We are Beautiful, Even When the Process Isn’t

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Not once in my life have I ever felt so relieved to hit the “Submit Assignment” button. Truth be told, designing a business card is a bit harder than one might think…especially when working with the enigmatic beast that is InDesign. In my PR Publications class, we were told to select an “imaginary” client (aka a real brand, but you don’t have to actually work for them) and design a business card with their brand in mind.
We Are Beautifulis a nonprofit organization whose mission is to be “a community of women inspiring one another to embrace and celebrate their true beauty.” I discovered We Are Beautiful through my lovely sorority G-Big, who does Bible studies and blogs for WAB. This organization is one I’m sincerely interested in working with (in real life) for a number of reasons, but the short and sweet version is this is an organization I believe in. That said, I eagerly jumped into designing for this “client” the moment the opportunity arose.
The Process
I wish I could say this process was an easy one. The design/visionary element didn’t trip me up as much as the actual process of creating this product did (side note: what an accurate metaphor for life, right?) I envisioned rather clearly what I wanted the card to look like, but the creation process had other ideas.

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My first mock-up of the card had a blush background; however, the issue with a blush background is that it A) detracted from the content and B) didn’t mesh with the WAB brand all that well. While blush is an element of WAB’s color scheme, it is always the accent, never the focus. Thus, I shifted to a white background to stay on-brand.
The second issue I faced was with typography. I knew, based strictly upon the WAB logo, I needed a serif and a sans serif font for the content. I spent a majority of my class time on Tuesday searching through the font on InDesign before I realized I needed to bring in the big guns…1001 Free Fonts. Sure enough, I found the perfect fonts right away and uploaded them into the program.
The last issue I faced was detailing. Because a business card is so small, I tried not to over-design, but at the same time, I didn’t want my design to be lackluster. So I opted for simple lines and geometric shapes to keep the eye focused on the information in the center while also visually pleased. Believe it or not, I spent more time trying to align dots and lines than I did on just about anything else. Once everything was arranged where I needed it, I felt pretty confident about my final product.
The Product

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(Photo courtesy of the ever-faithful and true,Pinterest

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(Logo courtesy ofWe Are Beautiful)
Though the final product may be simple, I am quite fond of it. And though the process was a bit more work and a little messier than I anticipated, I am thrilled I walked out of it with a finished product.
A Little Philosophy, Free of Charge
As I sit here and write this, I cannot help but giggle at how design continues to be a metaphor for life. In a literal sense, designs will morph and adapt for various reasons as a designer walks through the creative process. Metaphorically, isn’t that just about how everything else in life works?
When we start something, be it a new job or a leadership opportunity, we have an idea of what something will look like. We make plans of how our days will play out and what we will accomplish, but after walking through the refining fires of “process” we end up with an entirely different something than the thing we originally planned. And isn’t it funny how 9 times out of 10 we are satisfied with our final product despite how different it is from our original? Dare I say, there are times we are even more satisfied with the current scenario than we would’ve been if we’d seen our original “design” through to the end. Even when it seems messy and at times frustrating, I think there is something beautiful about trusting life’s process.

Card Me! Capturing the Carnival Cruise Lines Aesthetic

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    I had a doozy of a week. Illness forced me to miss Tuesday’s class, but I still have plenty to talk about!
   This round of PR Publications left me with a mock business card for my graphic design portfolio.
    ​I clearly designed for Carnival Cruise Lines and scouted an employee whose name and title would look suited to the card. I started with a shape to keep the theme simple, since I didn’t think minimalism was the right aesthetic for this company. After that, I played with colors and opacity to make the overall effect seem fun yet professional.
   Carnival Cruise Lines has a specific font on its branded materials, so I used the What The Font tool on MyFonts.com to identify it. After that, it was as easy as looking up the suggested fonts and loading the one I liked best into InDesign. (If you’re curious, I used Tempo Std. Regular.)
     I also attempted to mimic the classic Carnival Cruise Lines red as it appears online. 
​    Since I was a bit rushed for time, I had to do it by hand instead of placing a picture of the company’s logo into my work and using a color picking tool to copy it more precisely, but I may go back and make that change for the sake of accuracy.
    In any case, this was an incredibly fun and useful mini project. I feel more comfortable with InDesign than I did last week, and I’m positive that trend will continue.

Creating your Business Card

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​Okay you guys! You have just started building your brand or company. You have a name, email, phone number and address or location you can be reached at. What do you need next? A BUSINESS CARD!!! Everyone knows that a beginner or established individual, company, organization or business has a business card. When thinking about how to design this you have to think of the mood you are going for. Also, if you work for a major corporation you most likely will need to match your logo and color scheme to there’s. There are so many websites out there that can create a personalized business card for you but what’s the fun in that. Why not design it yourself?
So I say why not design it yourself and you already know I am referring to another experience in…InDesign. This time around I was doing steps quicker, creating rough drafts faster and designing at now a second grade level. Quite proud I must say. I may have even called my mom after class and begged to make her business card. Sadly, she told me to leave it to the professionals. Although InDesign and I have our differences about every Tuesday/Thursday in PR Pubs I am still enjoying learning the ropes and bringing out my creative side. If anyone is like me they are better verbally expressing the design they want to apply than doing it on the computer practicing your graphic design skills. Here are some awesome business cards that creatively spoke to me.
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Class Recap: Basically you all know I made a business card in class this week. I created one for my roommate’s sister who works as a real estate agent at Keller Williams. Before beginning designing my teacher instructed us to make two Pinterest boards. One was a competitive analysis board and the other a mood board. We had to pin business cards, color schemes and ideas competitors were doing to get ideas of how we wanted to improve or build our own design. We also had to add photos to a mood board. Which is exactly what you’re thinking… the mood of the business card. My board included red, white and gray color schemes and cursive fonts I was intrigued with using. The research step was not my finest hour because I kept jumping to designing without completing the research first. Needless to say my teacher was not amused with my procrastination of researching and skipping this step. I just got so excited too test my design skills.
 
Well that’s all for this week guys! Continue reading throughout the semester to check out what is going on in PR Pubs!
 
Always with Love,
            Heather Gilbert

Sometimes Simplicity is a Good Thing

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PictureThe business card I designed in class.

As I mentioned in my blog post from last week this week in class, our assignment was to design a business card.  Before class, we had to pick a brand and do some research on it. I chose the nonprofit Family Legacy which helps the orphans of Zambia learn about the Lord and equip them with a quality education. I knew Family Legacy was the brand I wanted my business card to be designed after because I have worked closely with them in the past and I have been personally impacted by this organization as I have mentioned in a previous blog post.
Going into class I thought this assignment would be easy but, the whole time I was designing, I felt as though my design was too simple. Every time I would look at other people’s computer screens I would see such intricate designs. When I looked at the brand, I was designing for though their logo was so simple and I knew from experience that Family Legacy wouldn’t want something over the top. So, I kept the design clean, sleek and simple which is something I believe Family Legacy embodies. I think that was the purpose of the assignment, though, to learn to not over design something in such a small space and know what feel and look the brand you’re working for wants. I learned that simplicity in a business card is essential and to only put the most relevant information on a card from this assignment. Along the way, I forgot how to do certain things in InDesign, but with the help of a fellow classmate and Croom I figured it out. I also realized how important it was to keep in mind all the elements of typography l because that can make or break a business card design.  I feel proud of what I created, and I am excited to keep improving my skills. I can’t wait to see what is in store for next week!

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Picture of me with my 10 girls in Zambia at Camp LIFE a Family Legacy ministry.

business casual

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This week, we began our first design: a business card.
Over the weekend, we were to look up competitors, aspirations, logos, color schemes, etc. for a company of our choice, so that we could understand the brand before making the design. For this project, I chose Carnival Corporation (Carnival Cruise Line).
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Photo from CruiseLnd.

Going in to Tuesday’s class, I was confident in my understanding of Carnival Corporation’s corporate culture, colors, themes, wants, needs, competitors and more. However, I quickly realized that although I knew all of these details, I did not brainstorm the layout of my business card before actually beginning to do it in class. This caused me to spend a lot of time thinking and a lot less doing. To be honest, I expected Croom to walk us through the process, giving us tips and suggestions as we go. This was wishful thinking. The business card was the first opportunity for us to independently work on InDesign and discover different tools, which quickly made it feel like a free for all.
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How I felt when beginning to make my business card. Photo from Long Beach Real Estate.

The first 20 minutes of class, I had to remind myself to be patient and keep trying. After a couple of minutes, though, I actually found that I knew more than I thought I did. On Tuesday, I only got to finish the front of my business card, but I was very proud of how it looked. Shout out to Croom for teaching me the Clipping Path and gradient feather tools, because those two seemed to be the reason the front of my design came together.

Between Tuesday and Thursday, I brainstormed for awhile about the back of my business card. I put my ideas to life, and here is my final creation:

I feel that I’ve accurately used Carnival Corporation’s color schemes, logos, simplicity and typography, and I’m happy with the way my business card turned out. My creativity is nowhere near its peak, but the business card design project forced me to put my foot in the door. I can’t wait for our next project!

OOPS I did it AGAIN

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     I had to get a Brittney Spears lyrics in there….. Just kidding. Seriously though, I messed up with class AGAIN! Especially with PR Publications. This class is probably the easiest class to pass and I messed up! All we have to do is show and do our homework and work hard. How hard is it to do your best? It shouldn’t be very hard, but I’m human so all will be righted and okay I suppose. So this past week I totally forgot to write my blog (this blog I am writing now is that blog). I also apparently didn’t turn in my first week’s blog, which I totally did, but in result my professor didn’t count the assignment. I hope he makes an exception but if he doesn’t, I suppose I understand; it is my fault after all. 
   Let’s move on to what I learned this past week. Publications was really pretty fun. We have started to get into the new program InDesign which is extremely complicated and had me wanting to pull my hair out. I also discovered my laptop will not download InDesign. I discovered this while in class with everyone around me already working on their assignment. Needless to say, I had a mini panic-attack. Luckily for me, a student wasn’t there so I hopped on her computer and worked on it.  I actually ended up having to sell my old laptop and buy a new one. Anyways, InDesign is super cool other than not being compatible with my laptop. It is honestly very similar to photoshop but for designing stuff like advertisements and business cards.  

Do you see how many buttons there are? We definitely didn’t even learn a fraction of what those buttons mean. However, we did learn a lot of shortcuts which I don’t remember whatsoever. 
          If you would like to try out InDesign for yourself they do have a trial! Heres the link 

​https://helpx.adobe.com/mobile-apps/how-to/comp-to-magazine-cover.html?sdid=KKQLP&kw=semgeneric&mv=search&s_kwcid=AL!3085!3!155829415335!e!!g!!indesign&ef_id=VxbXKQAABIxvmJs@:20170207173617:s

Building Bo’s Brand

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First off, I love that I can call this homework. My first task in my social media marketing class was to create a social media profile for a person, place or thing that would otherwise not have one; thus, I have (quite eagerly) embarked upon the journey to createFacebookandInstagramaccounts for my stunningly adorable English Bulldog, Bo.
I have to say, Bo’s Instagram is my favorite. This (not-so) little guy’s personality is best portrayed via picture or video. However, this assignment focused mostly on the portrayal of a brand through Facebook. That said, I wanted to give a little background to my thought-process for “Branding Bo.”
Bo’s Background
-The dog loves football. No, seriously. We put the TV on ESPN when we leave the house. Call us crazy pet owners (because we most definitely are) but we know our dog loves football. He actually watches the games. It’s crazy.
– Bo is a major homebody. While he has never met a stranger, he doesn’t like to leave home. He loves his family and he loves his bed, that much is for sure.
– Naps. I really don’t need to elaborate much on this one, other than to note that this dog spends about 90% of his existence in REM sleep.
– He is a stereotypical English Bulldog. He doesn’t run, he walks. Distance is never his preference. He is the epitome of gassy. He snores. Loudly. He is extremely loyal and loving.
– Lastly, this is one happy-go-lucky dog. He is just happy to have people around him, in his home, scratching his back.
Background to Branding
After thinking about those major facts, I realized they most likely would not translate well into a brand. If I had to personify this dog, he would be a jolly, overweight middle-aged man. Now, since my dog is not Santa Claus nor is he particularly well-known outside of my family and circle of friends, this presents a problem on the branding side.
As a PR professional, I ALWAYS air on the side of the authentic. I don’t want to stray too far from the authenticity of Bo’s personality, but I do want to add emphasis to its really relatable aspects. Thus, I introspected a bit and realized:
– I have grown to greatly appreciate naps in college.
– And free food.
-And light-hearted and (at times) self-deprecating humor.
I have also come to assume an appreciation of such things is almost universal. So I tried to hone in on these fundamentally relatable high points.
Brand Basics
Profile picture, cover photo and Bo’s very own community napping event– all of these cover the basics of Bo’s brand.
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(Profile Basics)
Boosting the Brand: Content
Bo’s brand includes articles about his favorite things: food, naps and football (seriously, he’s such a middle-aged man at heart…)
Also, Bo would be a man of few words. Thus, his text posts are short and sweet and generally accompanied with a multimedia element.
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Boosting the Brand: Photo Album
Like I mentioned earlier, I think Bo’s personality is best portrayed through pictures. Bo has a bit of a rebellious streak (one I think he’s slightly proud of), so I decided to make it a “thing,” so to speak.
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Brand Hypotheticals
Because I opted to do a Facebook page over a Facebook profile, there are a few facts missing on his page:
1. Favorite Quote: “Home is wherever I’m with you.”
2. Favorite Music: Songs about home and family, with a little pop-country thrown in there (courtesy of my dad’s influence)
3. Favorite Movies: Unbroken (the dog legitimately watched the entire movie with me and my brother) and the Notebook (because you have to admit, the dog is a softie at heart)
4. Facebook Group: Cowboy’s Fan Group. I think due to our family’s love for the Dallas Cowboys, our dogs have inherited a love for the Dallas Cowboys. Bo actually watches the games, so I am going to go out on a limb and assume Facebook him would be an active participant in their fan club.
5. Relationship status: “Sorry ladies, but I am already in a committed relationship with long, luxurious naps.” AKA single.
Conclusion
Bo’s brand was one I greatly enjoyed building. It helps that he is a genuinely simple guy and I had a lot of photos to beef up his profile. Overall, his brand was fairly easy to build, which I can partially attribute to how obsessed I am with my Bully.
If anything, this showed me just how important it is to know your brand. I know my dog like the back of my hand, so it made this assignment quite enjoyable to complete. All in all, having a cohesive understanding of a brand is essential to building an effective social media profile.

First Business

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    As soon as I was able to drive I wanted a job so I could do the adult thing and do whatever I wanted with the money I earned. It seemed that no matter where I went I needed more experience. But, wait, how is a sixteen year old who has never had a job supposed to get experience if no one will hire them? You open a business and become a good interviewer.
     My mother, being the business making machine that she is, helped me create a small business of my own. It had no name but it was about selling ice cream. In the summer I would go to Crest, buy dry ice (which of course I lied about my age to get it), buy novelty ice cream and put it in a cooler to sell. I made different routes for the car dealerships that I would sell to door to door. I did this for two summers before I actually got my first job. 
       I learned that no matter what your situation is, only you can fix it. I needed/wanted money and the only person that was going to get it was me whether I got hired somewhere or not I was still responsible.

Learning Things in College About Not College Stuff

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​ I came into PR Publications completely late and totally freaking out because I had no idea if I would be able to join the class or not. We were learning about the thinking process of making movies and categorizing them into different stages. Personally, I still don’t get it but I did take note of a few things so that maybe I’ll be able to understand later and not lose that knowledge. The Professor had us write down on sticky notes the methods of what the people in the video clip we watched about the creation of Inside-Out. Then he had us go put the sticky notes under each category: empathize,  define, ideate, prototype, test. I think that he was trying to establish a thinking process of how to write a publication in the future to aid in it being successful. This method is used also in advertisement. However the difference between advertisement and publications is  advertisement is paid for and not controlled. Publications is paid for but is controlled. I was supposed to post about what we learned on tuesday however I was not there on tuesday. I did, however, learn that school in fact did start on tuesday and that I should double and triple check when school starts next semester.

Here is a link to what we learned. I’m not sure if it’s the exact link we watched but I read the post and it’s essentially what we learned, I think.
 ​http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/making-inside-emotions-didnt-make-848249