Week 5: Reflection

I’m not going to lie…this week’s assignment was fun. We were introduced to Canva, a web-based design app that makes it ridiculously easy to create aesthetically pleasing layouts for social media and beyond. Our assignment in particular was oriented around social media. Below you’ll find the Facebook and Twitter covers I designed, as well as a Facebook and Instagram post. All four of these images were created for the cosmetics company Colourpop. I specifically chose this Colourpop because I love makeup and I knew I could have fun creating images that felt on-brand for a company with a younger audience. Canva definitely helped me achieve that. The site was incredibly user-friendly, and many of the layouts were pre-calibrated for use with various social media platforms. One benefit of Canva is that beyond layouts, there are so many fonts, images, and backgrounds for the user to choose from to generate their image. At the same time, this is a little bit of a downside. In a pinch, Canva is a surefire way to make sure the image your organization is posting to Facebook is visually appealing. However, it is a little limiting. But for someone who isn’t necessarily a Photoshop or InDesign pro (me), Canva is a great design tool. It has many valuable uses and is a great addition to anyone’s digital tool kit.

When I looked on Colourpop’s website, they were advertising a “subscribe and save” type deal, so that’s the message I chose to promote across all social media.

Colourpop fb cover

colourpop twitter

With the Facebook and Instagram posts below, I opted not to include the Colourpop logo so the images could integrate more seamlessly in both applications feeds and look less like promos for ongoing savings.

colourpop fb postcolourpop ig final

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Reflection

In week four, we were asked to complete our second project: two direct mailers. Acting as OU Recruitment Services, I distinguished two specific stakeholders I intended to target with these direct mailers. Being an out of state student myself, I decided to define my stakeholders as out of state high school students and their parents. Initially, this week seemed like a lot of work, so I was a little worried. But I quickly realized that the segmentation matrix, which was a concept I was unfamiliar with, ended up being extremely helpful. Actually, I started to enjoy filling out each box with my stakeholder in mind. Photoshop, however, proved to be a different beast this week. I quickly realized that the program didn’t like my text to be in anything but caps, no matter the font. I tried a few tips to solve the issue (thank you, Google) but nothing would solve my problem. So, my final product ended up being two mailers that I was pretty happy with, just aggressively written in all caps. Attention grabbing, I guess? This was really frustrating to me because I felt like my vision for the mailers was executed and the font was such a minor detail that really made a big impact, and not in the way I wanted too. I was also a little defeated because Photoshop was the program I thought I knew my way around a little more. Despite all of this, I found myself navigating the other aspects of Photoshop pretty handily. Photoshop feels more straightforward than InDesign, and in that aspect, I definitely prefer it.

Below you will find the mailers I created. In the first, directed at the students themselves, I wanted to paint a picture of a united student body, regardless of home state. The photo of students at a football game was a calculated choice, because I wanted to make sure students saw something fun and exciting. For the parents’ mailer, however, I decided to do something with a more mature feel that focused more on academics. The front is image driven,  with the hopes of cutting through the college mailer clutter that so many households receive as their child gets closer to decision time. I also decided to use the tagline “come find out why there’s only one” for some continuity between the two.

 

Stakeholder (Take Two)

Since I defined out of state high school students as my first stakeholder, I decided it would make the most sense to target the parents of those students as the second stakeholder. Parents are large influences on their kids, especially when finances come into play. This stakeholder would be more explicitly defined as the mother or father (or both) of a 16-18 year old living outside of Oklahoma. Both are college educated themselves and are willing to explore other collegiate options for their child.

Stakeholder

The first stakeholder I believe should be targeted by OU Recruitment Services is 16-18 years of age who attended high school outside of Oklahoma, with accepted ACT/ SAT scores and a household income of above $80,000. This student is male or female, with parents that may have attended a college other than OU. This stakeholder is a prospective student who may have just begun their college search and is in the process of touring Universities. As out of state college tours become the norm for many students across the country, OU Recruitment Services will be targeting those willing to see OU in person regardless of the state boundaries. Thus, it is important that the message communicated through the direct mailer is one that appeals to students who may be far from home; out of state percentages, activities to get involved with, a strong sense of community and pride, etc.

Take a look at my Segmenting Stakeholders Matrix.

Reflection

This week, we we asked to complete our first design project: a business card and a letterhead for an organization of our choice. At first, it seemed a little daunting given the fact that I left the assignment last week feeling completely defeated by InDesign. But when I finally began the process of creating both documents, I felt much more prepared this time around. The research I had completed about the Oklahoma Arts Council as well as the helpful video about starting the document really helped me feel like I was ready to tackle the first project.

The only frustration I had this week was that my InDesign skills (or lack thereof) didn’t seem to be keeping up with the vision I had in my brain for my documents, particularly the business card. Creating the inspiration board was super helpful, but seeing all of the amazing typography and layouts of the business cards on Pinterest was a little depressing for a beginner. This comes as no surprise. As I mentioned last week, I have a tendency to get frustrated when I don’t pick things up right away.  That being said, I am still happy with the business card and letterhead I created myself. I felt much more confident navigating InDesign this week, and that was a relief. In the end, I was able to create something I felt was clean and simple, and that was really my goal from the beginning in terms of aesthetics. Would I necessarily present my work to the people over at the OkAC? Not necessarily. But I view this week as a win regardless. InDesign is looking more familiar, and the Pinterest part was fun, too.

My advice to students who will complete this assignment in the future: don’t stress too much! I felt much more prepared this week, and in the end, I found myself enjoying the process, even if I was still a little unsure about my abilities in InDesign.

Check out my finished letterhead and business card!

Communications Strategy

Since I began researching, I have been trying to visualize the business card I will be creating for the Oklahoma Arts Council and the message I want to communicate. Simplicity is important, but I also want to emphasize a feeling of community with the card, possibly by putting the mission statement or goal on the back of the card. The OkAC logo encapsulates the brand well and is modern but still “arty,” and is where I want the eye to be drawn. I like the idea of using other images, but I think that can get too cluttered and sometimes look a bit cheesy. This card will probably be type driven. Red is one of the colors used in the website for the logo, and could be a bold choice for a business card. However, red also feels very “Oklahoma” to me, and it should be used on the card in some way. Overall, my goal for this business card is something very clean and simple, but still eye catching. I want someone to be drawn to it and actually want to know the information it presents. But perhaps most importantly, I want it to really enhance the image of the Oklahoma Arts Council and be a tool to the organization.

Hopefully the train of thought above can be better visualized through my inspiration board and my mood board.

Competitor Analysis

In a previous post, I addressed the use of “competitor” in regards to the Oklahoma Arts Council, and how it does not necessarily apply. So while compiling some images and links for my competitor board on Pinterest,  I focused primarily on the legislation against the OkAC and organizations like it, as well as the current allocation of funds in Oklahoma and how arts may fit into that. It was a little challenging finding this information, but hopefully the board conveys the opposition against the Arts Council.

The Oklahoma Arts Council differs from its “competitors” in the sense that they seek to use the funds handed down to them from the federal government or private donors in a manner that benefits communities across Oklahoma culturally and beyond. Opposition sees the OkAC as either too large, or altogether useless. However, the funding is available specifically to the OkAC and organizations like it across the US due to legislation signed by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 ensuring federal arts funding for states. The National Endowment for the Arts, which is the government organization established by congress the same year (and is essentially the umbrella organization for state arts councils) has also faced opposition from groups who would like to see the funds distributed by this organization allocated elsewhere.

In order to combat these efforts, the Oklahoma Arts Council must be diligent in communicating their message of community improvement and empowerment. Continuing to update the state on the economic and educational benefits of their work in communities of all sizes will emphasize the importance of arts in the community. Maintaining their image as an accessible and beneficial tool to Oklahomans looking to engage their school or city through art is also imperative. Opposition will likely continue to try to paint the OkAC as too large or undermine its importance, but by ensuring that Oklahoma understands the mission of the Arts Council, the organization can continue to benefit the community.

Organization Analysis: Oklahoma Arts Council

The Oklahoma Arts Council, which I have selected to analyze and create a business card for, also happens to be the organization I will be interning for this summer.Thus, I used this opportunity to familiarize myself a little more with the goals and history of this organization.

The mission of the OkAC, found on their website, is as follows: “To lead, cultivate and support a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education and economic vitality for all Oklahomans.” This is done through awarding grants, supporting events and other organizations with a similar mission, implementing arts programs in schools throughout Oklahoma, and raising awareness of the value of art in its many forms.

Since the OkAC is essentially a government fixture, using publicly funded federal and private dollars to fund the program, “competitors” in the traditional sense are not exactly present. However, in the past two years, there have been bills that sought to consolidate or defund the Oklahoma Arts Council (House Bills 3028 & 2850, respectively). Neither of the bills passed, but they do act as a reminder that some believe the organization is unnecessary.

Overall,the most dominant attitude of the Oklahoma Arts Council is a passion for providing communities in Oklahoma with the tools they need (financial or otherwise) to cultivate and maintain a thriving arts environment. The OkAC values equal access to the arts for all Oklahomans, as well as funding the arts as a means to improve communities academically, culturally, and economically.

Reflection

This week, we were asked to explore the programs in our digital toolbox-namely, Photoshop and InDesign. I worked a little bit with Photoshop in my photography classes in high school, but I never gained confidence in my ability to navigate the program. And in all honesty, I was completely unfamiliar with InDesign. Thus, I was extremely nervous to start this weeks assignment.

The tutorials on Lynda.com were helpful, and I at least got my bearings once again in Photoshop.Once I opened up the exercise files and started working along with the tutorial, some of the basics started coming back to me.  InDesign was a different story. It was daunting for me to begin with, and I found myself repeating many of the tutorial videos. The Newspaper Markup was a welcomed break, and I enjoyed getting to work finding the elements of a newspaper. It also made for a helpful visual. Finally, I just decided to dive into the Typsetting assignment and figure it out as I went along.

This proved to be very time consuming, and resulted in me getting frustrated at times. I felt like I was taking too long to complete the typesetting assignment…it seemed so easy! I felt as if I had never used a computer; suddenly everything on my keyboard and screen seemed foreign. Though the initial challenges did make finishing the assignment all the more rewarding, I was still frustrated that there were certain skills I just couldn’t grasp.

In no way was I surprised by my reaction to this assignment;  I definitely have a tendency to get frustrated with myself when I cannot produce a product I am happy with on the first try. This is definitely unrealistic, but I have always been somewhat of a perfectionist.  InDesign remains a challenge for me, but thankfully I’ve found additional resources to help me on Adobe forums and YouTube. Hopefully with more practice I can feel more comfortable with my next assignments.