Is This Real Life?

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           Were you ever told when you were a kid, “Just wait until you get into the real world”? As I go through my second week of college I have mixed feelings about wether or not I am in the real world. My professors are actually really nice this semester and it seems like I might catch a break and make decent grades. On the other hand, I am starting my new business and it has stressed me out I am pretty shocked I don’t have a full head of gray hairs. 

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              As far as my major’s class this semester, PR Publications, I can honestly say it was fairly interesting. Tuesday the Professor went about explaining how cool images are created.  This image, for example, looks like it was created starting with a white background, and then they added some circles that are bleeding off the page. They use color contrast and different types of fonts and font sizes to guide the eye to what they are wanting you to look at.  To be honest, I’ve seen hundreds of business cards and advertisements like this and never once thought there was a reason for the design or how the design was created. 

             Thursday we learning about what types of fonts they are and appropriateness to those fonts. You wouldn’t want to put a circus font on the page of a funeral post. Come to think of it, I probably have used plenty of fonts that were totally inappropriate for the situation. This image is a fantastic example of appropriateness, The left side is super goofy looking and it looks like someone might have forged the certificate. The right side has the font of a more appropriate certificate.  


Anyways, that’s pretty much the highlight of my week! Have a great weekend!

The Start of Food

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                  Growing up was slightly different than most kids because my parents did not hide anything and taught me to be independent at a young age. I remember going to school one day in first or second grade and I was starving. Not literally starving but extremely hungry because I didn’t get breakfast that day and I didn’t want what the cafeteria was serving that day. When I got home I was really mad that not one of my parents made breakfast for me but I knew better than to say anything about it. I knew that my parents would laugh and ask why they had to make my breakfast when I was perfectly capable. So from that day on, it was an unspoken rule that if I wanted to eat that day I needed to make my own food. 
                    My parents weren’t being cruel or mean, to them it was just common sense. They never had anything handed to them so why should I? I had to take care of myself. My whole family knew how to cook so it was actually very enjoyable for me to learn to cook.
           I loved to beat my brother at any challenge (because everything was a challenge) including who could cook the best. As we grew older we both became extremely good at cooking but we became good at cooking different things and the challenge switched from my brother to getting others approval. The look on peoples faces when they tasted something I cooked was something I strove towards and still drives me to continue to learn and grow in my culinary talent.   

This Is Me

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             As a child I was also very curious and apparently self absorbed if you dare to look at the pictures I took as a young child (they were all close ups of my face). As I got older I became quite good at taking pictures and very artistic with painting as well. I eventually took my brothers senior pictures and pictures that were auctioned off at my mothers store for people to buy. 

            When I was in 10th grade, my Bible teacher said that if we did the Daniel Diet for ten days then we would receive a three percent raise on our overall grade. Of course I can never turn down a challenge so I did the full ten days without cheating (we were allowed three cheat meals) and loved the whole experience and actually ended up doing it for three months. This diet started out just as a challenge but during those ten days I came to realize exactly how unhealthy and unhappy my body was. Within the ten days I lost ten pounds and the difference was amazing. I also learned how to cook foods that I thought I couldn’t live without (i.e. cheese, bread, meat, sugar, processed food) healthy. While learning all these new eating habits, I also learned how to workout. After about three months of doing this diet I ended up losing about thirty pounds and gaining some much needed muscle and became a testimony to people who wanted to lose weight, eat healthy, and enjoy doing so.

            Even before the 10th grade I was very good at cooking along with the rest of my family when I turned sixteen the first place I applied to was a restaurant called Bellini’s. It was at this restaurant that I learned what real life was like outside of having small kid-like businesses. I learned an unbelievable amount of character qualities that are crucial if you ever want to survive in the real world.

This is my story of how my adult life got started. It was a rude awakening.  

Lessons InDesign, Featuring Fonts!

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    This week in PR publications, we went through a veritable InDesign boot camp. It turned out to be the best way I could have learned the basics of InDesign, and I was relieved by how familiar so many of the tools felt to those in Photoshop.
   Our first day was a catch-all for fundamentals. We learned everything from drawing shapes to inserting and transforming images as part of our efforts to recreate an annual report. Croom worked quickly, but the people around me were kind enough to explain whatever I missed. The most confusing part was honestly just opening the page. I wasn’t at all familiar with the dimensions in the way they were displayed. Oddly, the way those options look on the Creative Cloud I bought look completely different.
​    I’m glad Croom taught us what most of them mean in the class version of InDesign since I won’t get the chance to experiment with the exact same platform at home.
   Day two was all fonts. We were tasked with recreating a newsletter page using both the final image and a cheat sheet with each font’s details on it (i.e. type, size, leading). It got me thinking about setting up my own computer’s font selection by using one of the font downloading websites Croom promoted during our first week. I’ve frequently used dafont in the past, but it could be time to branch out.
​I love this website. It’s going to be difficult to restrain myself from downloading more than I’ll ever use!

Graphic Design 

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Graphic design is a great thing. It allows us to create unique advertisements, fun signs and everything in between. We see graphic design in almost every aspect of our world today and it is so important. However, unless you have had at least 6 months of experience, it seems impossible. The amount of tools, techniques, and hidden tricks that are used when creating anything graphic design is crazy to say the least.  
My first time working with graphic design gave me slight anxiety and a major headache. During our entire lesson I felt like I was one step behind and constantly trying to catch up. Everything my professor said seemed like a foreign language, and I’m sure I kept a confused look on my face for the entire hour. During my public relation publications class, our assignment was simple; take an image, break it down, and construct a replicate version. This seems like a piece of cake, until you actually try it. Very basic graphic design pieces begin with just plain rectangles and columns. An example of this is placed directly to the right. The rectangles are moved, resized, and colored to make each design unique to fit the client’s expectations. Titles, images, and other information is added to give the design character and create something truly original. There are so many small details that can be added to make each piece perfect. Font sizes and styles are two that can impact the overall quality of the design. When choosing font styles, always be sure that is it readable and that it all matches. When choosing font sizes, make sure the title is the largest piece and the subtitle, or following information, is the second largest. If the design contains any type of quote, putting it in a different size font, with a skinnier or bolder style will allow it to stand out and create some dimension on the page. All of these aspects are some that make graphic design so incredible, as well as difficult. 
I am eager to gain more knowledge and experience in the graphic design world. Clearly I am not a professional, but I can learn. In fact, I’ve only been in class for two days and I have already come so far. Graphic design is important, and it is such an avid tool in public relations. Having the skills to create an idea and design it to become something extravagant is something that I am confident in accomplishing, even though it is challenging.  

More examples of awesome graphic design pieces are in the link below. 


GEtting into design

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 toBefore beginning this course I was pretty nervous about what to expect because it had been a long time since I had worked with any design software. Once we got into InDesign on Tuesday it felt kinda like riding bike (not that I would know because I can’t) I just picked up where I left off. I always loved designing things for the couple years that I did and I had really missed it. Recreating the annual report cover was a little challenging at first but once I remembered all the tools and what to do with them it got a little bit easier. Even though this piece was already designed and I just recreated it, the process that goes into designing something is a really fun experience. There’s so many different things that you can do and once it all comes together it feels like magic in a way because in the beginning I never thought that I’d get there.
Copying the candy newsletter on Thursday was a lot of fun for me because I love spacing. Some people hate it and aren’t very good at it but I like to think that I’m pretty good at it. Putting together all the different pieces is cool to see it all come together. I know that I still have a lot to learn but I’m really excited to keep learning and to get better. InDesign is challenging and kind of scary but I’m excited to continue learning and working with it. 

Vision vs. Reality

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I love taking personality quizzes. I know it’s kind of weird, but I sincerely enjoy learning about different personalities as well as my own, especially when it comes to leadership.
(Fun fact for any other obsessive-quiz takers: I am anISFJ in the Myers-Briggs personality test, which is by far my favorite online personality quiz.)
This past weekend I attended a leadership conference in Chicago with my sorority’s executive council. In one of our sessions, we took a quiz to identify our leadership personality. The leadership styles were divided into cardinal directions: North denoted action, East represented vision, West stood for analytical and South was empathy.

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I fall into the East category, which means I am vision-oriented. I love to dream big and brainstorm and create a vision for the future. I definitely experienced the “this is so me”moment after I got my results. I mean, it is getting a bit ridiculous how many times I say, “We just need our members to catch the vision of…” or “I’m envisioning…” in my executive council meetings. I can’t deny my obsession with vision.
I truly believe in the power of believing in something greater, striving towards a vision, pushing on towards bigger and better things.
One of the drawbacks of my personality type is dealing with reality when it falls short of my vision. Another is becoming easily frustrated when things don’t pan out they way I envisioned them to…and let me tell you, I have a vision for many things. I have a vision for how conflict should be handled, how people should treat one another, how leaders should lead, how events should be planned, etcetera etcetera.
And oh my lanta, did I run into this issue head-on when working with InDesign this week.
There was a perfect vision for what my design should look like provided to me in the form of an annual report cover I had the task of mimicking. I didn’t even have to create the design, I just had to copy it.
I started clicking away in InDesign, trying to match my work to the model. I couldn’t seem to match colors or angles or font sizes just right, now matter how much I tried. Being the perfectionist I am, it started to bother me more and more as I went along.

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The computer mouse caught the brunt of my anger. I clicked more aggressively as the minutes melted away and my laser-focus grew stronger. The closer I got to having a finished product, the more I realized how many mistakes I’d made. My background was too grey and my shapes weren’t the right size, my text wasn’t aligned correctly… needless to say, this visionary greatly missed her vision.
I sat back in my chair, frustrated, as my professor congratulated us on finishing our first-ever date with InDesign. “It’s like going to the gym, it’s going to take some practice,” he said.
I pushed from my desk and took one more look at my assignment. Yes, it fell short of the expectations I set for myself, but then it hit me: what if I set the wrong expectation?
Instead of expecting my assignment to look perfect after my first ever rendezvous with InDesign, maybe I should have focused on eagerly learning my way around the program. Maybe the assignment had very little to do with the aesthetic, and more to do with the process.
All of this to say, while I was quite frustrated with my “failed” vision, the reality of the situation had very little to do with my original vision at all. It had everything to do with learning the program. And if this is the standard by which my vision should be set, I have to say, I left the class period with a better understanding of the program than when I entered.
For now, it may be ok for this visionary to focus on learning the program rather than perfecting the product. Baby steps. And just a little refocusing of the vision.

Indesign

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​Wikipedia defined Adobe InDesign as publishing software produced by Adobe systems that can create works such as posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, books, etc. Well… let me just say trying to figure out InDesign in class was the most rewarding and stressful experience I have had all week. When I say rewarding I mean I am actually proud that I learned how to make a rectangle and fill it in. I basically am an InDesign pro now…NOT! Let me just visually describe the emotions going on all around me while trying to follow our teacher in creating a freaking rectangle.

​Brittany on my right got so lost and stressed with keeping up that she actually raised her hand and asked where the desktop was. This describes her InDesign experience. 
​Rachel on my left was sitting there smug acting like she knew everything but really it was the calm before the storm. At the end she realized she missed making a sun and coloring a rectangle. Things clearly were moving fast!
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               Before

                  After

​Sierra next to Rachel was absolutely hilarious. All you could hear was huffing and puffing before she blurted out that she never wanted to do this again. Sadly she has to compete a full semester of working with this lovely software. 
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​As for me, I couldn’t really find a specific meme to describe my emotions but this will work! I had InDesign in the bag. Okay not really but I’d like to think I managed pretty well. I enjoyed learning how to use the software and am so sorry that unfortunately I think our teacher was running to the bar after teaching our class. We were so dysfunctional and had the silliest of questions but what are you going to do when messing with a foreign software! 

Once we returned to class Thursday, after getting a day to recover from the brain overload of InDesign, I think we handled practicing making a Newsletter pretty well. Thursday’s class was very much individual playing around on our own with the software and making our own minor mistakes. But don’t worry there were still mental meltdowns from Brittany, huffing and puffing from Sierra and Rachel and I dying laughing at everyone’s frustrations. I think this class is going to be enjoyable to say the least. If anything we are going to walk away with InDesign experience under our belt and knowing for a fact we chose right when not majoring in graphic design.
 
Stay tuned for more PR Pubs blogs and keep up to date with what we are doing in class by following my website!
 
Always with Love,
                  Heather Gilbert 

The Struggles of Learning Adobe In Design

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PictureAn example of what you can do in Adobe In Design. From: http://getintopc.com/softwares/graphic-design/adobe-indesign-cc-9-2-free-download/

This past week was exciting yet overwhelming at the same time. On Tuesday, Croom told us step by step how to recreate a design using Adobe In Design. We had a crash course in everything Adobe In Design in the span of a single class. Adobe In Design was confusing, to say the least, and the last time I ever used an Adobe Program was middle school. It was a reawakening for sure, but I really enjoyed it. There were so many tools to pick from, and I forgot I had to keep choosing the selector tool after finishing with a particular tool, so I was a little slow at the start. I was a deer in headlights for the majority of the class, but all in all my finished design looked pretty similar to what I was supposed to be mimicking. I left class feeling proud of myself for pushing through but mentally I was exhausted and relieved that was my last class of the day. 

On Thursday I came back hoping the day would be a little easier. Thankfully, it was and on the agenda for the day was to learn to work with columns in Adobe In Design. Croom showed us on the big screen how columns worked and how to create a layout for a newsletter or something similar to that. Then for the remainder of class, I was supposed to mimic a newsletter design given to me. There was a guide to what type of font to use and what size font but the rest was up to us. Thursday went by much smoother since I had finally begun to grasp how to use the Adobe program. Within 30 minutes my design was coming together and looking like it belonged with the rest of the newsletter. I had a few hiccups with how to properly align everything, but by the end of class, I finally started feeling comfortable with Adobe In Design. Croom instructed us at the end of class with some homework for the upcoming weekend. First, find a brand or company and do some research on it. Second, create a Pinterest board for competitor analysis and then a mood board for the brand/company. This information is going to be used for our first ever solo design project, creating a business card. I am excited to jump in next week on my own and see if I can create a business card worth using!
Till next week, 
Amanda 


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A photo of me from middle school to help you understand how long ago I used Adobe until this past week. (lol)

Writing effectively

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Writing with clarity means that the meaning of the sentence is clear to the reader and there is no confusion and the sentence is arranged logically.
Bad: She drove back to Tulsa in her car from Norman.
Good: She drove back to Tulsa from Norman in her car. 
Reducing clutter means there are no unnecessary words or phrases in the sentences. 
Bad: All four of the students turned in their papers late.
Good: All of the students turned in their papers late.
Sentence variety means the sentence isn’t monotonous and using a variety of sentence structure. 
Bad: Dr. Thompson will sit on the board of directors for American Airlines. The professor is a former American Airlines employee.
Good: Dr. Thompson, a former American Airlines employee, will sit on the company’s board of directors. 
Sentence emphasis means stressing certain words or phrases based on the importance of them.
Bad: Attorney General Michael Thompson said the serial killer was apprehended after a long police chase Tuesday night.
Good: The serial killer was apprehended after a police chase Tuesday night, the attorney general said.