By Emily Miles
Beth Wood Chapter members, supplied with coffee and cookies, logged into the computers of Ernie Pyle Hall Room 210 on Tuesday, November 17. They had converged for PR Bootcamp, a set of three sessions planned to exhibit the principles and tools of graphic design. Until the official start time of 6:30, students chatted with one another as music videos from Adele, Sam Smith, and other top-40 artists appeared on the projector screen.
With most of the room’s computers occupied, the first session leader, Vice-President Cat Huynh, opened the online design program Canva—not just Canvas with a typo. As she demonstrated how to log into the site and start designing, fellow chapter members followed along on their own computers. Huynh pulled up examples of work she had created and sifted through the multitude of layouts, typefaces, illustrations, and backgrounds available for free through Canva. After Huynh explained how to upload images from outside sources and how to export finished designs as PDFs, PNGs and JPGs, students explored the interface independently. Some edited pre-designed Christmas cards while others jumped into original designs.
The Canva exploration ceased at 7:00 when Director of Publicity Joe Knight stepped up to the podium and launched Adobe InDesign, as well as a PowerPoint to aid in its introduction. Before getting into the technicalities of the software, he briefly covered the definition of design and the implications regarding its application. He pulled up the Newseum website’s “Today’s Front Pages” feature and talked about the three-font rule. Knight then switched over to InDesign, instructing his fellow PR hopefuls to do the same. With that, everyone opened a new document and practiced placing images and filling text, creating columns and selecting appropriate fonts.
As the time hit 7:30, Director of Alumni Engagement Tori Lawhorn took Knight’s place and began her segment on Photoshop. Once all in attendance had opened the Adobe program, Lawhorn dove into placing images, creating shapes, and manipulating text. Students found an image of Donald Trump and placed it into their documents, working to produce a cutout of his distinctly angry face. With a few minutes left until 8:00 and a few new skills under their belts, IUPRSSA members logged out of their computers and talked for a moment before departing from Ernie Pyle Hall.
Though I cannot speak for all who attended PR Bootcamp, I believe that I am not alone in having benefited from the experience. Since Tuesday, I have spent hours on Canva, designing album covers and posters and cards, rekindled my relationship with InDesign and practiced the Photoshop techniques I learned. In a fast-paced, ever-changing world of public relations, multimedia skills are invaluable, and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to develop mine.