The obstacles of my life

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.

Originally posted at Taylor Jurica- Gaylord Journalism Student

Info-graphic Assignment

Background:

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.

Description:

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:

interesting-infographics-cover-1

 

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.

Level of difficulty:

3 STARS

Originally posted at Taylor Jurica- Gaylord Journalism Student

Newsletter Assignment

This assignment was unique because the size of it gave me a chance to really increase the level of content that I could include. While in the mailer assignment you could only put a few line or so to get your point across, this assignment gave the freedom to really fill it up with content.

I decided that my newsletter would be for OU baseball, the team that I work with most directly. It made sense to me to aim the newsletter at fans that are not close to Norman. I wanted this to be aimed at people who may have a hard time getting to games and feeling involved but also make it something that a casual fan could pick up and enjoy.

PAGE 1

NEWSLETTER_FINISHED

The title includes the acronym WAFO which is the mantra of the new coaching staff and is just everywhere in the baseball program. It stands for We Are Family Omaha and you can’t be around the program without seeing that. I made it a hashtag because they use that on all their tweets and I was hoping to drive traffic to the accounts of the coaches and administrators. The line under that is the motto of the team you could say and suggests the team attitude that the team wants to have.

I included the team’s schedule/results because that is really the whole point of the newsletter and I started two of my articles on the front page.

I used the thin grey line at the top to seperate the title and the body and filled it with some of the programs accomplishments. OU is all about tradition and the more you mention it the  better.

PAGE 2

 

NEWSLETTER_FINISHED2

This page feature the award winners for the past month. These are significant awards and I wanted to showcase them and really highlight the best players her. I had some trouble getting the right pictures so that they would look good with the text over them but I was happy with the way they turned out. Offsetting the players in the frame rather than centering them helped to really make the text pop.

I again went with OU’s yearbook solid text for my headlines. It is important to keep that consistent and since that font is used on everything, even on the signs at the stadiums, it really is part of the brand and makes things look recognizable as being OU.

PAGE 3

NEWSLETTER_FINISHED3

This page has all my jump articles on it and I like the way I organized the text. I was also happy with how my pull quote turned out. I think putting it here makes sense because there is so much text the reader would be temped not to read it so drawing them in with this made sense to me.

The cutout was a good change from all the other square pictures and worked pretty well here. I wish I had put some kind of shadow on it though in hindsight.

PAGE 4

NEWSLETTER_FINISHED4

 

The last page I saved for my feature story. This was a longer story that I thought was better suited to have its own page. I included my contact info on thus page and added a couple of elements that attempt to drive traffic to soonersports.com

 

This assignment was really easy once I made my wire frame. that was by far the hardest part. From there it was pretty much just plugging things in.

I have noticed that I have gotten a lot better and faster at basic things like changing tools. I know a TON of shortcuts now and I can really work a lot faster.

Originally posted at Wes Moody PR Publications

Mailer Assignment

For this assignment we needed to design a direct mail piece that OU recruitment services would send to a specific group.

The first one I did was a mailer designed to be sent to students who are considering graduate school. This would include people who are in an entry level job and people who are recent graduates. They would be mostly white and aged 21-24. This would include both men and women.GradMailerFront GradMailerBack (1)

I started by doing some research on OU’s Grad College. They use the arch in the picture as part of their logo, so when I found that picture in the assets folder I based my whole design on that. I turned the card to portrait so that the picture would fit better and I utilized the fade in the sky color to further draw the eye “higher” and to create depth. I put a slight fade on the words at the top to match.

The header comes from a quote from the front page of the grad college website. I also included that quote on the back. I thought the tag line paired perfectly with the picture. I made sure to include the grad college logo under that and then of course I put the ou logo in the upper right. All about the brand with OU.

I created a pop out box to put text in. I used the color of the sky so that the box wouldn’t look too out of place. The text in the box is designed to make the public think about returning to school. The big picture idea is to drive traffic to the site. This is a big decision and this generation doesn’t make that decision based on a piece of mail but hopefully we could get them to go to the site, which has comprehensive info on grad school.

The back included the quote that I based the whole thing on and then the URL again to drive traffic to the site. I separated the mail portion by using the blue color from the front box. That let me leverage part of the back to help get the message across.

 

The second one I did was aimed at  National Merit Scholars. OU is very focused on NMS. They even talk about them during football games. That says a lot.

Mailer2back2 Mailer2

I wanted the front to have a similar effect to my first project. I chose this picture because I thought that is was an iconic image of OU and its brand and it achieved that feeling of depth and going higher from bottom to top.

The text is the stat that OU puts out every chance it gets about NMS and being ranked #1. It is obvious that OU loves that stat and wants everyone to know about it. I then put “find out why” I wanted to link that stat with a reason for future students to care about it. I also put the URL for the same reason as the first mailer. I wanted them to go to the site so that they could get all the info that you can’t fit on a mailer.

On the back I used the same technique as the first mailer. Then I used the most important benefits that might convince a NMS to choose OU over other schools. These were the key points on OU’s NMS site so I used them on the mailer.

I struggled with the text on the front. I used the OU font for the URL and the tag line so that they would stand out. I  used a simple sariff font for the stat because that seemed to be what OU uses on its sites. But then on the back I wanted an easy to read sans sariff that matched the clean look of the icons. I know that means I have 3 different fonts but I think they look good. The front font is the weakest but I tried a ton and never could find one that looked decent.

 

Originally posted at Wes Moody PR Publications

Direct Mailers

This was a very interesting and helpful project when it comes to distinguishing publics and targeting the material toward each specific one.

I thought the front of the mailer should be simple and simply show a large high quality image of the university. Each has the logo on the from so that the recipient is sure of where the mail is coming from. I tried to show contrast where I could by applying gradients where possible and highlighting information by placing it inside a box outlined with a border. For the mailer that was directed toward children of alumni I wanted to come up with a clever phrase that would show that yes they are going to the same school as their parents but they are making their own path. I came up with “Continue the tradition, but make your own memories”

I liked the idea of student profiles so I used this on both and think it gives the prospective student a student face to put on the university.  Finding backgrounds that worked and fit well was challenging but I ended on just a simple background for the alumni one with a notebook one as well to create some contrast. I like the background for the Gaylord College one being an old newspaper. I made sure to create as much repetition as possible by putting the OU logo in as many places as possible and using fonts consistently throughout both.

Overall it was a very good learning experience and I believe I have improved from the first project by being able to create repetition but also have the right amount of contrast in certain places. Stakeholder Matrix

Direct Mailer #1 front Direct mailor #1 back Direct Mailer #2 Front Direct Mailer #2 back

Originally posted at Spenser Hicks's Blog

Emotional Engagement in Design

Designing for Emotion chapter 4 covers the topic of emotional engagement. This is when the designer evokes emotion in the user in order to keep their attention, and keep them as a returning user. The book uses the example of surprise. It talks about how when you hear your favorite song on the radio it is much more enjoyable than if you play the song yourself. That is because the element of surprise amplifies our emotional response, thus making our experience better. It’s this idea of emotional amplification that the chapter discusses as a way to engage your audience.

I found this chapter very intriguing, and am glad that the book continues to explore different aspects of emotional design. My favorite examples used for this chapter was once again MailChimp. The chapter describes how the MailChimp mascot was made to be a fun extra for users. He was not meant to explain when there was an error with the site, or tell you how to operate the site. His main purpose was to add a human element to MailChimp by making jokes or complementing the user. This design aspect had an emotional impact on the users, which in return made them loyal.

This chapter was really just a big “ahh haa” moment for me because it explained the way we think about design and what appeals to us as humans the most. It made me reflect on what designs I like the most and why. I realized I do use sites that have a more human element to them, or even an element of surprise that makes me invested. Overall, I agree with the chapter that if we are emotionally engaged in the site, we will enjoy are experience more and become loyal users.

Originally posted at OU Public Relations Publications

Designing For Emotion – Chapter 4

Chapter 4: Emotional Engagement

One of the first things the author mentions is that there are some instances that create lasting impressions. Good or bad. I had never really thought about was the impact that surprise has on our emotions. I could relate to the author when he mentioned the hearing-a-song-on-the-radio example, because I always put my iPod on shuffle when I’m listening to it, but I never thought about the “surprise” impact. Nor did I consider using that same appeal when designing.

The next things the author brings up is that the anticipation is important as well. Although, I agree that this creates a sense of excitement, I’m not sure I understand how the author means to use it in design for websites…maybe Twitter could pull it off, but it’s also a one of the most popular website of the time. That’s the only thing I would disagree with.

I like that the author describes the natural reactions to these surprises and how to use them to the designers advantage without “deceiving” or “tricking” the viewer. Something I also liked was–later on–when the author suggests saying “you may” instead of “you must”. I know from experience that if people are forced to change, they will react negatively.

I also thought it was comforting to hear that you won’t always get it right the first couple times, but that it’s ok. “When you hit your mark, the benefits are big.”

Originally posted at Brought to you by Brooke

Exploring our Subconscious

Chapter 2 of Designing for Emotion was a little difficult for me to grasp. It is hard to understand how our subconscious works especially when books try to tell us. Although I found the topic to be interesting I am not 100 percent sold on the fact that I like “baby faces” or that “I can find human presence in abstract objects.” Let me explain.

In Chapter 2, the author discusses how design can be used to target human emotion through different cognitive approaches.

First, it talks about Darwin’s theory in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animal. This theory states that all humans have a common emotional lexicon. It states that we are born with emotions rather than emotions being a learned behavior.

The chapter then continues to discuss the “baby-face bias.” This states that we can overlook shortcomings and in return have positive emotions when we the face of a baby. It states that the proportions of a baby’s face (i.e. large eyes, small nose, etc.) are recognized in our brains as special. The author believes that this bias is what drove organizations like Twitter, Brizzly, MailChimp, and others to design the way they do. I personally believe that the baby-face bias does not apply to everyone. I for instance do not really like babies or animated designs with over exaggerated features, therefore, these designs do not appeal to me,

The book also discusses how we as humans are accidental narcissists looking for what we know best in everything we observe – ourselves. The author suggests that we are wired to find emotion in human faces. He mentions that we don’t even need a human face to associate human characteristics – we can find them in abstract objects as well. The example he uses includes the golden ratio, which is a mathematic division of proportions found in nature repeatedly, including the human form. It suggests that we subconsciously recognize this golden ration everywhere we go, which is why we find beauty in things such as the Parthenon. This is the other topic of the chapter I was very unsure about. I do appreciate architectural beauty, but I did not believe it was because I was associating it with human characteristics.

Although I am not 100 percent sold on this topic, I do believe it is very interesting and something to consider when designing. I think with more research into how designers actually use these design theories (versus just a few examples in the chapter) I will be able to fully make up my mind about whether I believe they are true or not.

 

 

Originally posted at OU Public Relations Publications

Design Scavenger Hunt

If you read my last post, you know I have recently been learning about emotional design. For our class we have been put on a design scavenger hunt. During this scavenger hunt I will find examples of color, typography, symbols, minimalism, and function and explain some why I chose each.

Color – How does color suggest intent?

Color

 

This purple ribbon represents domestic violence awareness. The use of the color purple makes this an internationally recognized symbol. Purple has now become the color of domestic violence awareness. When people see this ribbon and it’s color they know exactly what is stands for. The same pertains to the pink ribbon and breast cancer awareness.

Typography – Is it more than fonts?

Typography

 

Yes! The Walt Disney “font” is one of the most recognized fonts in the world. The use of this is not just for a font that looks appealing. It is about representing what Disney stands for – fun, excitement, adventure, happily ever after, and being a kid. When you see the Disney font not only do you recognize it right away, but you also have a certain feeling.

Symbols - What are best practices for using symbols to represent objects, things, ideas?

Symbol

 

A perfect example of a well known symbol is the American Red Cross. Not only is this symbol known world wide, but the work the Red Cross does is also internationally known because of this easy to recognize symbol.

Minimalism – How can designers do more with less?

Minimalism

The North Face logo is a great example of minimalism. This logo is located on all of The North Face apparel. It is usually very small on the items yet people pay double what they normally would just for the brand name. This just shows that designer logos are a great example of minimalism.

Function – What are best practices for using symbols to represent objects, things, ideas?

Function

 

This welcome to Norman sign is a great example of design as a function. The purpose of the sign is to let travelers know where they are, which is exactly what it does.

Originally posted at OU Public Relations Publications

Designing for Emotion – Chapter Two

Chapter 2 – Designing for Emotion

This chapter talks about the emotions we have as human beings. It starts off by emphasizing the fact that humans are born with emotions, whereas other traits like language and courtesy are developed over time. The author also explains that human nature is reflected behind every aspect of design.Ch 2
One thing I had never thought about before reading this chapter are the physical traits that draw adults to young babies. “The proportions of a baby’s face–large eyes, small nose, pronounced forehead–are a pattern our brains recognize as very special.” As a designer, this is very helpful to know when creating characters. The author explains that by using the principle of “baby-face bias” when creating a mascot, the designer can create a better connection with the audience.
It was also interesting to learn that the human mind picks up on the golden ratio, even in web design. The only other time I have heard of this concept, was when I took Geometry at 15. I had no idea web designers took it so seriously.
Although the chapter has a lot of interesting information, one thing I disagree with is Donald Norman’s argument that beauty improves cognitive abilities such as creativity. I agree that beauty makes people feel good, but I feel that people think more creatively when presented with an empty canvas… For example, if I see ugly interior decor, I immediately start thinking of ways to make the place seem nicer that would appeal to my taste and personal creativity. If I were to think of ways to arrange an already pretty room, my creativeness would be “blocked” by the beauty and would probably not be able to think of a different arrangement.

Originally posted at Brought to you by Brooke