How to create a kick-ass manifesto

Guest post written by Kelly Exeter, Swish Design

Whether we realise it or not, marketing is all about spreading ideas. This is why visual marketing is so powerful. An inspiring thought or mantra, presented in a visually appealing way, is easy to share and thus easy to spread.

visual marketingThis is where manifestos come into the picture. While they do take a little bit of effort to create – that effort is totally worth it. Manifestos are highly shareable and a wonderful way to get your idea out into the world and positively influence the lives of others.

They don’t need to be long or complicated either. My most popular manifesto by far is A Manifesto for a Simple Life. It’s only thirty words long but clearly I got the message right because it’s been shared tens of thousands of times on all the various social media platforms.

So how do you create your own manifesto?

STEP 1: Decide what message you want to send

This isn’t usually how I write – when I write a blog post I usually start with a vague message in mind, and that message usually changes once my thoughts clarify through the writing process!

For a manifesto however, I must know what the overriding message is going to be first. If I don’t know what the idea I want to spread is, I can’t do the next step!

STEP 2: Brainstorm

Then I do a big brain dump of all the words and phrases I can think of that are relevant to that message.

STEP 3: Assemble your words

Many people simply choose the most powerful phrases and words and assemble them into a manifesto. I’ve got no problem with this but I do like my manifestos to tell a story if they can.

Cadence is also important to me – when someone is reading through a manifesto of mine I want the words to have a natural rhythm to them.

So I spend a lot of time choosing my phrases and words carefully to ensure the reader is taken on a logical path through to a strong message at the end. I want them to walk away from my manifesto thinking ‘YES!’

All that said – please don’t think that what I do here is the ‘right’ way. The important thing with a manifesto is the message. If you manage to convey your message, that’s all you need to worry about.

4. Time to design!

Once you have your words it’s time to put them together. There are many graphics programs out there that will allow you to choose a simple background and then overlay text on that background. Canva is one.

manifestoMy number one tip with manifesto design is to keep things simple.

Choose a simple background image that won’t distract from the words.

Choose two fonts. I like to use font families like Avenir or Helvetica where there are many styles within the same font as this gives me even greater flexibility. Google Fonts also has a great tool called ‘pairings’ where, if you choose a font, it will suggest complimentary fonts to you.

Using your chosen fonts, lay down your manifesto text in such a way that it leads the reader through your chosen words and phrases in a logical fashion.

My number two tip for manifestos? Give the words room to breathe. Leave a good 2-3cm space free on the outside edges of the manifesto, and make sure your words aren’t all on top of each other.

5. Don’t try to make it perfect

It’s never going to be perfect so don’t tweak your design for months and months. The important thing is the idea you’re trying to share, not the design. So once you’re happy your manifesto conveys your idea … get it out there! Make sure you put it in places where it’s easy to share.

visual marketing


Kelly Exeter is a writer, blogger, designer, business owner and author of Your Best Year Yet. She spends her days in the Swish Design office and her nights writing about how she ditched the hamster wheel at A Life Less Frantic.

Follow on Twitter

Like on Facebook

Be Sociable, Share!
This entry was posted in Marketing & PR and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How to create a kick-ass manifesto

  1. This has been on my To Do list for ages and I never get started, probably because I didn’t have this great step by step ‘how to’! Thanks for the motivation :)

  2. Great post. Thanks for sharing your secrets to creating gorgeous manifestos!

  3. Thanks Kelly – you are the best – i have words ready to make a manifesto (for a year now) but afraid to give it a good go. your tips will help a lot. Aiming to do it for the launch of the new business this year xxx off to pin now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge