Public Relations Publications was by far one of the best classes I have taken at the University of Oklahoma. Before my junior year, I felt as though there was still so much I needed to learn for the PR world. As this class is wrapping up, I have realized just how much I have learned and how much I am going to use in the future. There were so many new skills that I learned, especially on InDesign. I have never been taught to use InDesign before and now I feel very comfortable with it. My internship boss told me I would need to know InDesign, and now I know everything about it! I feel as though my eye towards design and color has improved greatly and I can’t wait for my first internship assignment on InDesign to show off my new skills.
This class also pushed me out of my comfort zone, that in the end was extremely rewarding. I have never considered myself to be experienced with new technology, but after working with Photoshop and InDesign, I am much more confident. I learned to specify my target audience which is very important when working in PR. Specifying your target audience and sticking to that plan was difficult for me at first. Especially in the direct mailer assignment. But, I know that this will help me in the future.
I loved having the format of a lab intensive class. There was no time wasted in this class, which I can honestly say isn’t the case in other classes I have taken here at OU. Our professor lectured every once in a while, but the lectures were about important topics that helped us with our assignments. Other than the lectures, we were diligently working on our assignments and making deadlines which is closer to how the real world is going to be. I loved being able to come into a class and get straight to work. I wish more classes at Gaylord could be like this.
The college years have seemed to go by very fast. I find myself stressing about my school work getting harder and harder while also worrying about what the future holds for me. At the same time though, it is an extremely exciting time. Looking back, my journey to the University of Oklahoma was a difficult one full of tough decisions and doubts. It is almost funny to think about the issues I used to stress about while back in high school.
In high school, tennis was my life. I started playing at the age of eight. I grew up playing multiple sports, but tennis was always my favorite. Once I reached high school, I was sure that tennis was going to be in my future for a very long time. My goal was to play D1 college tennis. I would leave high school early every day around 1:00 to drive to Dallas and train from about 2:00-7:00 p.m. On most weekends, I was traveling all around Texas for tournaments. Once every month, there was a tournament in some other state across the nation. My social life was my tennis life. I was dedicated to the sport because I knew in the end it would be worth it to reach my goal and get my college paid for. I got as high as number 4 in the state of Texas.
At the beginning of my senior year, I experienced what I now call an eye opening experience. Back then though, I thought my life was over. Just as I was about to pick the college I wanted to play for, I hurt my back very badly. I herniated the lowest disk in the right side of my back. With this injury, I was never going to be able to play college tennis without being in pain every single day. I realized my goal was never going to be reached and I found myself feeling lost.
Luckily, my brothers girlfriend at the time (now his fiancé) introduced me to the University of Oklahoma. I had never even considered OU because I knew nothing about it. She took me on a tour halfway through my senior year and I fell in love. It was so much prettier than the schools I had seen previously. I never considered myself to be a sorority girl, but she convinced me to go through rush anyways. I ended up pledging Gamma Phi Beta which was the sorority she was in. I also discovered the club tennis team that I am now President of. It allows me to play tennis for fun without injuring my back any worse.
Now, here I am, almost 4 years later trying to reach goals and stressing about the future again. What I must remember though, is my past, and all of the obstacles I had to take to get here. I must remember that life will create a path for me. This path may not be what I thought it would be, but I know that in the end everything will work out. This is something I will always remember when I am going through stressful times such as finals or internship interviews.
The info-graphic assignment is designed to help the student understand the importance of reaching their target audience through visual appeal. Info-graphics are used to easily relay information to the viewer through charts, graphs, etc. These are easy-to-read images that can portray a large amount of information. These can show an organization’s improvements or past history.
For the assignment, the student will create two info-graphics for an organization of their choice. The information that the student chooses to relay through the image is up to them. The student also needs to think about the specific target audience for whom the info-graphic will be based towards. Info-graphics can be made on Microsoft Word, InDesign or Photoshop. Make sure the image is large enough to see and present to the class later in the semester.
Here is an example of an info-graphic:
Here, one can see that this info-graphic is portraying information through percentages. There is a great use of color in this info-graphic that catches the eye of the audience.
Mailer for the University of Oklahoma directed towards parents sending their students to OU.
Mailer for the University of Oklahoma directed towards high school seniors highly considering OU.
For the mailer directed towards parents, I wanted to keep it simple. The front contains a beautiful picture of the OU library. At the top, I wanted the words to look like they were almost a part of the clouds. I also wanted the OU logo at the bottom to fit into the overall design without taking away from the picture. On the back, I have a personal note towards the parents who are sending their kids off to OU. I know when my parents were sending me off, they constantly wanted to be reassured that I would be safe. I included a website on the back side where parents can visit and gain all the information they need. Again, I didn’t want to make the design too complex so that parents would not be overwhelmed. I used white space on the back of the mailer to give it an organized look.
For the mailer directed towards high school seniors, I added a little more design concepts along with more color. I want these high school seniors to be excited about attending OU. I gave a step by step process on the front of the mailer about applying to OU. I also included steps on what to do after you’ve been accepted because this mailer is directed towards the students who have OU very high on their college list. I wanted to make the Twitter and Facebook logos very large because this age group uses these two social media sites often.
This assignment was different than the first for many reasons. We had to narrow down our audiences and make them more specific. We didn’t have as much space as we had for assignment one to fill with a lot of text. We had to give a large amount of information in a small mailer while also trying not to making anything too complex. I feel as though I made great strides in improving my Indeisgn skills. I moved a lot quicker because I knew how to incorporate text, color and pictures. I also learned how to crop on Photoshop which made designing the mailers a lot easier as well.
At the beginning of the chapter it discusses taking risks with who you are working for. It used the example of the CoffeeCup easter egg hunt on their website. This potentially could have been something that was a huge fail. But, the company took the risk and gained a huge profit from it. Customers spent hours on the website participating in this easter egg hunt. Their website page views grew a great amount and the company’s social media gained a profit too. Something simple and fun like this can make a huge difference to a company.
Although I disagree that many bosses in today’s society will never allow certain changes to websites, it is always a good idea to try. Reading this book gave me great ideas for the future when approaching people above me about new ideas. I can even reference this book when in discussion.
Reading this book was very eye-opening. I am more confident when it comes to my own design ideas because this book allowed me to understand that design takes time. Not everybody can produce the perfect design in the first try. It gave great examples of design concepts that have worked out great for certain companies and I plan on taking this advice with me as I move past my college days.
When dealing with systems shutting down on customers, this can create major impatience among users. The Flickr example at the beginning of the chapter was great. I always get SO frustrated when a site is down that I really need to get on. Flickr’s idea to keep their customers distracted with a contest was a genius solution. I have never thought about directing the users mind’s some place else.
Flickr also updated their customers as much as they could about the maintenance that was being done. Although I’m sure this calmed down some of the customers, I would argue that many of the customers were still very upset about the site being shut down. No matter how many updates or distractions you put into place, there will always be those users who will not be satisfied until they can get back to what they were working on.
Although this chapter was short, it made me think about certain aspects of design that I have never thought about before. When customers have felt betrayed or disappointed in one of your products, design is something that can reel the users back into trust. The chapter uses the example of gaining back trust with another person. You gain back trust through gut feelings.
In the first part of this chapter, it discusses how design can win most customers over. I have never thought about how much a design can really persuade somebody. The example that the book used was Mint. They were a free service, so, that automatically makes people skeptical. But, the organization and light colors of their web page is what drew people in. The design also used shadowing to attract to the customer’s eye. When I think about the decisions that I make about something, design does have a huge impact on whether I am going with the product or not.
The book also discusses the process of using Dropbox. It explains that many people find the signing up process difficult because you have to download it onto your computer and incorporate your phone as well. I personally do not find this difficult or time consuming at all. I found Dropbox extremely easy to use from the start. But, this could also be because of the generation I have come from. I am used to having to download things and incorporate my phone as well. The generation that my parents have come from might find it a little more difficult.
Reading this chapter really made me think about design in a whole new way. It is all about making the customer feel comfortable and happy. In times of trouble, the customer should always be able to rely on something like a website to find exactly what they need.
The target audience for my business card and letterhead were the regular spectators that attend the Byron Nelson Classic Championship golf tournament each year. These are the people that really care about the sport of golf and want as many updates as possible about the tournament and who they need to contact with any questions.
When I worked at this golf tournament, I noticed that most of the spectators were of an older age. I kept this in mind when I was designing my letterhead and business card. I knew that I didn’t need to make them too wild. Golf is a very preppy sport and needs to be kept very professional. I also knew that the older audience would appreciate a simple business card along with an easy to read letterhead. I kept the theme of the white, light blue and lime green on both projects. I didn’t want to add any more colors because this would take away from the main tournament colors. I used repetition by putting the image of the Byron Nelson man on the side of the letterhead as well. There is a lot of white space on both assignments which creates organization for the reader. Nothing about either of the assignments is too busy.
I learned a lot while doing this assignment. Although business cards and letterheads seem to be very simple, I realized that there is still a lot of thought that goes into play when creating them. It became a little difficult when I realized that I had to change logos halfway through the assignment. But, I was able to finish in time with two well-organized finished products. Learning how to work in-design was difficult at times but I am glad that I know how to work it now.
I have never thought about how much a surprise can trigger’s somebody’s engagement. The first example used in the chapter was hearing your favorite song on the radio. I get so excited when my favorite song comes on, because it is a nice surprise. It is so much more exciting than when you play it on your own when listening to your iPod. This chapter uses Photojojo as another great example of surprise that engages customers. I will be the first to admit that I would certainly get hooked into buying more items because of the surprise features on their website. Anything with surprise and excitement will immediately catch my attention.
When the chapter discusses the difference between Twitter’s layout changes and Facebook’s there was one thing I slightly disagreed with. Although I do believe people like to have the option to change layouts on their own, it works quicker to force it upon people like Facebook does. Yes, some people will react negatively to it, but they will eventually get used to it. With Twitter, there may be some people who never work up the courage to change layouts, and they are forever behind with updates.
This chapter was one of my favorites so far. I loved the examples it gave on how to attract the customer and make them feel special. I have never thought about using surprise, delight and anticipation in such strategic ways. As a PR professional, giving one’s brand a personality is so important. This is something I will always remember once I get out of college and starting putting these strategies into play.