Social Movement Technologies
Graphic Design for Organizing Apprenticeship: Sept 26 – Nov 16, 2023

From concept to execution, learn how to create designs that stand out, drive action, and help win campaigns. Earn SMT’s Certificate in Graphic Design for Organizing.

Register here

Good design is part of strong organizing. Reports on both digital and print communications consistently show that strong visual content generates more engagement. Running grassroots campaigns requires communicating effectively across many platforms, and good design can dramatically activate and broaden your base.

Artbuild preparing for massive climate march. Photo: J.Ratner

This 16-session Graphic Design for Organizing Apprenticeship will rapidly scale up your visual communications skills. From building a visual identity for your organization to applying time-tested graphic design techniques to navigating industry-standard (and emerging!) software, you will be able to efficiently create designs that inspire action. You’ll also be able to lead your organization to support distributed design by volunteers and staff who are not designers.

Learning model: The program is designed to apply your learning by trying your hand at new design skills and getting direct feedback on your work from experienced designers. The pedagogical approach includes large group live sessions, supplemental resources via recorded presentations, and design assignments meant to support campaigns you have underway. The 16 live sessions include four required small group sessions (up to 15 participants) for coaching, problem-solving, questions, and feedback from instructors with deep experience in design for movements, and for peer support. They also include 4 office hours sessions to complete design assignments and get personalized support. After the small group session and critique, participants seeking to further improve their designs may revise and resubmit their assignment for additional written feedback.

This program is for you if:

  • Your role includes posting on social networks, managing a website, working with the media, running online/offline campaigns, creating fundraising materials, managing a communications program, working with creative freelancers, designing print and digital materials, or all of the above!
  • You are interested in creating more effective public-facing materials for your organization.
  • Seats are reserved for those working for non-profits/unions. If you are working on an electoral campaign please confirm that the campaign has signed the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge. If you are in a consulting role, reach out to ask about accessing the presentation recordings only for the same fee. If you are a student or unemployed you can join in if there’s space and you’re being referred by a social change group you’re working with. Contact us.

In-depth Training: What we’ll cover

View the curriculum here

To receive the Certificate, participants must attend and be an active participant in at least 75% of required live sessions (9 of the 12) and complete all assignments. Assignments will be completed each week and will as much as possible relate directly to the participant’s current campaign work. 

The curriculum will include sessions and recordings covering: design principles, design psychology, visual identity, accessibility, design and photography ethics, and building design templates and supports so that non-designers in your organization can do their own design work. Live sessions and recordings will also introduce or deepen the use of tools like Canva, Photoshop, and Illustrator. See the full curriculum here.

The program builds on SMT’s design programs held in 2019, 2021, and 2022, making a powerful library of resources and design examples available to participants. In response to requests, we’ve deepened skill-building with libraries of recordings and resources in Canva, Photoshop, Illustrator, accessibility, and more.

The program’s goal is to enable participants to level up significantly in their design skill level and in their ability to scope out the design needs of an organizing moment. It is also to build a community of practice in this design work. Participants will be paired up for support if they want, and they will engage with each other and instructors via an ongoing Slack channel.


Micky Jordan, SMT Staff Partner: Micky is a Black queer and genderqueer visual artist and organizer who has called Richmond, Virginia home for over 20 years. He’s a mostly self-taught designer who has developed his design work with a range of organizing groups. He is currently Graphic Designer at NDWA and previously worked with Southerners on New Ground (SONG). He loves art, media, stand up comedy and dreaming about building a safer, beautiful, more affirming world for trans and queer people of color to not just survive in, but thrive in.


Cécile Pillon Hue, SMT Staff Partner: Cécile is a feminist artist and communicator. Working with international non-profits and local groups for over 10 years, she has experimented with various digital design tools to mix her passions for visual arts, social & environmental justice into her work. She uses design as a way to connect people across regions, cultures and technologies as she believes this is the key to a more respectful and inclusive world.


David PerrinDavid Perrin, SMT Staff Partner: David is a graphic designer and illustrator. At SMT he serves as a resource to the social justice community and for people who look like him. David’s ultimate goal as a black creative is to produce powerful imagery that is wholly representative of his culture and community. He also works as the lead graphic designer for a progressive think-tank, Dēmos, where he produces visual assets for social media and reports.


Jules Cowan, SMT Staff Partner.  Jules has developed creative strategy and designed accessible user experiences for over a decade. Their design direction has supported grassroots political candidates, the Green New Deal, sanctuary cities, racial justice ballot initiatives, oil pipeline blockades, union worker co-ops, tenant protections, Palestinian human rights, LGBTQI2S+ liberation, incarcerated journalists, Puerto Rican independence, and ending gender-based violence. Jules advocates for the full spectrum of human-centered design. They specialize in design systems, research, testing, and leading trainings. Just as much a part of their creative process, Jules plays soccer with the Left Wing Fútbol Club, meditates, and cuddles their dog Wonder.

Sophia Andreazza, SMT Staff Partner. Sophia is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Brazil. For over 8 years, she’s been working on LGBTQI+ and women’s rights campaigns. Her illustrations and design have helped justice-oriented institutions and organizations, such as the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA World), the Marielle Franco’s Institute and the Brazilian Ministry of Racial Equality to communicate with more color and efficiency. As a recipient of the 2022 Adobe Advocates Program, she has provided 375 illustrations to Adobe Stock portraying queer and Latinx people, increasing the diversity on the platform. In her free time, she likes to read books, go to the beach and hang with her wife and cats, Lina and Bartolomeu.

Additional instructors from Asia, Africa and other regions will be added.


All sessions will be held in English, with captions in English. The program will hold small group sessions in additional languages with the registration of at least 10 participants per language. Session recording captions and simultaneous interpretation in these or other languages may be available with sufficient demand per language. Contact us at [email protected].

Participation and time zones

Sessions will be 90 mins on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon ET (See this time automatically converted to your timezone.) Small group sessions will be available at noon Nairobi time / 4pm Jakarta time to be more accessible to participants in the Middle East, Africa, Oceania, and Asia. (See this additional potential time in your time zone.)


See testimonials from some of the more than 300 alums of previous years of this program from across the world.


In order to support a movement organization learning space, SMT trainings are for staff of non-profits – NGOs, unions and electoral campaigns. Trainings are not for consultants or agencies. Consultants & agency staff who register will have their registrations refunded. Alternatively, on demand trainings are available to all on SMT’s course platform.


Region Organizational
Budget (USD)
Early Bird Rate (ends August 11, 2023) Outreach Partner Referral (thru Aug 11, 2023 only) Regular (cost after August 11, 2023)
North America & Western Europe
$2M+ $1,000 $900 $1,100
$500K-2M $900 $800 $1,000
Under $500K $800 $700 $900
2M+ $800 $750 $900
$500K-2M $700 $650 $800
Under $500K $500 $450 $600
Additional person from the same organization
(same email domain)
$600* $600* $675*
Group Rate – North America & Western Europe (up to 10  seats)
– designed to help networks and funders make this program accessible to their communities.
$6,000 $6,000 $7,000
 Group Rate – Global** (up to 10 seats)
– designed to help networks and funders make this program accessible to their communities.
$5,000 $5,000 $6,000
  Groups with subscription memberships for coaching and support get a significant discount. Contact your coach about this.
 *Cost for 2nd person from an organization should not be higher than the first person cost. For example, if first person cost is $500, that will also  be 2nd person cost.
 **Global: all regions outside of North America and Western Europe.

Outreach Partner Referral Discount

Groups referred by outreach partners can get $75 to $150 off specific levels (see table above). Please name the outreach partner in your registration and forward the email you received to . The outreach partner discount does not apply to group rates or 2nd person rates, which are already steeply discounted to represent an organization’s investment in SMT training. Outreach partners pass along opportunities for training and coaching to lists of organizing groups. This helps SMT as a non-profit reach more groups that could organize more powerfully with SMT support. Interested in being an outreach partner? Contact and describe the size and type of groups you’d reach out to. Typically, this is a list of chapters of a network; allied organizations across a country, state, region; or some other cohort or grouping of many organizations.

In order to support a movement organization learning space, SMT trainings are for staff of non-profits – NGOs, unions and electoral campaigns. Trainings are not for consultants or agencies. Consultants & agency staff who register will have their registrations refunded. Alternatively, on demand trainings are available to all on SMT’s course platform.


Groups Banner

Staff and activists of 4,900+ groups
have engaged with SMT trainings


We’ve heard really good things from our grantee partners. SMT has a strong, grantee-focused way of working.
I took the workers organizing in the digital age training. We really need this kind of training in Finland, which people in the US have had access to for some years. The training was effective to start organizing for instance on Twitter.
We have had a fantastic experience with SMT…they have been highly responsive to the needs of our grantees.
I really liked the A.I. custom training session, especially the parts tailored to our workstream and with examples pulled from our staff. It really helped to situate the tools in our work and open our team's minds to the possibilities.
SMT’s training on using WhatsApp to activate our bases helped us activate more leaders by creating conversational WhatsApp groups for members and assigning different leadership roles to volunteers.
I strongly recommend SMT. Their strong organizing background, preparation and thoughtfulness made our strategy assessment with them enjoyable and really helpful.
I found a lot of value in this Certificate Program that I use in my everyday work: from using social media effectively; significantly growing accounts and activating people online, pressuring targets in campaigns, and running Twitterstorms. Even when using other tools, I still apply the principles I learned!
Our coach was an everyday reminder of what we needed to do. He checked in and followed up on us. It really helped us activate Twitter in our campaigns and tighten up digital security. We moved from just having a Twitter handle to building on a hashtag that saw a jailed human rights activist released from prison.
SMT helped GAIA use LinkedIn to reach a key constituency we were having trouble reaching - thousands of people who play a specific role in the waste management industry. We got responses from key players.
Our staff took a lot of SMT courses – including the intensive Digital Campaigning Certificate Program. It helped us take our digital campaigning and collectivizing actions to the next level! We used various tools to increase our follower base and successfully target authorities to take action at the village and municipal levels in India.
I implemented lessons on personal narrative, public narrative and emails directly into my campaign, so this was an instant gratification. I loved learning from the other Digital Campaigning Certificate Program participants who came from around the world, working on different topics.
SMT helped us craft an effective public narrative for our campaign to get a mine closed. SMT helped us finalize a campaign strategy and come up with an effective plan to raise visibility and engage the public. Our campaign led to a pause in the mining. We will keep fighting!
Without SMT we would not have been able to move our organizing from the field to the digital arena during COVID. They helped us set up systems, coached and trained our folks, helped us troubleshoot and launch digital outreach efforts all in crucial campaign moments. Can’t speak highly enough about what their help meant!
SMT is the only training I know of that speaks our language of activism and uses the tools we use everyday in the field. They are a go-to resource to help raise the bar for communications in the labor movement.
SMT's training helped me use my journalistic skills effectively to highlight people's struggles and create change. Using Twitter more effectively, we supported Syria's refugee camp hospital to get more media attention and raise funds to respond to the hospital's needs as well as build visibility on the issues affecting refugees.
SMT's coaching was incredibly supportive, encouraging and accessible. SMT had a huge impact on evolving La Semilla's storytelling program. Through SMT coaching, we diversified our digital communications. Having SMT as a source of resources and as a thought partner has been incredibly impactful to our work. 
The Design Apprenticeship course helped me become bolder in my design choices. I became confident enough to push for a more systemic approach to design in the team, developing templates and guiding other creative colleagues. This program was pivotal in my development as a designer!
SMT helped us create a social media presence to expand our cannabis worker organizing campaign. Our organizers have enhanced their social media capabilities. We have succeeded beyond our expectations. Working with SMT has been a great experience. They really understand organizing and communications.
SMT has worked with us to develop and implement a broad and integrated social media strategy. They helped our leadership understand the importance of such a strategy and taught our activists the basic skills to execute it. From website maintenance to targeted twitter campaigns, they are there when you need them and they understand that it is all about movement building.
The program gave my team the tools and time to strategise how our grassroots migrant organising translates to a digital context. I picked up tools like source codes, which then enabled us to see that more people were registering from Instagram than through any other platform and caused us to adapt our strategy. We also became SMT an Outreach Partner to enable our network to benefit from trainings at lower prices
SMT has been a great partner to co-design and launch a set of offerings that meet the growing digital and remote needs of the organizations we support, including bilingual access for our Spanish-speaking partners. The team is relatable, attentive and knowledgeable and their use of case studies helps to make complex information accessible!
Having access to experts through the certificate program was amazing. The course is so practical. I set up google ads for the first time and created our digital security policy and implementation plan. Our whole team uses the campaign strategy template now. Now we know how to improve our email deliverability and started a texting program.
The SMT trainings I’ve taken have helped us mobilize and deepen engagement in our communities. Through Twitterstorms, phone banking, and other tactics that I learned through SMT’s trainings, we succeeded in our call to #ExtendtheReg for a million young people who would otherwise be disenfranchised by anti-poor COVID policies.
The trainings are terrific–geared for every level of experience. And being rooted in social change movement, especially helpful to organizers.
Working with SMT was easy and collaborative. The training helped our Greenpeace Southeast Asia team get new insights into campaign best practices across the globe.
SMT coaching enabled us to expand our presence within human rights spaces in Kenya beyond an LGBTIQ audience. It helped us use Twitter to connect with allies in the environmental justice and land rights movements. It was amazing to have someone to work with who knows our work and give us templates just when we needed them.
We’re starting our third straight year providing grantee partners with Social Movement Technologies training and coaching…our grantees are in good hands.

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