Although the two fields may seem unrelated, Public Relations and Graphic Design work together and establish necessary components of effective PR. Graphic Design is visual communication and the elements of a design are purposefully crafted to tell a story. These designs have the ability to support Public Relations by tying in elements of the brand and making them a tangible product for the public to absorb. By having a specific design (such as a logo or advertisement), brands have more control over how the public recieves them by spoon-feeding them a representation. Additionally, Graphic Design can build brand recognition which leads to brand awareness and, hopefully, trust. For instance, a simple logo (attached below) tell a story and contribute to their brand’s PR.
Take McDonald’s logo, for example. Some may look at it and say it is just a yellow “M” on a red background; however, there is much more to this design. This simple yellow “M” carries great meaning to the public. Those who know of the popular restaurant chain associate the “M” with traditional fast food, reliably consistent products, and perhaps a cheap dining option. Public perception and opinions can rely heavily on a simple logo and a PR professional must be aware of these.
On a different note, PR professionals may be doing the designing, themselves. I had a past summer internship in the PR/Marketing department in a private elementary school. This school was opening in the fall, so one of my main objectives was to create brand awareness within surrounding communities. A few of the things I was responsible for included writing and designing a pamphlet using InDesign as well as designing a mailer for an event. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to create the pamphlet or mailer completely, but it was my job to understand the brand and create a design to embody it.
Besides embodying a brand’s image, PR professionals need to design mailers/flyer/etc. in a way that is generally attractive and functional. When asked to create informational material for clients, a PR professional would greatly benefit from a background in Graphic Design to fully understand and appreciate elements of design to create functional materials (image attached below). Without Graphic Design, PR would be far less efficient in telling a story and creating lasting impressions on the public.