Summary of Learning Pt. 2

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For my final project in PR pubs, I decided on doing and interactive Google Doc called “Tell Me About PR Pubs.” Throughout this whole semester, I’ve had a lot of people ask me about this class and my experience with it so I decided to capture that aspect of this class–it’s legacy.

There was one specific day where the other intern at my work asked me about PR pubs and who I was taking it with and what the class was like. The class seemed intimidating to her at first, but once I explained it she was excited. Therefore, the conversations I’ve had with PR students who are going to take the class is what I wanted my project to represent.

This project also represents the freedom we had in a lot of our projects. In this project specifically one of the “students” talks about the freedom we had, but this project itself was an example of that. When I was contemplating what I would do for the final project, I was honestly overwhelmed because of all the choices I had. But let’s be honest…no other class I’ve ever had has been as flexible as this one. A lot of the time we got to choose our clients and audiences, and we were given a lot of freedom in our designs as well. We weren’t just given a tutorial video and asked to follow it step by step and recreate it.

Also, this project represents the new tools I’ve gained from this class. Even though I knew how to use InDesign and Photoshop coming into the class, I learned about new programs like Canva and the interactive Google Doc that I used for this project. And again the “student” specifically talks about the new programs.

To view my final project, click the link.

Designing for Emotion: Chapter 5

For our final unit of the semester in PR pubs, we had to pick a chapter from Designing for Emotion and read it. We could pick any chapter so I choose Chapter 5. I think it was actually the next one after the last chapter we had to read so that seemed like a logical and easy enough choice. I don’t know if there was anything in this chapter that I necessarily disagree with, but I still find apps like Mint to be a little sketchy. There’s a point where it doesn’t matter how well designed a website or app is. On the other hand, one thing that I agreed with was when the author Aarron Walter talked about having to go back to research when your hitting a brick wall with your audience. Whenever your audience is apathetic, it’s always best to find out why and from that research find out how your can change their attitude and perception.

Summary of Learning Pt. 1

Looking back at this course, I really enjoyed taking this class, but it was really more good practice than it was a learning experience. Coming into PR pubs, I already new how to use InDesign and Photoshop, the two programs we worked from the most. I also had had a lot of opportunities to design things prior to the class.

However, I’m a self-taught InDesign and Photoshop user so it was nice to actually have someone teaching me new tricks especially in Photoshop.

As I reflect on the course, I’m really glad that Adam, our instructor, introduced us to programs outside of Adobe Products like Canva and iBooks author. I had worked with iBooks once before but had never used Canva. Since he introduced us to Canva, I’ve actually use it a lot at my internship and for personal use as well.

Over the course of this semester, my knowledge of the tools available to me have grown because now I know about things like Canva and I’m not limited to using Adobe products.

Speaking of new tools, for my Summary of Learning project will be to create an interactive Google Doc. I didn’t even know this existed until Adam was briefing us on our final assignment, but I’d like to try it out because why not! With this medium, I’m either going to have a dialogue between two students and one is telling the other about the PR pubs experience OR it’s going to be a written letter to future PR pubs students.

Going Forward

Before this class, I had a personal blog that had had for a little over a year in August, but when I started taking PR pubs I decided to create a separate blog. My other blog was strictly personal and I didn’t want the voice of that blog to change because of the content I would post from class.

Going forward, I most likely will not maintain this domain because I’ve already started to build my personal brand on my other site. However, I do see the value of maintaining this site as a more professional domain.

At some point, my goal for my personal blog is to import it from WordPress to Squarespace.

Social Media Blitz

For the past week, we have been working on what our professor calls a social media blitz. It’s basically where we design social media elements using Canva, a web-based design application, in a week. Before this assignment, I had heard of Canva a little bit, but I had never used it before. I’m a bit of a Adobe Creative Cloud snob so trying this new program made me feel like I was cheating on the Adobe programs I love.

Before I talk about what I designed in Canva, I want to talk a bit about my thoughts on this program. Though I was skeptical before using the program, I found that it can actually be really useful if you need to design something quickly especially for social media platforms. I also liked how there were already a ton of pre-made icons and shapes that I could use to add to my design. If I had been using an Adobe product, it would have taken a lot longer because I would have had to design these little elements.

Though I enjoyed using Canva for this project, I found it very restricting at the same time. There were times when I wished I could have changed the leading of something or change the color of a pre-made icon (because I actually did come across one where you couldn’t do that). I also found it annoying that if there was an element that I set as a particular color or opacity that I couldn’t saving that element and then use it on another design.

Finally, though I liked that there were pre-made icons and templates, I have a love-hate relationship with stock photos. Generally, I find the use of stock photos to be a bit cheap and cheesy, but I definitely caved for this project because I didn’t have any photos that fit what I needed and it’s not like I could go “on location” to take a picture.

Here’s what I mean by that. For this assignment, I decided to make social media content to get people in my church group excited about a backpacking trip we’re planning for June 2016 in New Mexico (hence the reason why I couldn’t take a photo myself). Only a few people have expressed firm interest in going on the backpacking trip, but we want people to start thinking about it now since people will need to purchase equipment, especially hiking boots, in advance so they can break them in. People will also want to start working on getting in shape considering we’re going to be walking up to 8 miles a day on rough terrain.

So here is what I made. I made a Facebook cover, Twitter cover, Twitter post, and an Instagram post (shown in that order). I was actually able to get them to use the twitter and instagram pieces as you can see. Directly below is the Facebook cover.

Facebook cover

Next, we have the Twitter cover.

Here’s a bigger view of the Twitter cover.

Twitter cover

Here is the tweet. 

Finally, here is the Instagram post! You can’t really see it, but the caption was “Double tap if you’re excited for the backpacking trip in June!”

 

Reflection: Direct Mailer

For this second assignment, we were asked to create two direct mail postcards using Photoshop and we were to approach this assignment as if we were part of OU’s recruitment services trying to get new students to come to the University. In this postcard, we could be trying to get a potential student to apply to OU, we could be trying to persuade them to make OU their final decision, we could be trying to get them to choose a particular college, major or student organization. Also, for our second mailer, we needed to target an audience that could essentially influence our first one.

For the first mailer, I choose to appeal to potential students and underclassmen who marked journalism as an interest on their application or that have declared PR as their major. With my mailer, I wanted to get potential Gaylord students to learn more about PRSSA and potentially join. I don’t know if this was technically allowed, but I went with it!

Direct Mailer 1 Draft 1 Direct Mailer 1 Draft 1 Back

Here is my thought process behind the first design:

Since most PR majors and most people in PRSSA are female, I gave it a feminine look. Also, you’ll notice the “#legendary” on the front side of the direct mailer. “Legendary” is the word of the year for OU PRSSA so including that will introduce potential members to the chapter’s culture.

 

For the second mailer, I choose to appeal to parents of students how have been accepted. These parents are also alumni and I wanted to encourage them to become a Sooner Parent.

Direct Mailer 2 Draft 1 Front Direct Mailer 2 Draft 1 Back

Here is my thought process behind the second design:

I tried to give this mailer a good balance of feminine and masculine to appeal to both parents and I tried to do that by combining the script typeface and the san serif typeface. I also tried to appeal to the emotions of the parents by saying that “it runs in the family” and thanking and giving credit to the parents. Once that appeal has cased some sort of emotional arousal, I introduce the call to action in hopes that parents will with want to become Sooner Parents.

 

I really like what I’ve created, but I was kind of nervous about using the same script font on both designs. Figures crossed that it doesn’t look like a cop-out!

Coming into this assignment I wasn’t super comfortable with Photoshop. True be told I prefer Illustrator, InDesign and THEN Photoshop (I think I’ve mentioned this before). But this was a great way to force myself to use Photoshop! I still prefer InDesign over Photoshop, but I think I  feel more comfortable in it now.

If I were to have this to do all over again I think I would have made one of the designs more typography based. I thought of an idea of this other direction after I was done with both designs.

Designing for Emotion: Chapter 3

During this last week of designing our direct mailers, we were also assigned to read Chapter 3 of Designing for Emotion. I have already done two blog posts on Chapter 1 and 2. In Chapter 3 Aarron Walter talks about personality in design. I would agree with Walter that as humans we like to see personality in things. We like to look at cars, websites, publications, etc. and see a human quality in it and hopefully see a personality that closely resembles our own. When we can see a persona in something that is clearly not a person, we are more likely to warm up to the object.

For example, Apple has always had a huge hold of the technology market. They always seem to putting out the latest and greatest and the competition always seems to lag behind, but this is especially true for when Apple gave the iPhone a persona with Siri. In advertisements, Apple demonstrated people interacting with Siri on a deeper level. Siri was and still is something people talk to and have really human-like conversations with. Humans quickly become attracted to things that are clearly not human when these things have human-like qualities.

On the other hand, it doesn’t replace the human and no matter how much personality you give a website or the next piece of technology or a publication you cannot eliminate these channels that go from person to person though Walter seems the imply that.

Direct Mailer…More Draftz

So we’re right in the middle of our direct mailer assignment. For this unit we are creating two direct mailers that are meant to target two different stakeholders of the University of Oklahoma. We are currently working on second drafts and your probably thinking “Wait, WHAT?! Where were the first drafts?”

No worries! Here is the first draft of one of my direct mailers. This one is directed at current and potential PR majors who are early in the their course work so they probably haven’t joined PRSSA or they may not be students at OU yet, but have expressed interest in the Gaylord College.

Direct Mailer 1 Draft 1

Direct Mailer 1 Draft 1 Back

 

Since most PR majors and most people in PRSSA are female, I gave it a feminine look. Also, you’ll notice the “#legendary” on the front side of the direct mailer. “Legendary” is the word of the year for OU PRSSA so including that will introduce potential members to the chapter’s culture.

And truth be told this is not only my first draft but also my current draft. I might have made some minor changes but it’s basically the same.

The next direct mailer was supposed to target parents with students who have just been accepted to the University and are going to attend the University in the next year. In not really sure how the stakeholder from the first mailer helped define the second stakeholder, but if I had to say something on this I would say it helped me narrow down and decide on a call to action. In my first mailer, I picked an organization that students could join, but then I remembered that there are also organizations alumni and parents can join. These parents are also alumni so what better way to get parents involved than encouraging them to become Sooner Parents!

Here is the first draft of my second direct mailer.

Direct Mailer 2 Draft 1 Front Direct Mailer 2 Draft 1 Back

 

I tried to give this mailer a good balance of feminine and masculine to appeal to both parents and I tried to do that by combining the script typeface and the san serif typeface. I also tried to appeal to the emotions of the parents by saying that “it runs in the family” and thanking and giving credit to the parents. Once that appeal has cased some sort of emotional arousal, I introduce the call to action in hopes that parents will with want to become Sooner Parents.

To design both of these direct mailers I used Photoshop whereas in the last assignment I used InDesign. The major difference between the two is that it’s easier to move things around in InDesign because InDesign is canvas-based and Photoshop is layer-based. So, in order to move things around in Photoshop, you have to select the layer, which can get a little annoying after a while. Also, when you go to bring import different elements into our project, there are different methods to doing that. Basically copy + paste is okay in Photoshop but just don’t in InDesign.

Despite these differences, the programs are similar in that user interfaces are relatively similar. You have your tool bar on the left side, some more tools up top in addition drop down menus, and then you have some panels on the right side. Essentially if you’re looking for a specific tool in one, it’s likely to be in the same place in the other program so it’s not like you have to relearn where things are.

Designing for Emotion: Chapter 2

Part of this week’s required OU Public Relations Publications students to read chapter two of Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter and write a brief blog post. Chapter two is title “Designing for Humans” and in this chapter Walter briefly addresses the challenge of designing for many different types of people. It was definitely an interesting chapter. It was the kind that actually made me think about design. As one of our professors in Gaylord would say, it’s the kind of chapter “that makes you go ‘ummph.'”

A lot of the facts and analogies Walter talks about I was actually really familiar with because I’m a psychology minor. He starts off talking about how people actually have very similar ways of detecting different emotions and everyone generally expresses emotions like sadness, happiness, or disgust in similar ways regardless of cultural background. I definitely agreed with Walter on this and that it has valuable application to design. Because people react in similar ways to emotions and have similar ways of showing emotion, we as designers don’t have to worry too much about over designing and trying to reach millions of types of people with one design. Instead, we can reach millions of people with one design because they share similar emotional cues.

But when it comes to things that make you go “ummph,” Walter’s baby analogy is one of those things. I’m not sure if analogy is the right word, but we’re going to go with it for now. In this chapter, Walter says that some of the reasons we find babies cute is because of the proportions of their bodies: big heads, small bodies, and bulging eyes. Though I would agree that generally this is was causes us to think they’re cute, he later mentions that from an evolutionary perspective these proportions that cause us to think babies are cute is actually a mechanism to keep humans from killing their offspring.

Okaaaaayyyy Walter…if you say so.

Direct Mailer 2: Stakeholders

In one of my articles from last week, I mentioned that for this next assignment we would be creating two direct mailers each with their own stakeholder that the medium would target. In this article, I wanted to go a little bit more in-depth on the second stakeholder. For the second direct mailer, I said that I wanted to target high school seniors with ACT/SAT accepted scores, but I think I’m going to change that up and go with targeting parents who are alums of the University of Oklahoma.

In the instructions for this week’s assignments, our instructor recommended that we choose a stakeholder who can influence our first stakeholder, which for me are students who are PR majors or who might have an interest in PR and PRSSA. So I want to go with parents who are alum and appeal to the aura of tradition that this school oozes of. Chances are that these parents adapted this attitude of tradition since they attended the University.

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