Professional Portrait

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Hi, my name is Amanda, and I am from right outside of Houston, Texas. I have lived in a suburb called Cypress my whole life. I am a sophomore, and I am majoring in PR (obviously) and minoring in Nonprofit.

What excites and interests me about Public Relations is there are so many different elements to it. It isn’t just writing PR releases, but it’s also designing business cards and so much more. I like that not every day will be the same and that I have the opportunity to interact with many different types of people. I think my favorite things about PR is the many options I can choose from for what field I would like to go into or, even work at a PR firm and deal with different types of clients all the time.

​What motivates me is my love for writing and making people happy from it. Writing is in my everyday life whether it’s for a class or even journaling. Writing is a way I can help relieve stress and reflect on my day. I am so excited to improve my writing skills and learn more about PR in this class!


Minimalist

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The class lesson that stood out most to me this week was the topic of minimalism. You don’t always have to fill the entire space.
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Sometimes, less is more. Especially in graphic design. (Photo via Becoming Minimalist)

January 26th, 2017

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Breaking down Design 

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 I have never really put much thought into the details and descriptions of design. I would look at a cool poster and think, “wow, cool poster.” I guess never having experience in those types of creations limits my ability to analyze exactly how they are made. So many different aspects go into these designs that are plastered all over the world, and once you take a moment to breakdown each piece of the picture, it all makes a little more sense on how it was done. 

Design values like simplicity, clarity, and decluttering helps to focus the eye one the main idea, eliminating the stuff that is less important. Creating a clean and less confusing design will make the viewer feel relaxed while looking at it instead of overwhelmed. I, for example, am not a fan of busy, crazy, and packed-full designs. I look at it and immediately think, “there is a lot going on here.” I will always choose the design that is unique, creative, and of course, simple. These design values are not the only pieces that are incorporated when coming up with these intricate designs. There are for basic principles to think about before starting your graphic design piece: contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity. Now, everyone always suggests that in order to retain information, you should create an acronym for the words you are needing to know. These four principles might just be my favorite because their acronym spells crap. This might come off as a little immature, but hey, if you’re learning the material then who cares? Each of these principles makes a huge difference in the quality and compatibility of the designs. Contrast will create an interest on the page and aid organization. Contrast is one that doesn’t require much experience to figure out. I mean it’s pretty simple, don’t put red words on an orange background; Don’t put a white title over a very bright picture. Contrast can make a really big impact on how easy of a read something may be. Repetition is one of my favorites of the four. I love neatness and order and all things organization, and repetition allows those elements to happen. It includes equal formatting and spacing, bullets, and bold fonts to identify which items are most important. Alignment can be tricky at times, but can make all the difference between “good” and “great.” I can’t tell you how many times I have been working on some type of project and finding the right alignment stalls my progress because I can’t get the words to line up perfectly.

Above, you will see a picture example of the proper alignment (right) versus the not proper alignment (left). I am indeed a perfectionist, this can be a good thing, or a bad thing. As far as design is concerned, I believe it’s a pretty good thing. I want things to look even and right, if they are not, I must fix it until there are, no matter the amount of time or effort it will take. I spend a great amount of energy working with alignment, because it is so important and it makes a big effect on the structure. Lastly is proximity, in other words, the space. Proximity can turn something that is tight and squished into something that is spread out and so much easier to read. I catch myself using proximity in everyday things, like note taking. My notes are usually spaced out so much that I end up using twice the amount of paper as everyone else. It’s okay though, because I can actually read my notes, unlike many whose efforts to record information are useless because the writing is practically one big hieroglyphic. 

When examining a design, all of these factors and principles work to make a creation something unforgettable. These are not all the elements added to the mix of perfect designing, but in my opinion, they are a good place to start. Full blood images, aspect ratio, and the rule of thirds are a few more that contribute. For some examples of different types of creative graphic design, visit the link placed below listed “examples.” These specific examples really emphasize the typographic style of design, which mostly focuses on the fonts, letter, shapes, and certain imagery that relates. Having proper contrast, visual colorful interests, creative metaphoric ideas, and trendy or eye-catching fonts is what makes these designs stand out in comparison to something with less personality. In addition to the examples I have given below, there is also a picture I found on campus that holds many of the characteristics that a proper typography design contains. In this poster, there are a variety of fonts that provide uniqueness and creativity, while still keeping all parts readable. There are colors present, contrasting pictures that allow for certain parts to stand out, and there is also proper alignment and structure, so the eye naturally follows the words. 

After studying these attributes of quality design, I can better appreciate the time and thought that goes into everything graphic design. Now, when I walk past that cool poster, my thought won’t just be that it’s a cool poster, I can examine the shapes, fonts, patterns, and really begin to breakdown each piece to find the beauty in how it all fits together.


Simply Simplicity

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“Don’t over-design.” Easy enough, right?
In an effort to be completely and utterly honest, I have to admit: simplicity is something I am inherently drawn to, but truly struggle with putting into practice. I tend to get swept up in the clutter of life, be it busyness or in hoarding little mementos throughout the years.
It’s pretty safe to say that a touch of minimalism would go a long way in my life… and quite honestly, my closet.
For whatever reason, I have been toying with the idea of simplicity this week. Naturally, I took to my favorite place on the inter-web (*cough*Pinterest) to find simple designs and inspiration for my future dream home.
The designs I’m drawn to are quite classic. The more I got to thinking about it, the more I began to realize there is a reason a rustic wooden table with flowers and dishes appeals to our eye: simplicity. There is a quaintness about it, something that says, “I may not be anything fancy, but I am beautiful.” It’s not pretentious, nor is it dull. It is just simple and pure.

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I love dreaming up and designing spaces. I have learned that when designing rooms, especially smaller ones like my dorm room or my current three-girl room in the sorority house, less is most definitely more.
Funnily enough, my roommates and I set out to keep it simple when we designed Room 9. “Less is more” was our mantra, our war cry against clutter, our rally to be minimalistic.
But as you would expect, here we are in January, our closets bursting at the seams, newly built storage units are tucked into the already cramped corners of our little room and we are wondering how on earth we got here– to this god-forsaken land of meaningless clutter.
We lost touch with simplicity.
This all got me to thinking about how easy it is to lose sight of the simple things in life. For example, I trade simple socialization for sophisticated screens and I sacrifice a clutter-free week for a rigid schedule filled with meetings and busyness and deadlines.  Simplicity slips through my fingertips and out of my sight like sand through an hourglass.

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On the other hand, simplicity, as an aesthetic, seems to be as easy as subway tile and a pale pastel wall or a blush doorway in an ivory mudroom.These images are easy for me to wrap my brain around and fawn over. They are visually pleasing despite their inherent lack of excess.
But why is it so hard for me to translate this concept from my Pinterest board into practice?
For me, I am a natural “add-er”; I may start in a place of simplicity, but things (both literal and figurative) will eventually creep in and crowd the once “white space” of minimalism. It may be a slow fade from simplicity to chaos, but nevertheless, I tend to exchange simplicity for disorder.
With hopes to continue to grow and learn and draw ever closer to ideals of simplicity, I want to make an addendum to my New Year’s Resolutions (which I think is still fair game, given it’s still January) and my addendum would be this:
Declutter. Figuratively and literally. Let go of the messiness and embrace the “less” in design and in life. If I can somehow manage to make it once step closer to embracing simplicity, the design of life (and otherwise) will perhaps be more beautiful.
But mostly, I should probably practice what I pin.
Image Sources
Table Image:Spanish Vogue 
Kitchen Image:French by Design Blog

Blog 2.1: Writing Effectively

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Photo courtesy of http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/keep-calm-and-be-literate-4/.


​Writing with Clarity

  • Poor: The paper was under the table and it had her name on it.
  • Better: The paper that had her name on it was under the table.

​Reducing Clutter

  • Poor: A great number of times, she feels like she’s lost.
  • Better: Frequently, she feels lost.

​Sentence Variety

  • Poor: I want to go to class, but I am too sick to get up. If I feel better next week, then I will go to class.
  • Better: I am too sick to go to class today. Next week, if I’m better, I will go to class. 

​Sentence Emphasis

  • Poor: The newspaper said that on January 24, 2017, there was a car crash near campus around 1 p.m. that killed two people.
  • Better: Two people were killed today in a car crash near campus. The event happened at 1 p.m.

Professional Portrait 

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Hello, my name is Grace Jonas, also known as Gracie. I am a junior, majoring in public relations with a minor in enterprise studies. After I graduate next spring, I plan to pursue a career in event planning. I’m from a small town just a few minutes south of campus called Noble, where I have lived my whole life. 
The thing that excites me the most about Public Relations is the vast variety of options I have in this field. I can choose so many professions and accomplish so much with this degree. Whichever lifestyle I chose, whether it be the fast-paced corporations of New York, or something small and local like an event center, my choices are far from limited. 
I am motivated by multiple things. One being my family, who has given endless support in my journey through college. I want to prove to them that I am capable of great things, and most importantly, I want them to be proud of who I am becoming. Another is the goal I have to be financially stable. I do not want to spend my days struggling to pay bills, or questioning how I will feed my family. By finishing school and succeeding in my field of study, I will hopefully leave those worries behind. 
Writing has always been an active hobby of mine. Starting in fourth grade, my mother insisted I join a public speaking group, where I would research, write, and memorize a speech of my choosing. I ended up continuing to compete in public speaking contests until I was a junior in high school. I wrote a plethora of speeches in those years, and I feel as though it helped me progress into the writer I am today. I still have a lot to learn, but thanks to those speeches, I had the opportunity to begin my writing experiences at a young age. On top of the speeches, writing has always came in my favor when compared to math or science. My brain does not do math or science. Writing a paper or a discussion post was always something I excelled at compared to my other assignments. 
There are many reasons why this degree is suitable for me. Through this writing course, I hope to advance in my skills, and work to move one step closer to achieving my goals. 

Thinking Inside Out

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​In class this week we learned about the foundation of PR Pubs. Originally I thought PR Publications was going to be writing press releases, campaigns and original work and literally pushing “Save As” or “Publish.” Yes. I actually thought this class was going to be that easy. Clearly my brain was still on winter break. PR Pubs, which I refer to the class throughout this blog, is the controlled media designed for publics. It’s Photoshop, IMovie and much more that we will use too create publications. There is a 5-step process to the foundation we must learn before engaging further in the course. 
​Empathize, Define, Ideation, Prototype and Test are the 5 processes our thinking, brainstorming and planning will go through before the test/implementation phase of our own work. These steps do not have to go in order either. Too visualize how they can be out of order and all over the place is looking how the children’s movie “Inside Out” was created. Too imagine how we are supposed to be thinking about publishing in PR we watched the strategies and tactics that the writers of the animated movie went through in the short movie “The Story within the Story.” The Inside Out children’s movie is about our 5 core emotions that the Director Pete organized from observing his own daughter. Collaboration, Sketch boards, sticky notes, meetings and so much more were used to reach the final product of the movie. The movie is absolutely adorable and to be honest when I was younger I thought there were little people in your bodies who controlled everything. It was like my childhood imagination coming to life! It is a great representation of how an idea can become reality. 
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The directors and animation team worked backwards in their brainstorming and script. Fun fact, they actually had such a hard time creating the character Joy and her journey until casting Amy Poehler as the voice for Joy. Once they had Joy’s voice they started re-writing everything. They didn’t follow the direct order pictured above, but each piece of this process was utilized in their planning and final test of the movie. The whole concept of interchanging these parts to create a final product is what the foundation of PR Pubs is all about and can be completed. These five steps are our foundation and we must use each one whether that is in order or not. It’s funny. I use all of these steps in writing papers but for sure not in order. I tend to jump around. I think this information is going to be useful in the future with my career in Public Relations and something everyone should implement into their planning process.
Always with Love,
            Heather Gilbert

Relax…Breathe

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The University of Oklahoma is one of the larger Universities. Finding a spot of relief away from the crowds and too decompress, other than the comfort of your bed, is essential to keeping your sanity in college. My favorite place on campus is the benches outside of either Carpenter Hall or Jacobson Hall. These few benches that face Boyd St. is where I can relax for the time being and find tranquility amongst my busy schedule. I will either do homework, facetime my family, read a chapter in one of the books I’ve probably been trying to finish since high school and wind down before getting back to the craziness.
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Carpenter Hall

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Jacobson Hall

These benches have become one of my favorite places on campus for this reason. Looking up I can see the hustle and bustle of the cars on Boyd racing to where they need to go. People gossiping and conversing over coffee at the campus corner Starbucks. Students racing to grab lunch before or after class, all while I am at peace watching the lives of others pass by. The benches also offer some amusement when the squirrels try to steal the food you’re munching on and sometimes can come dangerously close. The wide-open space reminds me that we are just a small portion of the world and there is so much going on around us. The silence and peacefulness that overcomes me also allows me to slow down and really take in my environment and surroundings. I think we all move so fast I this life and can miss the simplest things.
College can be rough. Finding your place can be hard. But once you find your favorite spot on campus you can find a sense of comfort and ease here. Something to look forward too and that brings you a sense of calm in your busy life.

Norman Weekend Getaways

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Although I love the atmosphere of living on a college campus, I enjoy having a change of scenery every once in awhile. Taking an adventurous trip can be refreshing after weeks of studying. Norman is in the middle of Oklahoma, and its location provides numerous opportunities to explore the state. Here are a few interesting attractions to discover under an hour and a half away from Norman.

Turner Falls Park

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Picture courtesy of https://www.wunderground.com/wximage/wherry/11.

Heading south from Norman, Turner Falls Park is right off of Interstate 35. Turner Falls Park is an extremely popular attraction in Oklahoma, because it holds Oklahoma’s largest waterfall. That being said, you can swim in the base of the waterfall, hike, or just simply go sightseeing. Turner Falls Park is 58 minutes from the University of Oklahoma, so seeing it would be a simple road trip and day getaway.​ To find out more about Turner Falls, read about it here.

Arbuckle Mountains Wilderness Park

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Picture from http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/oklahoma/animal-lovers-ok/.

Right across from the Turner Falls Park is the Arbuckle Mountains Wilderness Park in Davis, Oklahoma. It is also about an hour away from Norman. On the weekends, the Arbuckle Mountains Wilderness Park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday) for a ‘Safari Road Drive Thru.’ Additional exhibits and attractions are available throughout the year, even in the winter season. Check out more information on their website.

SkyDance Bridge

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Picture courtesy of http://www.uncoveringoklahoma.com/oklahomacity/skydancebridge/.

Oklahoma City is about 30 minutes from Norman and has a number of attractions. Besides seeing Oklahoma City’s Bricktown, shopping, restaurants and nightlife, anyone can walk on the Oklahoma City SkyDance Bridge. According to the SkyDance website, the bridge goes over Interstate 40 and is a symbol of Oklahoma’s state bird, the scissortail flycatcher. You can request the bridge to be lit up online. Here’s how to find it.

Wichita Mountains

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Picture courtesy of http://internetbrothers.org/2015/05/29/elk-mountain-trail-wichita-mountains-national-wildlife-refuge/.

The Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge is located in Lawton, Oklahoma. Its location is 1 hour and 18 minutes away from Norman. Pictured is the Elk Trail, though this refuge offers numerous trails to hike and see the nature of the Wichita Mountains. Whether you’re looking to be active or just sit and enjoy the scenery, the Wichita Mountains provide a refreshing atmosphere. For more information, click here. 

If you’re in need of a quick getaway trip, Norman is in the middle of a few great opportunities to sightsee. What better way to take time off than visiting Oklahoma’s beautiful attractions?

Creating Creativity

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This week in PR Publications, we were given a very simple first assignment: watch the movie “Inside Out.” Although I was thankful for such a simple assignment, I questioned the movie’s importance and relevance to PR Publications. I quickly found out how much I could learn from the movie simply by discussing the process of its creation.
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Pictured are the internal emotion characters from Inside Out. From left to right: fear, anger, joy, disgust and sadness. (Picture from https://wall.alphacoders.com/by_sub_category.php?id=229527).

Inside Out is a unique (and adorable) movie that takes place mostly inside of the main character’s mind. After watching the movie individually, as a class we watched “The Story Behind the Story,” which explains how the original idea for the film changed and transformed numerous times before deciding on its final version. It turns out the back story of this movie has sparked interests of many. This trial-and-error process depicts the steps of the brainstorming and design processes: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test.
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The five steps in the design process challenge and build off of one another. (Picture courtesy of http://myvisualbrief.com/design-thinking/).

Getting to see how each of these steps work together and build off of each other is interesting, and it helps me understand that true creativity takes work, and time. I am excited to see how PR Publications will challenge my creativity this semester. Additionally, I’m excited to put my creative skills to work with Adobe programs, since I have little to no experience with them thus far. I loved how this class started out, and I can’t wait to create creative work to add to my online portfolio!