The Final Blog

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To start off, I apologize for the blinding neon pink — when I uploaded my Summary of Learning jpgs the color distorted. In reality, the color is a subdued peach.

My Summary of Learning direct mailer is inspired by propaganda influenced visuals (graphics and graffiti). The visual I chose is from one of my favorite artists Barry McGee, a San Francisco-based artist who specializes in this style of art. An underlying message in propaganda is to assemble and recruit for a movement, institution or idea. I thought what better way to recruit future pr pubs students than with a direct mailer influenced by propaganda design?

I’ve had tons of fun designing in this class. The structure worked really well with my schedule, and I enjoyed that I was able to work on my own time (it’s my last semester so it’s been hectic). The blogging took time to get used to because I hadn’t done that before. I had to overcome the initial fear that anyone could see what I was posting, but it was beneficial for me to write out my plans and reflections for each project instead of storing it all in my brain. Overall, the most growth I made was when I was designing projects for an audience I wasn’t used to designing for in a format I was wasn’t used to designing. In this class we were encouraged to really think and understand who would be consuming our designs, and that is something I think will transfer over to my post-grad life.

It’s been a fun ride in pr pubs. And best of all, I now have a few more skills to add to my skill set.

Website action plan

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Throughout this course I’ve been using Medium to post my blogs, but I now have a Squarespace website (finally!) and will be using that to showcase my work for potential employers.

Right now my website is organized into three sections: portfolio, resume and about. Under the portfolio button on my navigation bar, I plan on displaying my design work, the Sooner yearbook 2016–2017 edition and my feature stories. I probably won’t have a blogging feature. I personally don’t enjoy blogging, and although I understand the benefits, it’s something I won’t keep up with.

My about page lacks a picture of my face, and once I get over my camera shyness that should complete my website.

Summary of Learning brainstorm

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For our final design project (summary of learning), I’m choosing to design a direct mailer recruiting future students to public relations publications.

As I stated in my earlier blog post, direct mailers is really where I turned a corner in this class. I want to try this concept again, but I’m happy that I’ll have more creative freedom here. I’ll continue using Photoshop, as I’ve grown quite a liking to it. I want to play with altering pictures because it’s a feature of Photoshop we didn’t get into. Propaganda posters and cartoons I think look very neat and fit the recruiting element this direct mailer is about. Hopefully I can find a good quality image to use — that will be my biggest challenge.

Overall, I’m excited to give direct mailers another shot.

Wrapping it all up

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After reading all my blog posts throughout the semester, I see the growth that I’ve made through my design projects. I was ambitious at the beginning and was looking forward to being able to design more. This was true, but I also hadn’t realized what else I would have to focus on — audience.

I see most of my growth in how I approach audiences. Although my focus is in journalism and not public relations, I’ve still had to think of audience and how to shape content to fit and feed that audience. But in this class, I’ve gotten the chance to push myself in serving an audience that I normally wouldn’t have. So most of my growth has been trying to push aside my personal preferences and think about the audience I’m serving.

This challenge for me was most prevalent in the direct mailer design project. This is where I believe I turned a corner because it was an audience I wasn’t used to serving and wouldn’t have chosen on my own.

One project that I take the most pride in is the newsletter. I was really able to play around and be creative with layout. It’s a design project I’ll proudly display on my website.

I’ve strengthened old skills and developed new ones, and just on that statement I’d say this class was a success.

Unit 5.2: Reflection

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This week we were asked to finish our newsletter and turn in our final draft. And, I must say, it was a challenge. What I found most challenging about the final stages of drafting was finding a layout for the story that had a jump onto another page. Fitting two stories onto one page is something that takes trial and error — quite like a puzzle.

Although challenging, I do enjoy layout design the most. Overall, I think I accurately represented Whole Foods and their style in this newsletter.

Reflection: Unit 5.1

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This week we were asked to begin developing a newsletter for a Fortune 500 company. I chose to focus on Whole Foods because I’m aware of their mission and feel they have strong stories to tell.

I was thrilled to use InDesign again, and when I started designing the newsletter I felt like I was almost designing a spread for the yearbook (where I work). I have a comfort with this type of design and am glad that I can utilize my skills for this design project. Visuals will be tricky. Stock pictures are hit or miss and the pictures Whole Foods has on their website are of bad quality when reused. I do want visuals and color to drive the newsletter, so I’ll have to continue sifting through those pictures.

Unit 4.1: Reflection

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This week we were asked to dig into Canva and create social media designs for our chosen company/organization. I decided to go with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University (I’m hoping to land an internship there, so fingers crossed).

This was my first time using Canva. I had always heard students talking about the tool but never had reason to try it out. To be frank, I wasn’t enthused about using this tool. I couldn’t possibly think of a reason that Canva would provide me with an experience I could get from Adobe products. I was wrong.

Canva is a great tool, especially for beginning designers, to gain inspiration for their designs. It’s easy and simple. I probably wouldn’t have created some of those designs if I hadn’t opened Canva up. I’m pleased with these designs because I find they’re not overloaded with information, and I think that’s something to steer away from when designing for social media. But, the designs use bright primary colors, and I’m a fan of bright primary colors.

Reflection: 3.3

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As I neared toward the final stage of my direct mailers, Photoshop became more familiar (I think I’ll always favor InDesign, but Photoshop does offer more tools). I felt stuck with layouts, not knowing how to switch things up, and having a set of chosen images, textures, logos, etc. was a challenge. But, I enjoyed getting to play with design elements I may not have touched previously.

I’m realizing that I’m starting to push past my bubble of comfort with design, but I definitely have more strides to take this semester. Growth doesn’t happen over night, I realize that, but I do hope that with enough patience and practice I can break that bubble.