Case Study

Special Olympics AZ + Design Pickle

This non-profit fueled it's marketing strategy with flat-rate graphic design

3 Min. Read

About the Company

Special Olympics is not only a non-profit international brand but also a global movement creating a world of inclusion and community. What started as a summer day camp for adults and children with intellectual and physical disabilities in the founder’s backyard in Maryland in 1962 is now a global sensation and place of belonging for so many. Special Olympics programs provide a gateway to empowerment, competence, acceptance, and joy, with life lessons, skills, and friendships acquired along the way.

The first Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) competition in 1975 consisted of a one-day Track & Field event with 100 athletes and 20 volunteers. Now, SOAZ features 21 sports, 675 regional competitions, and 4 statewide competitions for more than 25K athletes and volunteers annually.

“Design Pickle charges a flat fee for a designer for an entire month. That same project would have cost us thousands of thousands of dollars if we had to pay one designer at a normal hourly rate.”


designs created

1 Year




The Challenge

For the SOAZ team, marketing responsibilities are a hat everyone wears on the team. They needed their own marketing materials for their own events, and would use tools like Canva or Adobe which is time consuming, and created a lot of inconsistent materials.

Special Olympics Arizona had never formally had a marketing department until 2022; however, this new department consists of only one person, Amanda Metcalf, which is a huge responsibility for one human. “We were struggling internally because we put together a health education program, and we had templated out what the program needs to look like. But we needed a graphic designer to put it into a book to get it printed.”

The Solution

Luckily, a good friend of Amanda’s introduced her to Design Pickle’s subscription model to help execute on Amanda’s vision while keeping the cost flat. “We signed on just thinking that we would use Design Pickle for maybe a month while we’re just doing this one project. But then it was a complete game changer for us.” After a month of working with her designated Design Pickle designers, Amanda’s team noticed an increase in their output, especially when adding a Graphics Premium subscription. Amanda can now request assets in Canva-ready format for her colleagues to run with and easily make edits on their own. These two workstreams have effectively removed the graphic design hats from individual team members, which has helped free them up to work on their various initiatives, and create consistency in their visuals.

For SOAZ, one of the greatest benefits about joining Design Pickle is that they feel like they have a new team member since they work with their designer daily, without the overhead of a new hire that can be costly, especially for a non-profit organization.

The Results

Special Olympics Arizona’s creative asset output more than doubled, is now cohesive, and has saved the organization thousands of dollars already. With designated designers, Canva-file delivery, fast communication in Slack, and the built-in feedback tools included in the Design Pickle platform, now Amanda and her team can focus on growing their community, planning and executing over 300 events, and touching the lives of thousands.

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