February 22nd, 2017

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Photoshop and guest speakers, oh what fun!

Photoshop is crucial in every aspect of graphic design, and it is a large part of my publications class. This week we have learned some basic fundamentals, as well as a small amount of practice with the program. The majority of the week has consisted of tutorials, however we have big plans in store. For the next few weeks, we will be completing assignments using our newly learned photoshop skills (hopefully we will have developed some by then.)
Like graphic design, photoshop takes patience, practice, and persistence. Without these three, you might as well give up now because it’s not happening. I know that it is slightly frustrating and little bit difficult, but I also know that it is a useful skill that I will be so thankful for in the future. 

This week was also full of a fun surprise: a guest speaker. Guest speakers are exciting because it allows for a change up in the normal, every day routine. This week’s speaker was named Tiffany and she worked with OU recruiting. She talked to us about a wide variety of things, including some of the important aspects that graphic design and photoshop has in her job. She brought two different OU recruiting pamphlets, one that contained small font and large spacing, the other has large font and small spacing. You would think the design that contained the larger font would look the best, right? Wrong. The large font, small spacing duo was actually pretty overwhelming and hard to read. The one that had the large spacing was much more organized and it made me want to read it, apposed to the first one which made me want to say “yeah, that’s a lot of words, I’m not even going to bother.” The skill sets and concepts that I’m learning now can benefit my future and our guest speaker today is just one example of how often these techniques are used in the real world. I am so excited to gain more experience so I, too can put my knowledge to work to create a design piece that is sure to amaze. 

Reflection unit 3.2

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This week was important for public relations writing. We studied how to create a media advisory and a media pitch. These items and skill sets are crucial in the field of PR because its the basis of many stories and journalist relationships. Many journalists rely on the media pitch in order to find their story and give ideas on the subject of writing. Creating a media advisory gives short, to-the-point description of the idea and allows journalists to view the topics without the extra detailed descriptions that are often seen in stories.
​Media pitches, on the other hand, are often times presented as an email that gives a potential topic for a journalists to write about. For example, the one of the topics for my assignment was the bikeathon hosted by Tipton Children’s Home. I gave a few short details and a mild description of the event, and then left some contact information if they were interested in covering the story. 
One thing that I would be interested in is learning these topics in greater detail, with correct examples and a basis of formatting. Many items in journalism are strictly formatting, and learning how to format each type of journalistic writing is an important part of understanding how it should be presented. 
I think this skill set will help me in my future career because it will allow me to have knowledge and understanding when I am asked to preform such tasks. I can become a better employee by practicing and creating these types of writings now. I know that the more I learn today, the better off I will be tomorrow. 

reflection 3.2

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In unit 3.2, we were asked to understand how to construct a media advisory and media pitch.
Picture
Photo from Altitude PR.

First, the media advisory. Like any written form of communication, I knew already that the media advisory would be focused on newsworthy information. After reading about how to form a media advisory, I particularly liked the precise format: one page total with the 5-W’s in bullet point form. Each media advisory document I made looked extremely organized, which I liked. I also enjoyed the challenge of getting the most important information in less than three sentences, as well as having to keep within a one page maximum. I always appreciate writing that has limits, because it’s good practice for social media, pitches, etc.
​Next, the media pitch.
I have always heard that PR professionals must be able to “pitch” ideas. Pitching ideas is much more than just throwing out an idea; it takes being creative, and also requires conveying that creativity in a way that will make a reporter want to cover the news that you are suggesting. Pitches must be crafted for each individual reporter based on their beliefs, likings, etc., so it’s interesting to think about different strategies to craft pitches for different people. Like the media advisory, I like that the media pitch is also one page and clean cut with the most newsworthy information.
Writing with the attempt to interest another person to care about something is a task in itself. PR professionals should be able to intrigue reporters, but this can only be done if they have done their research. Because we live in a digital age where news can either be remembered or forgotten, I know that mastering these two forms of PR communication are essential in getting information out to others. I’d love to know tips that can make media advisory and pitches more memorable, so that in the future I can be assured my information will get noticed and covered.

Self-worth

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One of the biggest things that I have struggled with over the years is doubting my worth. I have always thought of myself as average, not drop dead gorgeous, not super tall or really good at much of anything, but average at everything. 

I knew that because I was just okay, that wouldn’t attract many boys so when one finally gave me the attention I was so desperately seeking I would throw everything at him, completely depending on what he thought me. I never had my own opinions about myself but rather put my identity in boys who didn’t know the effect their words and actions had on me. 

I put my identity in earthly men and began to think that if a man of the world doesn’t want me then how can God? God is so much bigger and better then any earthly man so if they can’t love me how can He? I will never be able to fully please the Lord, I’m just average, I’m not extra special in any way and I’m not a model Christian either so how can a God so mighty possibly love me?

But that’s just it. God loves me despite my flaws. He loves me no matter what I do and he doesn’t think I’m average. God gave his son for me and you because he knows that we are worth it. God is better then any earthly man will ever be so putting your identity in someone of this world will never give you the satisfaction that you’re looking for. The only way that you will ever be able to fill that hole you feel is through Christ’s love and putting your trust in him. God will never give up on you, he’s never going to break your heart, he’s never going to leave you. He is your comforter and savior forever no matter what you do. 

I struggle with this everyday and will continue to struggle with it I’m sure but the sooner that you start believing that you are worth it, the sooner you can find true comfort in the Lord and you will feel whole. You aren’t average, you are far from average because you are loved by the one true king. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not learn on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

[ps]yched

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This week, we have switched gears and have begun learning Adobe Photoshop.
I have always thought of Photoshop, like Croom said, in a negative connotation. The word “photoshopped” has been used in this generation as a verb to describe something fake. However, when it comes to design, manipulating and “faking” things out can be extremely useful, so I’m excited to start using this new program.
Picture
Image from Wikipedia.

After looking at my planner for the upcoming week, I noticed we do not have an assignment due for a couple of weeks in PR Publications. That is because we are first educating ourselves on Photoshop before beginning to design. In doing so, we used Lynda on Tuesday to watch a series of videos about the basics of Photoshop. Three pages of notes and 11 videos later, I feel like I will be able to manage using the basics of the tools, layers and masks. It seems to me like Photoshop will seem complicated at first, but I know with practice and memorizing shortcuts, it will get easier. I’m interested to see exactly how much more I will be able to do using both InDesign and Photoshop simultaneously.
Our next assignment in this course is to complete a direct mailer using Adobe Photoshop. After using Google and Pinterest to find some examples of direct mailers, it looks like this assignment may be a time consuming task. But, like they say, good things never come easy!

I’m excited to dive in and get started expanding my design skills with Adobe Programs.

Capturing the Carnival Cruise Lines Aesthetic: The Letterhead

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So what did you do this week in PR Pubs?

I made a letterhead to complement the business card I created last week!

What did that entail?

I used the same subject as last week, Carnival Cruise Lines, and had some fun with it by expanding the concept I’d used to a larger page.

Let’s see it.

I see you changed the shade of red.

You’re correct! I thought about my regrets from last week and decided to correct them this time around, so I pulled an image of the Carnival Cruise Lines logo from Google and used the eyedropper tool to copy a specific shade of red from that. I altered the circles and the font just a little.

Illustration via cruisemapper
What about the final design do you like most?

I think I used the right amount of color – and the right shades, too. I personally feel the colors are heavy-handed, but the good parts of the piece aren’t cancelled out just because my aesthetic and the aesthetic of the design clash.

What about it do you dislike?

I think the bubbly nature of it was fun on the business card because it was such a small space, but within this medium I don’t think they work so well. I really wish I’d made it more of a complementary piece and less of an expanded work. It seems too simple without any minimalism.

How do you plan to improve in the future?

I’ll probably wind up getting lost in the rabbit hole of design, studying what the greats are doing on sites like graphicdesignforums and then learning from what I admire most. I’d like to make graphics for fun to experiment with techniques and until I find my own particular style for more professional use.

An Interview with “Terry”

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This week I am interviewing Terry Quinn. A fellow student in my PR Publications class. I will be asking her questions about what our most recent design project (business card and letterhead) was like and her thoughts during this project.

Amanda: Hi, Terry how are you doing today?
Terry: Pretty good especially with this warmer weather today.
A: I know it is lovely. So, for our most recent design project, a joint business card and letterhead tell me about what organization you chose and why?
T: I chose the nonprofit Family Legacy based in the Dallas area. I chose this organization because it is very near and dear to my heart and I go over to Zambia, Africa every summer to do mission work with them.
A: Wow, that is amazing. When researching about the Nonprofit what information did you find out about them and their overall theme/ design of the company.
T: Family Legacy has a very simplistic clean design. They are an organization that focuses more on what they do and are about then rather having a bold and loud design.
A: Very Interesting. When starting to design the business card, what were your initial thoughts? 
T: My initial thought was wow designing a business card was harder than I thought it’d be. With such a small space you don’t want to over design but you still want to keep things interesting. 
A: I completely agree with you it was much more difficult than anticipated. What were your thoughts on designing the letterhead?
​T: I think designing on a much bigger canvas is easier and I knew the feel I was going for since it was coinciding with my business card.
A: Very true I agree with you. Thanks so much for your time and have a great weekend!
T: Thanks! You too!

Introducing, Norma!

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In PR Pubs, we were encouraged to channel our innerBeyoncé/Sasha Fierceduo and get in touch with our design alter-ego. At first, I struggled with the notion of creating an alternative-me…what would she look like? act like? think like?
Shortly after working myself into a mild panic, I realized I’ve actually been toting around my alter-ego for many years. I’ve been making jokes about her for as long as I can remember and she always makes an appearance around 10pm on Friday nights. She’s pretty darn cute with a dash of classic diva. Without further ado, let me introduce you to the lovely lady in waiting:

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Norma Nichols
She is, and has always been, my inner old lady. She adores classic movies and knitting, on occasion. She’s been collecting Vogue magazines and hoarding vintage couture since the late 50’s. She wears Chanel No. 5, calls everyone “darling” and lounges around her house in her pearls. Though she may be fabulous, she’s just a little behind the times.
Much like Benjamin Button, she gets younger as the years go on (and for design purposes, as I become more savvy with Adobe Creative Suite.) Currently, InDesign makes me feel like I am an 80 year-old with zero technological skill, so Norma is currently sitting at the ripe old age of 80.
Stay tuned for her anti-aging antics.
Letterhead Design Q & A with Madame Norma

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Q: What is the inspiration behind your letterhead design?
A: Well darling, I have to say the greatest inspiration was my first design: the We Are Beautiful

followed closely by the mood board I created on,Pinterest. I focused on chic, clean lines with timeless blush accents. I want these designs to be as classic and beautiful as the women whose hands they pass through.

Q: What was your biggest obstacle when designing this letterhead?
A: I’d have to say white space. There is just so much of it in a letterhead. I have to admit, my original design looks nothing like the final product. The original design was far too simple (and dare I say a bit too mod) for this organization. Though I adore simplicity, it was hard to find the balance between chic and under-designed.

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Q: If you could describe the design in three words, what would they be?
A: I am so glad you asked, love: I’d have to go with classy, feminine and chic. All three things I strive to be..oh and things We Are Beautiful embodies perfectly.
Q: Do you have any theories about design and style?
A: In the words of Madame Coco Chanel, “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous,” I don’t think designs should be any different.
Q: What did you intend to be the focus of the design?
A: I wanted to draw the eye to the logo, which is my absolute favorite design element of all. WAB has a stellar logo. It’s simple, classic, distinct and draws the eye. I will always strive to draw the eye to the logo.
Q: What are your thoughts on your progress with InDesign?
A: Darling, I have to admit I am getting better. When I started this design process, I was 90 years old, so I’ve made some progress. I don’t need to ask for help nearly as often, but let’s just say, I’m still playing it safe. I’d hate to mentally break a hip whilst designing.
Chanel Quote:Good Housekeeping 

Reflection of the news release

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This week has been full of learning about news releases and all thing related. Some important factors that were taught include understanding the importance of things like titles, slugs, inverted triangles, and bridge, and how they are crucial in writing press releases. We also learned about putting the right information in the right places in order to create the most efficient news release. After learning and reviewing the lesson, we were asked to create our own news releases based off of the Tipton Children’s home. One news release covered general information about the motives and purpose of the home, while the other focused on the bikeathon the organization was hosting.
Before this lesson, I was slightly unfamiliar with the boilerplate concepts and the bridge concepts. I was taught this information in the past, but it still was a little foggy. Having the practice of creating write up and actually writing these press releases ourselves helped create more clarity in the purpose of the ideas. 
I would be interested in knowing a little more about the importances of certain aspects of the news release. For example, is the ending mark always used? There were several news release documents I found that did not contain as many items as the sample that was given. Gaining more information on the specifics of each release is important when entering the field and beginning your own work. 
This skill set is so important in so many ways. Having the ability to write for news media is a technique that only a journalist contains, and it requires special practice and particular teaching. Public relations is a field that forces all members to write, and write well. Almost every aspect of PR involves some kind of writing, and the press releases are just one of the many. I can use this skill set for two reasons that I will explain. Number one, like I said before, writing is important, and being able to know how to write for media will always be of use, no matter the career. Number two, now that I have this skill of writing, formatting, and understanding news releases, I can better examine them when I see them, and I will know exactly where to look for contact information, the most important pieces, and other related parts.