As a Public Relations major, graphic design is an extremely critical component of the work that I hope to do every day as a publicist. In order to portray a positive public image and generate support for the individual, company or organization, those in the public relations field must ensure that all communications are visually appealing and send a cohesive and appropriate message. The design of the message is almost as important as the message itself, and therefore public relations specialists must be acutely aware of how their communications are designed. This was one of the reasons that I chose to pursue public relations as a course of study, because I truly enjoy the design process and would like to be in a career where I have the opportunity to utilize my skills in design.
Public relations specialists use graphic design in nearly everything they do, including client websites, business cards, press releases, company logos, event advertisements, brochures and even just a simple email. One of the first things that anyone notices about communications, before even reading the message, is how it looks. Publicists must be aware of the messages that their design choices are sending and must make deliberate decisions about how to design all communications in order to achieve their desired relationship with the public.
For example, in my summer internship with a public relations agency one of our tasks was to design a business card for one of our new clients. We had to design the logo, determine the color scheme, figure out the placement of objects, and just generally ensure that the business card reflected the image that the client was trying to project. Without a knowledge of graphic design and design principles, we would have not be able to effectively complete this task. Without graphic design, many of the projects that publicists work on would be rendered irrelevant, as the design would drive people to ignore or react negatively to communications before even reading them.
The following are some examples of graphic design in use by publicists: