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Social Movement Technologies
Visual Design for Organizing Apprenticeship: September 17 – October 10, 2024

Activists fight gentrification of Chinatown, Philadelphia, U.S. (Photo: Joe Piette) (Collage by Marie Walz)

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

Good design is part of strong organizing. Reports on digital and print communications, as well as signage at public actions, 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.

This 8-session Certificate in Visual Design for Organizing 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. The pedagogical approach includes large group live sessions, supplemental resources via recorded presentations, and design assignments meant to support campaigns you have underway. The 8 live sessions include four 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. 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, creating banners and signage for public actions and events, 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.
  • You have beginner to intermediate knowledge of Adobe Suite products and you consider yourself a designer with beginner to intermediate design skills. 
  • You may want to progress to SMT’s Advanced Visual Design Apprenticeship planned for fall 2025, which will require graduation from a previous design apprenticeship program or demonstration of proficiency.

What we’ll cover in this in-depth training: view the curriculum here.

The curriculum will include sessions and recordings covering: design principles, design psychology, visual identity, accessibility, A.I. design tips, 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 annually 2019 – 2023 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.

Instructors

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.

 

Audrey Desler, graphic designerAudrey Desler (she/they), SMT Staff Partner. Audrey is an art director, designer, and illustrator constantly dreaming of better, more equitable futures. Her career started with design stints @ Nike and creative agencies, working on a myriad of brand and campaign projects, championing sustainability initiatives at every turn. In order to align with a passion for social and environmental systems change, she now largely focuses on community organizing. Audrey enjoys growing communal food, natural spaces, baking, and talking about feelings.

 

Deivid Rojas (he/him), SMT Staff Partner. Deivid is an organizer, storyteller, communicator, and visual artist with 10+ years of experience supporting and building organizing campaigns that tightly intertwine field organizing, communications, and digital, including over six years as the Communications Director at Fight For 15 Chicago, where he led the communications work for hundreds of actions, strikes, and protests. He developed and coached dozens of workers to become effective campaign spokespeople and landed national stories with national and international press, created content shared thousands of times online, and produced iconic protest visuals. As a queer man from Colombia, he is fluent in Spanish and has deep experience working with groups focusing on labor, Latine, racial justice, Black/Brown solidarity, and LGBTQIA+ issues. 

Participation and time zones

Sessions will be two hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon ET (See this time automatically converted to your timezone.)

To receive the Certificate, participants must attend and be an active participant in at least 75% of required live sessions (6 of the 8+) 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. 

Language

All sessions will be held in English, with captions in English. Additional small group sessions can be set up at other times to meet time zone needs with sufficient demand (10+ participants). All sessions will be held in English, with captions in English and Spanish. The program will hold small group sessions in Spanish and French 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].

Testimonials

See testimonials from some of the more than 400 alums of previous years of this program from across the world.

Cost

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 hav their registrations refunded. Alternatively, on demand trainings are available to all on SMT’s course platform.

 

Region Organizational
Budget (USD)
Early Bird Rate (by June 14, 2024) Regular (cost after June 14)
North America & Western Europe
$2M+ $700 $770
$500K-2M $630 $700
Under $500K $560 $630
Outside of North America &
Western Europe
$2M+ $560 $630
$500K-2M $490 $560
Under $500K $350 $420
Additional seats from the same organization
(same email domain)
$420 $473
Group Rate Global (up to 10 seats) – designed to help networks and funders make this program accessible to their communities.
North America & Western Europe $4,200 $4,900
Outside of North America &
Western Europe
$3,500 $4,200

 

Register using the form below or using this link

Groups Banner

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

Testimonials

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.
The program offered interesting case studies, expanded my digital campaigning knowledge, introduced new organizing tools and strategies, and enabled connections with professionals in the progressive space.
Learned invaluable skills, gained practical knowledge, and connected with inspiring professionals.
The program made me think holistically about offline and online impacts.
I received input on how to align field and digital work which is directly connected to the advocacy research that we are doing.
The assignments provided a better understanding of how the nuts and bolts of digital organizing fit together.
It was powerful hearing directly from groups across the country using these powerful tools to win campaigns and create real change.
I'm grateful for the opportunity to expand my organizing knowledge with SMT. It's sparked creativity, and I'm excited to put new ideas into action.
I appreciated connecting with passionate changemakers across the U.S. to discuss effective digital campaigning strategies.
This program has been a great experience for me personally and for my work. With the few campaigns going under way I’m excited to show my colleagues what I have learned from SMT!
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.
The program offered interesting case studies, expanded my digital campaigning knowledge, introduced new organizing tools and strategies, and enabled connections with professionals in the progressive space.
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!
I strongly recommend SMT. Their strong organizing background, preparation and thoughtfulness made our strategy assessment with them enjoyable and really helpful.
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.
This program helped us harness effective tools and tactics that are aligned with our movement's needs and organizational values.
The DCCP program enhanced my skills and provided valuable support. I've applied these skills in my job and community work. Well-designed and presented program!
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.
We’re starting our third straight year providing grantee partners with Social Movement Technologies training and coaching…our grantees are in good hands.
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.
Highly recommend it for individuals in civic organizations looking to enhance their technological campaigning skills!
It helped me better understand, through the experience of like-minded organizers, how to use accessible digital organizing tools to support the efforts on the ground.
This program has boosted my confidence in organizing and sustaining digital campaigns.
I felt supported by a community of hundreds throughout my learning journey.
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!
This program was pivotal in my early organizing career, providing a strong foundation for recognizing technology's power in social movements. It equipped me with tools to create effective systems for our organization and broader membership base.
The course provided invaluable tools and strategies, real-world case studies from different cultural contexts, and a supportive learning environment that encouraged interaction and peer learning.
I had an amazing time. I am already applying the valuable content in my organization.
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.
This program greatly helped integrate our thinking on organizing and digital campaigning. I wish all our organizers and digital staff could undergo this training.
We have had a fantastic experience with SMT…they have been highly responsive to the needs of our grantees.
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 developed a custom training for our youth climate fellows from around the world. It was a holistic training on creating campaigns from strategy to implementation and building our activist base. We appreciated SMT’s attention to detail around language and inclusion and always thinking about power building.
I found this course inspiring, especially the strategies part. Learning from diverse students with different backgrounds was enriching."=
I learnt a lot on grassroots movements, digital campaigns and communications in times of state intrusion or threats.
This training provided invaluable clarity and direction for my digital organizing work, empowering my team to work more effectively.
Each session was well-facilitated, skillfully blended presentation, discussion, and practical exercises, allowing me to immediately apply techniques to my work.
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.

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.
We’ve heard really good things from our grantee partners. SMT has a strong, grantee-focused way of working.
The program was an incredible journey of meaningful learning and connections with amazing advocates nationwide.
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 us think through what type of CRM we need and choose a texting platform to reach our base. SMT’s coaching has been instrumental in helping us develop a social media strategy that communicates our message through the voice of the young people involved in our organization. 
The digital training was expertly executed and helped me develop new ideas and best practice to implement in our campaign.
The program allowed me to deep dive into specific campaign strategies, learning from diverse examples of what worked and what could be improved.
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.
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!
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's expertise in social media, ads training, and particularly their personalized coaching, has been invaluable for navigating the unique challenges of the non-profit sector. SMT's guidance has empowered us to adopt new technologies and strategies, leading to our most successful social media ads campaign to date. Their support is a game-changer for organizations stepping into unfamiliar digital territories.
Taking this course really transformed my organizing skills to be more effective.
This program was very useful for understanding the digital aspects of organizing workers and incorporating them into a comprehensive campaign toolkit.
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 program offers excellent support, knowledge, and peer collaboration for learning about organizing and campaigning.
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 supported our coalition so we could play a more powerful role in advocating for our work and priorities with funders and elected officials. They facilitated a process to take a loose group of collaborators across a large geography and worked with us to build a cohesive understanding of shared values and how we could present ourselves.
The Digital Campaigning Certificate Program was immensely helpful, and I continue to apply its learnings in my daily communications and strategizing.
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 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!
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.
I'm still digesting the valuable information from this training and applying it to my work. Meeting activists worldwide and learning about important campaigns was inspiring.
This program is very comprehensive and provides tons of tools and resources that have strengthened my skillset in digital organizing. This is a great program that I highly recommend.
I initially thought this program was centered around communications, but it offered so much more. It provided an inside perspective on organizing work and how communications integrates with it.
For anyone who wants to dive into the world of digital communications, this is the training for you!
For change-makers looking to harness people power for good. Expert presenters and experience sharing with classmates enhanced my knowledge and provided valuable, immediately applicable skills.
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.
The program was an eye-opener and better positioned me as a Communications Officer. I learned about digital mobilizing, online community building, and more.
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!
I was able to immediately use the tools I learned and apply them to our organization. The program was intense, but I loved every minute of it and learned more than expected.
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