Basic Tips For Emerging Designers

By: Dylan Lawson

At the end of the day your client has hired you to make their design for them so don’t be afraid to incorporate your own vision.

Design is something that can often be seen everywhere you look; be it phone, billboard, or even a scrap of paper stuck to your car. It’s something that we sometimes hardly think about, yet has been crucial to the success of some of the most powerful organizations on the planet. It’s kinda a big deal, and I’d like to share some simple tips for anyone looking to try their hand at creating a design.

Planning and The Process

So this may seem obvious, but it’s important to know what you want to accomplish in the first place. When starting a project you won’t immediately know every little detail you want to incorporate, so it’s a good idea to start brainstorming what you want to include. Furthermore, it’s imperative that you record every idea you can come up with no matter how small or insignificant, even if it’s just three words on a sticky note. You never know when those three words will be the answer to a huge problem you can no longer solve since you threw away that note and can’t remember what they are anymore! It’s just a bad idea to try and keep everything in your head, Because you can never guarantee you’ll remember it later. 

It’s also important to understand that not everything will, or even should, go to plan. When actually in the moment of putting your plan into action, you may come up with an Idea on the spot or find a limitation you’ll need to work around. It’s very important to be flexible.

Color

In regards to actual design elements, it’s also important to understand the impact color has over people’s perception. Each and every shade will elicit different emotional responses depending on a whole host of circumstances. For example, according to incredibleart.org the color green can evoke a feeling of nature and the environment, or envy and sickness depending where the color is (such as a tree vs. a person “looking a little green”). Similarly the color red can be associated with bravery and passion, yet it can also be negatively linked to fire, blood, and overall danger. 

Hierarchy

Another big aspect of design is hierarchy, the way our eyes are drawn to the piece. As with all art, a design, no matter how complex or simplistic, is composed of different parts. Pieces will always have different levels of importance according to placement, size difference, and even color choice. But regardless it’s always important to control the way information is given to the viewer. Even in cases where you don’t think hierarchy will be a contributing factor, it’s important to look at the hierarchy beyond your design. For example: how does a logo look on packaging as opposed to in a magazine, what about on social media? In almost every case, a design is never solitary and will need to coexist with other elements, so steps should be taken to make sure it is complimented rather than hindered.

Client input

Finally it’s important to consider the circumstances behind the design, specifically whether or not it’s being created for a client. For one, frequent and detailed communication is incredibly important. You are attempting to process something another person is visualizing. Not to mention that different clients will have different levels of understanding over what they want, which can be incredibly precise or imprecise. Consistently staying in contact and receiving feedback is necessary to make sure everyone is on the same page. At the end of the day your client has hired you to make their design for them so don’t be afraid to incorporate your own vision (otherwise they would have done it themselves).

Virtual Workspace Time Management Tips

By: Emma Bumgarner

Your time as a PR pro or pro in training is valuable, so knowing how to spend it wisely is pivotal to success in the field.

As we approach nearly a year since shifting to virtual learning and remote workspaces, I feel it’s important to revisit some time-management tips. Organizing calendars and deadlines with healthy ways to balance the work-home lifestyle is already overwhelming without everything being strictly online. Your time as a PR pro or pro in training is valuable, so knowing how to spend it wisely is pivotal to success in the field. 

Use different calendars for different things

Personally, I find peace of mind in using three different types of calendars for planning; each with a slightly different purpose. Writing in a planner is a good way to keep track of daily tasks and small deadlines. Something I’ve made a habit of doing is prioritizing and listing my to-do’s and crossing them out once I’ve completed them to help make the list less daunting to look at. When it comes to weekly meetings, I turn to virtual calendars. Having a weekly layout of all my different meetings on the screen in front of me helps me to visualize my free time slots where I know I can step away from the screen. With virtual calendars, you can label the meeting type, sync the calendar between your phone and laptop, and set up notifications to remind you of your meeting starting. The final calendar I use is a wall calendar that holds birthdays, fun events and big deadlines. With this calendar hanging right by my desk, I’m able to visually see upcoming events. Giving different types of calendars different purposes ensures that I’m keeping up-to-date and prioritizing my time better. 

Start early to boost daily productivity

One way to optimize day-to-day productivity is by preparing the night before to get ahead the next day. Waking up early isn’t always easy, especially not when going from home to work or class now involves getting up out of bed and walking a few steps to your desk. Getting to bed at a reasonable time and setting a nighttime routine to help wind-down mentally and physically prepares the body for sleep, which can result in a more restful sleep and ease with awakening in the morning. An article by Meredith L. Eaton on MuckRack brings attention to limiting or turning off notifications and shutting down some social or communication platforms to help you step away. While the article itself focuses on general organizational tips for the PR pro, I like to incorporate these tips at the end of my day so I don’t feel mentally overloaded the next morning. Another thing I make a point of doing is closing all of my tabs at the end of the night and silencing my phone. When you’re able to sleep well, you can wake up easier and give yourself the needed time to get situated and feel fully prepared for the day. 

Communicate to keep yourself on track

It’s no secret that those in the PR field are often multitasking or have various tasks to attend to. Checking in with peers or colleagues about projects, simple tasks and big, hard deadlines is essential to keeping others and yourself on track. Even just sending yourself or your team a few deadline reminders can help keep the tasks at hand fresh in your mind so that you’re more likely to remember to do them. Setting deadline reminders that pop-up as notifications on your phone is also a great way to communicate to-do’s to yourself. Communicating to yourself and to others what you’ll be working on is a way to hold yourself accountable to the work you need to complete. 

5 Creative Tools to Help You Design

By Jessie Chen

As we continue to experience the pandemic,it’s important to sharpen our tools. We all have tools that help us get through the day, as a mechanic has their tools, teachers with their educational tools, and we designers have tools too! So let’s go ahead and immerse ourselves into some design tools, because it may help you solve a creative issue. 

“Buckle up and get ready to make digital art at the speed of thought!” – Rob Hooks

Some of you may think these tools are common and you already know them, but we all can learn something new everyday. Now these are some varying tools that may not apply to everyone, but they all have their purpose in the creative field. 

  1. Adobe Capture

Adobe Capture is a great tool. It is a mobile application that is on both Android 

and Apple stores. It’s a really great tool for any designer, whether you’re 

freelancing or with an agency. Some perks are that it can help you figure out what kind of font your client is using, but they might not know off the top of their head. Or, the client didn’t receive it from a previous request from another designer, who didn’t include extra details like fonts and color. Adobe Capture brings up the most closely related font or that exact font. Another helpful tool within this application is the color option. Simply move your camera to your desired spot and it’ll pick out colors that work well together from your camera shot. You can move around the camera, as you move you’ll see at the top of your device the colors change accordingly. It will not set the color until you hit the capture button. There are many other functions within this application, but these are the ones that I found most helpful.

  1. Adobe Color

Adobe Color is a browser application that is really simple to use. You pick a color that you want to use as your main color out of the many options like analogous, monochromatic, or complementary colors, and many more. It’s great for creating your color palettes or helps if you are having trouble creating them! 

  1. Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay.com

These websites are great to use if you happen to need a photo of professional 

quality and is non-copyright! They’re fabulous websites to check out if you’re in need of filler photos or free photo usage with your designs or websites or layouts.

  1. Behance

Behance is another great website. You can showcase your work or see other 

people’s work. It’s also a place to gain inspiration from in case you happen to hit a mental block and can’t seem to get any concepts out. Additionally, you can join in on conversations on other people’s creative work. Behance is a really a place of opportunity to explore and talk to other designers as well!

  1. Dafont

This website is resourceful for getting fonts or trying out new fonts for your 

creative projects! This site includes both paid and free fonts available for download. You can filter them out to get only free fonts, or however you want to filter out the font selections.

These are some of the creative tools that can help a lot in your projects. Check out the links below to find more tools to use. Also, these tools are optional, you don’t need all of them to be successful!

The 20 best graphic design tools recommended by top digital artists – 99designs

Harry Potter unarmed is a great wizard. But armed with his phoenix feathered holly wood wand, he’s the G.O.A.T! You too may be a very talented graphic designer or digital artist, but by using the right tools the force of your talent can be multiplied exponentially.

15 Tools And Apps Every Graphic Designer Should Have In 2020

The modern era is ruled by technology and internet. Content too has changed form and ideas are now mostly shared through short graphic clips and compelling logo designs. No wonder then that the graphic designer are having a field day. Their job has definitely become more complicated with the customer’s becoming choosier and the competition on all time high.

Resume Tips for Remote Work

By Breanna Cota

This year has thrown many challenges our way, but it’s important to make sure you are keeping your resume updated and relevant for new job opportunities. Many students and recent graduates are learning how to juggle the new challenges of both learning and working. 

Students are attending most of their courses online and are learning from the many challenges remote learning causes. Individuals who are job hunting will find many careers have moved to the digital space and they must revamp their resume to show how they have accommodated to new challenges

Many tasks you perform at home help keep you organized and productive, yet they are not listed on resumes. Here are some tips from FlexJobs.com to help showcase how you’re working from home and learning from home. These experiences can help build your resume as well as create a competitive advantage. 

1.Show self reliance and motivation

Working on your own helps show potential employers that you are self sufficient and can be relied on. When you are at home, you may be able to take charge of creating your own schedule, but for some a set Monday-Friday schedule is the way to go. Whichever way works best for you, listing your experience with working on tasks on your own can be seen as a strength for future opportunities.  

2. List programs you are familiar with

Many meetings and events are now held in a virtual space. Listing your familiarity with programs such as Zoom, Google Chat and Dropbox shows that you are capable of working in collaborations from remote locations.

Other programs such as Microsoft Office or Google Suite should also be listed. Many of these office programs are used in physical offices as well as by teams remotely. Showing you have prior experience with such programs gives you an advantage.

3. No WFH experience?

If you have no WFH experience, there are still plenty of opportunities to show how prior tasks and challenges were met in a communal work environment. You can let employers know how you will use your prior knowledge and experience to tackle the challenge of working from home.

Many students have spent countless hours working with programs such as Excel, Word or Google Suite. Showcasing how you used Excel to track projects or Google Suite to communicate with team members on projects can let employers know you have strong communication skills.

Betsy Adrews of FlexJobs states, “While remote-friendly employers will consider an applicant that has never worked remotely before, it’s always a good idea for an applicant that has remote experience to highlight this in their resume as it may ‘give them a leg up.” 

The most difficult part of working remotely is being in charge of yourself. Your boss can’t walk around the office and check on your progress if you are working remotely. It is your responsibility to make sure you are organized and efficient. Without good communication skills and self efficiency, working from a remote location could be a challenge. 

Behind every strong resume is a potential employee eager and ready to rise to the challenge. It is important to make sure your resume is always up to date and filled with relevant information. It’s recommended that you revisit and refresh your resume twice a year.

Optimizing Your Productivity While Working From Home

By Jamie Kolnes

Ways to make the best use of your time while working remotely.

As we adjust to our new normal amidst the pandemic, our routines need to change. Just because many aspects of our lives feel out of control, doesn’t mean we settle for complete chaos. There are routines and tricks available, in order to condition ourselves into being as productive as possible. Your time is valuable, arguably now more than ever, and creating plans to optimize it can help with a multitude of different aspects in your life. For example, beaumont.org says time management can help with stress management, better sleep, and even being more productive at work. Here are some tips that can help you get started right away. 

Tip 1: Stay Organized

Staying organized is huge when it comes to optimizing your time in a day. When you are organized, there is less time spent thinking about the tasks and objects hanging over you. Knowing where vital objects to your work day are saves precious time and helps tasks get completed at a much faster rate. Your whole day becomes more efficient when you don’t have to spend time finding everyday objects. A great way to maintain an organized state is to hold yourself accountable. Put incentives in place, whether it’s a break to spend time on a hobby, or a treat for yourself. 

Tip 2: Rest Is Important

Making sure that you are well rested is vital to having a productive day at work. In fact, The National Sleep Foundation claims that “Making sleep a priority may advance your career.” There are so many benefits to prioritizing giving your body the rest it needs. Especially when you can argue that it’s good for your work performance. In fact, sleep deprivation causes American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity. Sleep can help you put your best foot forward during the day, and not spend more time on tasks than needed. It’ll also help prevent burnout, and help you enjoy your job more. Having ample rest also improves things like your memory, decision making skills, and, of course, focus.

Tip 3: Create a Schedule

Procrastination is a huge silent killer of productivity. Even though it’s easy to get away with, it leaves you feeling unaccomplished and stressed. Completing tasks early gives you a sense of accomplishment and drives you to do the same in the future. Creating a schedule for yourself each day, with a to-do list of tasks to get done helps. Rank your tasks from most urgent and important to least. It’ll seem less daunting to make the last few tasks “optional.”   Even if only the most important tasks get completed that day, you’ll still feel accomplished. 

Tip 4: Create a Work Specific Zone

Creating a work specific zone has been a common tip for a lot of us working from home. Just like having a specific place in our homes to eat and sleep, having one to stay focused and “work-minded,” helps with productivity and therefore optimizes the time you have in a day. If you do not have an entire room to dedicate to your work, pick an area of a room, and set it up for each day. Keeping all of your work gear in the same area makes for an easy commute and set up. Pick a quiet, well-lit area that is easy to walk away from a few times a day. Try not to do things like take naps or eat meals at the same place you work. 

I hope you’re able to take a few tips away today and implement them into your own life. They might help you even more than you think. For more useful blogs about working in the public relations field, visit the Tehama Group Communications website.

Keeping your customers at the forefront during a brand refresh

By Claire Bang

Consumers are being constantly bombarded with ads and messaging from all sorts of companies. Giving your brand a refresh can make your company stand out amongst the competition and allows you to truly hone in on what you want your customers to consider about your company. Full rebrands are a lengthy process whereas a brand refresh only requires some market research and competitor analysis.

According to Stephen Peate from Fabrik “a good brand refresh strategy requires less risk than a total overhaul, and it can still get you the results you need.”

Keep in mind that every brand is different and although some may still require an entire brand overhaul, most brands can benefit from some minor changes to help them provide better content. Here are some simple changes your company can make to rejuvenate your brand without losing loyal customers.

  • Test out new marketing channels

Many brands have experienced success in reaching new markets by using one of the latest social media hits, TikTok. Brands like the U.S. Open Tennis Championships have reached new target markets than they’ve previously had before like millennials and Generation Z. Using sounds that are trending on the app has landed their videos on many users “For You” pages numerous times.

Small businesses have seen positive results on the app as well. Both users who were laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic and existing small companies have used the platform to create business for themselves during these tough times. People like The Carpet Repair Guy have created entertaining content drawing in large followings who just watch him repair people’s carpets in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  • Stop requiring your customer service team to use copy-and-paste responses

When being responded to by a customer service team, template-based messages are preferred by consumers over copy-and-paste responses. After all, if your customer is talking to a human, it should feel like they’re talking to a human and not a robot. 

The human connection that a consumer makes with a representative of a company can really determine how they view the company, and how they talk about the company to others as well. 

When I used to chat with other customers online for the company I used to work for, they really emphasized the importance of being yourself. They encouraged the use of emojis and exclamation points, when they were appropriate, and I believe many customers seemed more comfortable during conversations because of that.

  • Give your online visuals a refresh

You can easily put your company at the forefront by making small changes to the visuals that customers see, bringing them up-to-date with new trends.

Start by deleting anything that is outdated and a customer would have no reason to look at anymore (psst… it’s taking up valuable space on your page). Content like old Instagram highlights and website content that is irrelevant to where your brand is now is included in this.

Your brand can also change specific design elements and colors in your visuals unless those elements accurately define your company to your consumers. Keep in mind that even well known companies have taken simpler, modern approaches with elements, like their logo, that define their company and have had immense success with it.

  • Refine your messaging 

It’s ultimately a company’s choice to decide where they want to stand on relevant issues occurring nationally and there is one company I immediately think of who has made that loud and clear. Ben and Jerry’s.

Ben and Jerry’s had publicly stated over four years ago their stance in regard to the Black Lives Matter movement. To this very moment, they have continued showing their support on so many topics both on their Instagram and with its own dedicated “values” tab on their website.

Make sure the audience you desire is the audience you are actually targeting with the content you put out through these marketing channels. The messaging, voice and tone all decide who the audience is that you reach and how you reach them.

There are so many resources out there that provide even more insightful information on ways to continue improving your brand and its image. Remember that these changes don’t need to happen all at once and can be slowly integrated into the existing work that your brand does. 

At the end of the day, every decision should begin and end with what the customer thinks and wants. Brands exist for the customer and any work done should be based on customer or research feedback otherwise companies are only changing for themselves.

Learning to stay authentic with your consumers during a pandemic

By Grace Gilani

As the world and everyone in it begins to adjust to this “new normal,” brands need to remember exactly who their audience is, and how they can stay true to not only themselves as a company,  but to their loyal customers. A brand that they have without a doubt worked tirelessly on to build from the beginning.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, audiences alike have seen brands stray from their key messages, oftentimes to stay up on current issues, and continue to be relevant. An example of this would be a clothing brand posting an article or a blog post about new technological advances concerning the pandemic. Not only does this brand have no business discussing this topic, but their audience also is not there to hear their opinion on technology; they’re there to hear about the latest fashions. 

“When people are presented with a reduced choice of service, previous experience comes into play and we tend to stay loyal to brands that gave us value in the past,” Alun Davies said.

During these unprecedented times, it is understandable that some companies may be struggling with how they can help or get involved. Here are some tips as to how your brand can use the right voice and messaging to keep their audiences engaged and safe through the pandemic.

1.     Create a relationship with your consumers 

I bet we can all relate to coming in contact with a robot when your intention was to talk to a live human being, and this hasn’t changed during COVID 19. Consumers want to feel like they can have a relationship with customer service, a human voice, that they relate to and be friendly with.  

By doing this, this cuts out the anxiety a customer might be feeling regarding the pandemic. More often than not, your consumers will notice that your brand values their business more than another company who simply dealt with them at their convenience.

2. Stay true to yourself and your brand 

It’s no shock that this pandemic has lasted much longer than anyone had originally anticipated, and therefore, brands will need to stick to what they know, because it’s worked so far! 

Obviously moving marketing and everything else online was stressful, however, you shouldn’t have to change what your brand represents or who it is tailored towards just to stay relevant. You want your customers to really feel like they know what your brand is about, and that through thick and thin, you will be the one thing in their life that stays consistent. 

A perfect example of straying from your core message and confusing your audience is the commercial for Progressive Insurance that was released during the beginning of the pandemic. The ad featured all the well-known Progressive characters, but the brand had strayed from their core message. If you were unaware who Flo and Jamie were, you would have no idea that they were trying to sell you car insurance. This is a perfect example because Progressive simply wanted to catch the trend before everyone else. 

My advice is, don’t change who you are just because of this “new normal.” Eventually, this time we have spent cooped up in our homes will have ended, and at the end of the day, do you want to change your marketing strategy AGAIN to fit back into the normal (post-COVID) world? 

3. Learn together with your customers

Finally, and most importantly, come together with your audience to hear what they have to say. You could think a campaign you put together was the best you’ve ever made, when some of your consumers could feel as if you missed the mark. I believe that in this predominantly digital age it is normal to get feedback, and adjust your strategy like that. You can let your audience have a say while still upholding your beliefs and values. 

The Future of Storytelling

By: Sydney Olivia

The internet is bursting with an overload of constant facts and information. It can make it hard to cut through all of the white noise and grasp the attention of readers. However, a good story can make a person stop skimming and start reading. 

As Clarissa Schearer, author of Axia Public Relations weekly newsletter says, “Storytelling is the future.”

The importance of feature writing can not be overstated in the field of journalism and public relations. It gives you the ability to become a storyteller and content creator while pushing a message for your client. A good feature can increase the client’s visibility while also creating a new audience. While feature writing can be an intimidating, and often daunting task for any journalist or public relations professional, it is important to keep a few tips in mind. 

Tip 1: The five W’s 

Some feature stories require a ton of research, but it’s easy to cover the essentials in five simple questions. These questions will give you the baseline of your story.

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why? 

Tip 2: Have an angle 

Following the five W’s alone won’t be what draws readers to your article. It’s up to you to determine a strong angle that you want to take on your feature article. An interesting angle can make all of the difference in capturing the audiences’ attention and converting casual skimmers into invested readers. And from invested readers into potential customers for your client.

Tip 3: Find what feature is best for you

People are often surprised that there is no one correct way to write a feature story. There are, in fact, many ways to write a feature story. Here is a look at the top five most common features. 

  • The Profile – an in-depth look at a person or profile 
  • The News Feature – a hard news subject told in feature style 
  • The Trend Story – a light-hearted take on what is trending in popular culture
  • The Spot Feature – a short story that offers a different perspective to a larger story 
  • The Live-In – a detailed story about a place and the people who live or work in the surrounding area 

Tip 4: What to add and what to leave 

While gathering information for your story, it’s hard to fight back the urge to add every detail, including your opinion or bias. Write the facts. Be specific and give detail. Leave your opinion behind. If you are unsure of whether or not to add something to your story, think about how it adds to the story. If it helps the story and the reader understand, then put it in. If it doesn’t benefit the story in any way, leave it out. It’s best to give readers a factual story, not an opinionated story. 

Tip 5: Use stronger verbs 

If you’re writing for a client, you might run into a maximum word count. It is important to pay attention to the adjectives and verbs you’re using. Try to utilize strong verbs rather than a lot of adjectives. “Show, don’t tell.” Verbs show the story and give the reader a better image. 

Anyone can write a feature. As long as you ask the five W’s, you’ll get the baseline of any story. It’s up to you to tell the story well. Stick to these simple tips and you’ll write a phenomenal story! 

Why color is extremely important in media

How does color theory actually affect how we view media?

Photo by Gradienta on Unsplash

By: Jordyn Moore

Red equals danger, blue equals sadness and yellow equals happiness. These basic concepts that everyone has grown up to understand can easily be directed towards multiple types of media. Whether it’s for a physical print or for digital content, color alone shapes how we feel about what we’re seeing and graphic designers, directors, etc., can exploit that natural feeling to suit their project. It may seem funny to think that these simple concepts could actually influence how we perceive a movie scene or ideas on a flyer, but there are some studies that prove this. For example, you may assimilate blue with sadness because of seeing a cold blue-toned rainy day or because of the resemblance of tears.

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What to do when you can’t generate creativity?

If you find yourself sitting in front of a blank project. Stop what you’re doing, walk away and clear your mind.

Photo by  Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

By: Maria Ramirez

Do you ever find yourself sitting in front of a blank doc, canvas, editing timeline or any other piece of work that forces your brain to think creatively? Whether you’re a writer, artist, video creator or any other professional this has happened to you. You sit down and try to start but nothing comes to mind. I’ve been in that position too many times. It’s not a good feeling, especially if it’s something you’ve put off and a deadline is approaching. Okay, so you look at the clock and do the math. “This project is due at midnight, it’s 1:45 p.m. right now. If I start at 2 p.m. then I can be done by 4 p.m., but if I take a 30-minute break I’ll be done by 4:30 p.m.” I do this every time which causes me more stress, my mind begins to spiral and I can’t focus. The term for this feeling is creative/writer’s block. If you catch yourself in a knot like me, stop what you’re doing and take a step back.

Continue reading “What to do when you can’t generate creativity?”