that go into a nonprofit website, probably none is as overlooked as the background that the other elements (like text and images) are put on top of. That's understandable, since the background really isn't the focus of your website, or of a viewer's attention, but that doesn't mean it's not valuable.

In fact, here at SW Creatives, we have learned that a nonprofit website background can actually be prime real estate if it's used effectively. Here are some of the tips and tools we employ to help our clients to get more from their backgrounds:

Stunning photos.

The easiest way to transform the backgrounds on your website is to use photos that aren't just interesting, but help tell a story or explain the mission behind your nonprofit organization. Often, a single, understated image can help visitors to understand what you're trying to accomplish, and create a subtle impression that they wouldn't have gotten from a solid block of color, for example.

Just be sure that the background image on your site doesn't overpower other elements, or your pages can have a distracting feel.

Simple text.

In a similar way, text can be used effectively on a background if it helps to convey a bigger overall message, or contribute to an important theme. Examples could include a summary of your mission, or even a quick call to action like "you can help today."

Naturally, you'll want any text on the background of your website to be understated, but most designs allow for a key phrase or idea to be repeated, or at least used in several different places.

Patterns or micro-images.

If you have a complicated layout with lots of eye-catching features (like sharp photos and bold headlines), then you might not want text or photos pulling attention away from them. Still, including patterns, very small and subtle images, or other design elements can help take away the otherwise "ordinary" feel that your website can take on with a solid background. At the very least, it's worth discussing with your design team, so you can explore a few different options and see what kind of impression they create.

As easy as it might be to overlook the background of your nonprofit website, remember that every part of every page should have a purpose, and that what you put in the background can influence the way people feel about your site… not to mention the actions they take once they reach it. Every detail of your website is important, so don't waste the background just because the possibilities aren't as obvious.

Looking for more great advice on nonprofit web design? Check back to the SW Creatives blog, or sign up for our newsletter today.