Top 10 Things I Learned in PR Publications!

2 12 2009

This semester, there are a multitude of new things that I have learned thanks to Professor Barbara Nixon. I have gathered together a list of the things I found most important throughout the semester.


Top 10 Things I Learned in PR Practicum

2 12 2009


29 11 2009

In Chapter 7 of the textbook Strategic Publications: Designing for Target Publics by LInda P. Morton, the author goes through the in’s and out’s of designing a brochure.

1.)  “The first step is to make format decisions including paper size, number and type of folds.” Decide in what way you will distribute your brochure. If you want to send it through the mail then you will need to make sure it meets mailing regulation sizes. A typical business envelope is 9 1/2 by 4 1/4 inches, so one will need to make sure that the brochure will easily fit inside.

2.)  The second step is to “decide on the number, shape and treatment of panels. Each side of a fold is called a pannel.” The book talks about four different ways you can fold a brochure:

  • The first is called a gate fold.  This is where the inner section is twice as big as the outer two.  As you can see in the picture below, this type of fold opens like a gate.
  • The second type is called a tri-fold.  This is the most commonly used way to fold a brochure.  The right panel will fold over the inside panel, and then the left panel over the right, as show below.  Chances are if you have ever picked up a brochure, this is probably the type you have looked at.
  • The third kind is a french fold.  This is where the paper is folded in fourths and opens up like you would a map.
  • The fourth kind of fold the book talks about is a book fold.  Which is folded in half like a book.

There are a number of other ways to fold a brochure that the book does not talk about.  Here is a link to many other folding options.

3.)  The third step “is to select margin and gutter options and add them to your comprehensives.”  You want even margins on each panel and you will need to make sure the words to not get folded in the panels.  “Allowing an equal margin on each side of folds, results in the gutters between each panel being twice as large.  The following suggestions help to avoid this problem:”

  • “Trim the outside edges of the paper after it’s printed so that doubling outside margins leaves small gutters at folds.”
  • “Treat every other panel as a bleed so that the entire gutter is folded to go with surrounding panels.”
  • “Treat panels that are viewed together as spreads that cross gutters.”

4.)  The fourth step is to determine and prioritize the brochure’s content.  Choose the most important information and place that on the cover panel and work your way down from there.

5.)  The fifth step is to create thumbnails of how you want your brochure to look.  Make sure you make multiple thumbnails so you can choose your best design.  This is almost like doing a pre-rough draft.  You can eliminate some of your biggest design problems by simply laying out your design before you actually start on the brochure itself. Keep in mind the multiple design elements such as :
-Unity- the ability for all itmes in a layout to appear as one visual unit
-Alignment- refers to the layout of items along invisible but easily identified lines.
• “Horizontal alignment places emphasized items of a layout straight from left to right, creating a visual line horizontally on the page.”
• “Vertical alignment places emphasized items of a layout straight fromt op to bottom, creating a visual line vertically on the page.”
• “Diagonal alignment places emphasized items of a layout from a high position on one side to a ow position on the other side, creating a visual line diagonally on the page/”
• “Curved alignment place emphasized items of a layout in a curved pattern often outlining curved art. This creates a visual curved line on the page.”
-Proximity- refers to unifying items by placing them physically close on a page.
-Harmony/Consistency- refers to treating items similarly on a page or throughout publication.
-Direction- refers to using design items to direct the eye from one item or unit to another
-Proportion- the size relationship of one item or unit to others or to the whole.
-Contrast- the element that permits one item to stand out clearly from others.
-Rhythm- suggests a flowing quality and assists readers’ eyes in moving from one item to another.
-White Space- frames and helps hold the design together.

Quotes gathered from Strategic Publications: Designing for Target Publics

The Importance of a Business Card

28 11 2009

In PR Publications, our class learned about the importance of a well designed business card.  The card should always represent what the business or organization stands for.

Information that can be included on a business card:

  • Your name
  • Your business/organization’s name
  • Email
  • Phone Number
  • Address

Often times it is helpful to create a card that has a less tradition approach to its design.  Examples such as having a round card rather than a rectangle.  Anything that catches the eye can often make a good impression in professions that involve design.

Here is a link to some interesting business.

One helpful program to help with creating a business card of your own is Adobe InDesign

While the video above (from the movie American Psycho) is obviously a humorous exaggeration on how important a business card is, you should always have one that is eye-pleasing.  In every business situation you should always have a card handy.  Whether you are going to an interview or have met someone in the same field as you, it is always helpful to have one to give to others.  A business card makes a wonderful impression and serves as a remind of who you are, what you do, and who you are affiliated with.

Here are “10 Powerful Networking Tips Using Business Cards” by Carl E. Ried that might aid you in your professional endeavors.

Below is a powerpoint I got from SlideShare that offers helpful hints to creating a “killer” business card.

Informational Interview with Brett Pohlman

4 11 2009

In PR Practicum (PRCA 3711/4711) with Barbara Nixon, we were assigned to conduct an informational interview with a PR professional.  Using Twitter, I found Brett Pohlman who allowed me to ask him questions over the phone.

Sarah:  “What is a typical week like for you?”

Brett:  “For me, I manage a lot of social media for clients–their facebooks, twitter, and provide a lot of strategy to those clients.  The customers/consumers drive what I do on a regular basis”.  Brett explains how their largest client is Baskin Robbins.  “I manage their twitter and handle and respond to customers online, depending on what they tweet about and say about Baskin Robbins”  He also manages their facebook fanpage by putting out new products, pictures, and videos, as well as all kinds of new information.  He also works a lot with RFPs, which is a request for proposal.  “Anytime a client submits this, we decide if we want this client.  We research them and look at their brand as a whole and see what we can do with them in social media.  I research a lot and keep abreast of what is going on in social media.  One minute twitter is in, and the next minute it could be out.”  Brett explains how the industry is very fast paced and that you never know what is going to come next, so nothing is ever completely typical.

Sarah:  “Tell me about a project you worked on that you are especially proud of.”

Brett: “Back in April, we had our 31 cent scoop night at Baskin Robbins.”    He explains how the store has over 12 or 1300 individually owned franchises throughout the country.  “For us to do a national program like this is really big because our computer systems aren’t all hooked together, and not all franchisees are hooked together”, says Brett.  They did a huge push with the mommy bloggers online.  “Since Baskin Robbins is such a family oriented,  ‘let’s go with your kids to have ice cream’ kind of brand, families and moms are a huge target audience and mommy bloggers so active on facebook and twitter now.  They embraced it, shared it on their networks, and at the heat of the moment, right there leading up to the night, we had just about 20 tweets per minute that were going on about Baskin Robbins.”

Sarah:  “How important is writing in your career?”

93088512 Brett:  “Extremely important.  I wish I would have payed a lot more attention in my pr writing course.  The pr writing course, for me, was one of the hardest, but I learned the most out of that course.  In English classes and your freshman and sophomore years, you’re trying to write a lot of wordy sentences.  Pr writing is completely the opposite—straight and to the point with no excess information.  To be able to do that very well will keep you employable for the rest of your life.  There is always a need for good writers.  I can’t tell you how much we end up giving to a copywriter, or someone that does it full time, vs. keeping it in house.  And yeah we’re good writers, but writing also takes up a lot of time….if you can write, you will get hired.  It’s pretty much a done deal.”

Sarah:  “What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?”

Brett:  1.)  “Be involved with social networks as much as you can; that is literally the future.  My professor at auburn was always telling us that.  Within the last 2 year, things have changed so much- take Twitter, for example.  Almost everyone is on it or at least trying it out.”

2.) ” Try to think outside the box.  I know that’s not always easy, but too often students will just regurgitate what their professors say to them or how their professors teach them.  We want you to go further than that and really put in that extra thought.  Even if you’re blogging for a class, put in that extra information.  When you can drop names and start reading and showing that you’re involved, that’s when we really start to look at you like a new hire.  You’re putting your own opinion in that.”

3.)  “Whatever you do, do it very passionately.  I think that you can do whatever kind of pr genre that you want, and I think that is really easy…especially in pr and in social media.  It’s really easy to start writing a blog, or becoming an expert in a field of what you like.  Take fashion for example, if you like fashion, you can become an expert in that field.  There is enough social media within the fashion industry itself to learn everything you need to know.”

Sarah:  “What do you do to keep current in your industry?”

Brett:  “Get outside of the office.  Too often I just work so hard and so much that to get outside of the office space and to get around to other thinkers is probably the best thing. In Boston we are very lucky because we have lots of tweet ups around the city about people in social media.  I have a great arsenal of social media people within the city and to hear them speak and go to those events is great.  Also, read blogs—all the big pr blogs.”

Sarah:  “What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?”

Brett:  ““The strategy part of pr is what I really didn’t understand before I left college.  I was very quick to regurgitate what Robert French was saying in my social media class and I was really good with keeping up with blogs and videos. But when you’re put in a real world situation, it’s really hard to start thinking of ideas about what companies should be doing.  Be able to think strategically, that’s what will set you apart.”

Sarah:  “What has surprised you the most about working with PR?

Brett: “For me, in my particular situation, I have been surprised at how much I have been able to do.  I could have gotten a job where I sit in a cubicle and not have moved very far and not progressed as much.  However, I went to a medium sized firm that’s going on its 30th year next year.  Fortunately, my boss loves to help young people out and I got very lucky that I found this firm here in Boston.  I think if you push people and you push your bosses and do a great job, they are going to reward you with getting more responsibility. In this economy, you really have to work hard.”

Sarah:  “What professional organizations are you involved in?”

Brett: In school I was in PRCA and also became an officer.  I also did a lot with UPC and was also involved in student government.  Right now I go to a lot of social media breakfasts on a regular and am also involved with the Social Media Club, and the Advertising Club of Boston.

Dirty Jobs: Lithography

1 11 2009

In Barbara Nixon’s PRCA 3339 we watched Dirty Jobs starring Mike Rowe.  In the episode we watched, he was shown the process of creating a lithograph.  “A lithograph is an authorized reproduction of a piece of artwork, map, or text that has been created using a distinctive printing process” (definition from

While most naturally think of the show to be one that involves intensely disgusting (almost gag-worthy) scenarios, this one proved to be somewhat different and actually far more interesting than the typical stomach turning episodes.  “Why would we watch a television show such as this in a PR Publications class?”, one might ask.  Well because publications involve works such as brochures, flyers, business cards, etc., lithography fits right in.

At the beginning of the episode, the workers show Mike exactly what a lithograph is because many people do not know.  Further throughout the show you find why this subject is on dirty jobs.  He has to mix the colors for the lithograph, and this takes more work than one would think and, as the name of the show suggests, you get quite dirty.  Another reason why this is on Dirty Jobs is because after the printing of the lithograph, there is a certain way one must take the paper out and if you do it the wrong way, you can hurt yourself, others, or multiple lithographs.  This is a job where you must make sure everything you do is right.  As the worker on the show explained, you must never make a mistake.  So take into account his words, this is no “walk in the park” type of job!  This is hard work.

The episode was quite entertaining and I recommend it to anyone interested in lithography.

Sugar Daddy Ken Doll? Hmm.

31 10 2009

For the past 50 years, Barbie has brought young children role models in the form of dolls called Barbie Dolls.  Many little girls wishes for their birthdays and Christmas involved this so-called magical doll that exemplified beauty and fashion.  As the times have changed, so has Barbie.  She has acquired many siblings and friends such as her younger sister, Skipper, and friend/boyfriend Ken.  However, within the past years, Mattel has come to make Barbies that may be slightly questionable.  One prime example would be Barbie’s pregnant friend, Midge.  When this doll was released, many parents were more than against the doll for their children.

However now, one of the arguably most questionable dolls has been created.  “Sugar Daddy” Ken Doll has many consumers questioning the ethics of Mattel are more specifically the Barbie manufacturers.  While it’s actual debut is due next year, many are still confused on whether the doll should even be put out on the market.  This doll is specifically geared towards adult Barbie collectors, however because Barbie, in general, was geared towards younger children, it is cause a great deal of attention.

Personally, I believe that it is a little ridiculous to be creating a “Sugar Daddy”.  Anyone who is anyone would catch on that this is referring to a pimp, which is an illegal process that involves prostitutes.  Even though the doll is geared towards adult collectors, there is no way that children will not end up getting their hands on this doll.  While it is somewhat humorous, I too am not sure whether or not it is morally and ethically right for Barbie, a children’s toy manufacturer, to sell such a doll.

Information gathered from ABC news.