Series: Exercises in Public Relations, Part One

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What were you asked to do?

I was asked to mark up one news release – which could have been about anything and written by any organization – and to write two news releases myself about a prescribed topic, the Tipton Children’s Home in Tipton, Oklahoma.

What can you pick up on now that you couldn’t before?

I now know the names and purposes of the required parts of a news release, as well as how to write one using the inverted pyramid structure I used to most often associate with journalism.

What else would you like to know about this skill set?

The only thing I was unsure of throughout this process was how much information to use in each of my news releases. For the first, I took note from my lessons in Writing for the Mass Media last spring and cut information that seemed like it would be less useful to the news outlet or other reader than the rest. For the second, I believe I used nearly everything because most of the given information was essential. I wasn’t sure if cutting less relevant information was a good idea, but I called upon my limited past experience and went with my gut.

How does this particular skill set jive with your expectations of the responsibilities held by a public relations professional?

This exercise centered on the precise and considered treatment of information which public relations professionals would follow a code of ethics in handling. I tried to do just that; I held the intent of honestly and accurately representing my “client,” the Tipton Children’s Home, and its mission while presenting the information in as objective a manner as possible.

How do you see this particular skill set helping you in your career?

​I’m sure that, no matter what organization I work for – especially if it’s a nonprofit – I will be asked to write a news release. Knowing how to write one is a necessary skill that all public relations professionals should know and be able to utilize at any given time, and I genuinely enjoyed making my attempt at the exercise.

Week 5 Reflection

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This week in class Pritch assigned us to write 2 news release and do a news release markup. For the news release markup we basically had to mark the elements in a news release of our choosing. Learning the format and elements of a news release this week and the week before helped make this assignment easy to spot out the elements such as boiler plate, dateline, slug and end of story symbol. After completing that assignment I felt better equipped to tackle on the actual writing of a news release. The first news release was harder to write than the second one because it was basic information on an organization not just something specific to cover such as an event. I would still like to learn more about what to include in news releases that is just about a organization/company. All in all I think the news releases went well and I included all key elements into my news releases. Learning how to write a news release will help me be a public relations professional because a news release is an essential and a foundational tool of PR. This skill set will better equip me in my future career by helping my write news release with efficiency and ease. 

Alter Ego

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This week in class, I met my design alter ego. Her name is COCO B and she loves attention, so today I took the liberty of asking her a few questions relating to our PR publications class.
(P.S., the B stands for Beatrice, but she doesn’t like Beatrice, she just likes B.) 

Gracie: So, Coco, why are you taking this class? What about graphic design do you find interesting?

COCO B: Well, Gracie, I am taking this class to sharpen my skills in all things graphic design. I’m not experienced in the slightest way, and hopefully this class will change that. Graphic design allows me to really show my creative side and I think that’s why I enjoy it so much. I can really express myself through my work, which is always a great thing. 

Gracie: Coco, that is just fantastic! Now, what have you been learning right now in the class?

COCO B: Oh just loads and loads of stuff. We started with tutorials on InDesign to get a feel for the program, but now we are creating business cards and design letterheads and I would basically consider myself a professional. I mean, maybe not a full professional, but at least half of one. 

Gracie: Sounds like you are just taking over! What is your design for the business card and letterhead?

COCO B:  Grace- Can I call you Grace? Grace, I decided to base my project from Nike’s perspective. I included their logo, their motto, “Just Do It” and other factors that really appeal to the athletic eye. It was really a struggle finding the right colors and shapes to match the idea in my head. I actually tried about nine different design techniques before settling with the outcome. Sometimes you just can’t put perfect on paper, yah know?

Gracie: I hear yah, COCO B. Well I appreciate your time here today and I look forward to seeing all of the unique designs you come up with throughout the semester. It was really a pleasure having you out and about today.

COCO B: Why thank you, doll face, I’ll be seeing you soon.  

Talking to myself

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Read title to the tune “Dancing with myself


Erin Tabberer: What was your assignment for this week?

Taren Evans: The assignment was to create a letterhead that matches and inspired by the business card I created last week. 

Erin:  Where did you get the inspiration for this design?

Taren: Well Erin that’s a great question, Kate Spade’s motto is “live colorfully” so I wanted to include a lot of colors and fun design. They have a lot of polka dot patterns in their clothes and purses so I wanted the background to look like confetti which is why I went with the circles. 

Erin: How did you keep the design professional looking and not overwhelming?

Taren: I wanted to design to be as whimsical as possible without looking like a rainbow crying. I kept all the confetti in the margins of the letterhead to keep it from overwhelming the body copy. I tried not to over due it so it still felt like confetti or polka dots and not an invasive pattern that would distract from what is actually important on the page. 

Erin: What were some challenges in designing this piece?

Taren: With letterheads the design needs to be fun but not invasive to the point of the letter. Making something that’s interesting but not too much was definitely a challenge. I wanted it to be fun but not something that the reader would rather look at then read the letter written on it. 

Erin: Is there anything that you would do differently?

Taren: I don’t think so, Erin. I’m really happy with what I designed. If I could do one thing differently it would be add some sparkles to it because I’m a shining star. 

Erin: What was your favorite part of this design?

Taren: I really enjoyed being about to create something fun but professional at the same time. I love Kate Spade as a brand and I think they have a really fun brand identity and there’s a lot that you can do with it. I really enjoyed working on this project but I’m also really happy it’s over. 

An Interview of My Alter Ego

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An interview with “Sami the Foodie” by Sami Canavan

So ‘Sami the Foodie,’ what were you asked to do in PR Pubs this week?
For this assignment, we were asked to create a letterhead for the same client we created a business card for. I chose Epic Pops on Campus Corner as my client because I think about birthday cake and red velvet popsicles literally all day long. So why not bring my popsicle passion into PR Pubs, right? 

How did you begin the design process?
I started off by Googling letterheads. Then I began sketching designs in my PR Pubs journal. I came up with three designs that I thought would look good. Some of my classmates pointed out their favorites during our Valentine’s Day speed “dating” exercise. It seemed that one design was the crowd favorite.

Did you have any complications along the way?
Well … I got so distracted by my frequent popsicle fantasies while I was creating this letterhead that I had to actually go to Epic Pops and get a popsicle before I could continue my work. Other than that, the design process came pretty naturally to me and I didn’t run into any major complications.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Wanna go get a popsicle?

Epic Pops is a gourmet popsicle shop located at 580 Buchanan Ave. in Norman, Oklahoma.

This is the letterhead I created on Feb. 16, 2017 for Epic Pops.

last but naut least

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This week, we made a company letterhead.
At the beginning of class on Tuesday, we were told that our letterhead should have similar characteristics to the business card, but it should be more universal so that it can be used company-wide and not just for personal use. After having a few minutes to brainstorm (and consulting with Pinterest, for me), we had the opportunity to give advice and ask others for advice on how to construct our letterhead design.
The back of my business card inspired my design for the letterhead.

The company I chose for the first design was Carnival Cruise Line. As seen above, the back of my business card has a shape that resembles a ship. I thought using this shape was subtle and clever, and after speaking with a few of my classmates, it seemed they thought so, too. These conversations persuaded me to use this shape at the top and bottom of my letterhead so that it can hold information and tie in to my business card.
Here is my final letterhead design.
I liked the challenge this design gave me by forcing me to keep it simple and not overdo it. There were a few times during this week that I tried adding a left margin or adding another background design through the center of the screen, but I had to remember that the assignment is supposed to represent something universal and cost-friendly for print. The best part about this assignment was finally feeling a little more comfortable using InDesign than I was last week.

What was the goal of this assignment?
This assignment required us to make a letterhead that could be used company-wide for the organization we chose to design last week. Also, the letterhead should have similarities to the business card as if they go hand in hand.

How did you come up with the layout for your letterhead design?
After talking with my classmates Tuesday about the ideas for my design, I realized other people felt like the “ship” shape of my business card was the strong point of it. That influenced me to keep that shape and use it for the letterhead.

Did you change your design in the process, or stick with your original idea?
Not really. I thought about adding to the design (making a left margin or adding a background design), but I decided both this assignment and the company I chose influence being simple. This caused me to stick with my original idea and control myself from adding other things.

Did you find InDesign easier to use the second time around?
Definitely. Nothing is better than trying to use a tool and not having to Google how to use the tool. I even used the scissor tool this time around, which came in handy.

Are you happy with the way your design turned out?
I think the design definitely accomplished what was asked of us for this assignment. I like that it challenged me to not overdo it and to think universally, since it would be used by many in the company. I’m excited for the next project!

All The Way

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Singleness is an amazing opportunity for young people to get the most out of their relationship with the Lord. God uses our singleness to help others and to care for those around us. It’s also the time for us to grow with Christ and love him fully. If you aren’t content with God’s love while you’re single then going into a relationship isn’t going to make you feel whole. People often describe an emptiness they feel that they don’t know how to fill but the hole is Christ that you’ve been trying to fill with earthly things. No matter how godly the other person is they will never be able to fill the hole meant for Jesus. 

Sometimes being single can feel like a chain weighing you down from opportunities and you might feel like you’re lagging behind your other friends but take this time to develop an undying devotion to God. Develop who God is in your life and who he isn’t. You realize the truths he has for you and the love that will never leave you. You have to be faithful where you are. Be present in your conversations and let Christ’s love shine through you. Don’t waste your singleness by looking for a partner, when you’re ready the Lord will provide you a spouse. 

Being single is the time for you to lay the foundation for the rest of your life. It’s a time to live for God and not yourself. Develop your prayer life, talk to Jesus like he’s your best friend, and find friends who will hold you accountable. Gain a drive and direction that will lead you to the feet of Jesus. Care more about other people’s eternity rather then your temporary life. Take the time during your singleness to change yourself for the better. Live for Christ everyday and with his purpose in mind. If you’re not willing to make God number one now you won’t after college. Go all in for the Lord.

Living for Christ is something I’ve personally been struggling with a lot. I focused on school and my other relationships rather then the only one that would truly sustain me. No matter the season you’re in, you have to continue to seek the Lord or you other relationships will fall apart. My goal is to live for the plan that the Lord has for me and trust that he knows best even though things are hard right now. 

“I am the daughter of a king who is not moved by the world for my God is with me and goes before me. I do not fear because I am His.” 

Let’s Get Down To Business

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This week, our assignment was to create a business card for a company of our choice. I chose Epic Pops on Campus Corner since I’ve been researching the company lately with Lindsey + Asp.

To get our minds in the right place for this assignment, Croom assigned us to create two Pinterest boards over the weekend: a business card mood board and a competitor mood board. For my business card mood board, I pinned a bunch of colorful business cards to get me in the bright, popsicle mindset. For the competitor mood board, I pinned a lot of photos of Steel City Pops – a popular gourmet popsicle shop in Alabama, Texas and Kentucky.

My business card was inspired by the menu chalkboards at Epic Pops. I decided to make my business card resemble a chalkboard. I chose to use one font (chalkduster). 

I worked on my business card for approximately three hours total. It’s crazy how much work goes into a 3.5 x 2 inch piece of paper!

Throw Confetti

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This week we began designing business cards for our chosen clients. I chose Kate Spade, a luxury purse and clothing brand. Their motto is “live colorfully” which was part of the reason that I chose this brand because I knew that there wouldn’t be a lot of creative boundaries with it. I really enjoy the colors and various patterns that they use in their designs. 

On Tuesday I began my design with the polka dots in the corner to resemble confetti. A lot of their designs or quotes they use talk about parties or confetti so I thought that would be a good choice. I decided to do different colors because of their motto and it gave it a fun feel. The goal was to make it look like it was fading from the corner and into the rest of the card. I added the few dots around the other edges so there wasn’t as much dead space. I used the same font for my name and the rest of the information as the Kate Spade logo but made the name bolded. 

The back was definitely more challenging then I thought it would be. I began by putting polka dots all over the back and then adding white space behind the logo but that looked entirely too cluttered. I knew I wanted to add their slogan but I couldn’t think of i way to make it stand out without looking like a ball pit. Once I began increasing the leading on the slogan, I thought of the idea to put the letters in the bubbles. It took a lot of patience and focus to getting the spacing between the bubbles and the letters just right.

In the end I am very happy with my design and I think it has a lot of character and would easily catch someone’s eye. If I would do anything differently I wouldn’t have started the back by putting hundreds of circles on it. 

Darn Right I Can!!

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        Have you ever been so mad one second and then happy and proud of yourself the next? That’s what happened to me this week. So I started a new business at the beginning of the year called Haven of Homes. What I do is clean apartments, houses and remodel homes. Remodeling homes has been going great but thats a very slow and small part of my business, the real money maker is cleaning and that wasn’t going so fantastic. I have been calling and driving around the entire Oklahoma City metro asking apartments for cleaning contracts, handing out business cards, going to business meetings etc. in hopes of soliciting business. Turns out, no one seems to be hiring and as I have no other job than my business I have been on the brink of breakdown. 
        I was in my car Monday driving around looking for business. As I neared the end of my day I literally just sat in my car and screamed my head off in frustration. I also started screaming at God for all my failures as this seemed like another one. Yes, I said screaming, not praying, I tend to be an ungrateful brat at times. Anyway, I saw one more apartment and decided I would go in and put in my price sheet for cleaning and hope they were hiring. Of course, the front lady said no they were not looking for a housekeeper for make-ready apartments and I walked out very depressed. About an hour later the lady called back and asked me to meet her on Wednesday morning. 
         This is where is gets slightly funny. So the next day I walk into my PR Publications class and turns out, we are making business cards. I can’t lie, I had a very “whatever” attitude about the project but I decided to design a business card for my business. It literally was the most frustrating project I have ever done. The professor walked by to see how I was doing with his cheerful self and of course I had an attitude. “So how are we doing over here?” the professor said. “I am so done with this project!” was my response. I felt really bad but InDesign is so complicated and I was still frustrated with my own business. At the end of the class I literally went no where with my business card. I had no design plan or information on the card yet and it was due by this past Thursday. 
         Wednesday comes around and I go to the meeting with the apartment and turns out they want to hire me! When the property manager told this to me I did a slight happy dance in my head. That isn’t the end of the story though. The manager kept talking and when I asked her about how many apartments I’d be cleaning a week she said that I’ll be cleaning for all five of the properties her company owns! My mouth dropped and I said “Darn right!”. 
         The next day in class I was much more appreciative of my professor and I’m pretty sure he was appreciative of the attitude change too. 

So I know all of you are wondering how hard it is and for those of you who downloaded the free trial of InDesign here is a quick tutorial of how to make your own business card!