Breaking through the noise: Graphic Design vs. Public Relations

Every day we are blasted by a blizzard of messages, advertisements and information. So how does one working in public relations or graphic design identify, analyze and break through the noise with creative ideas and strategies? The convergence of these professions creates a necessary collaboration and sharing of skills between the two.


Why work together?

Dick Pirozzolo, principal of Pirozzolo Company Public Relations, believes that adapting a skill set with critical thinking is imperative to beat the competition.

“Too often, PR professionals focus on media relations, speaking engagements, white papers, bylined articles and other reputation-building efforts, without fully incorporating the Website into the public relations program.”

Graphic designers possess knowledge in website coding and design, video and page editing programs, photography and animation. Public relations specialists must embrace and integrate these skills into their own ideas if they are to remain competitive.

Graphic designers often ignore the art of writing; something public relations specialists recognize is essential to the success of clear communication.

“You can write something,” Pirozzolo says. “This does not take a journalism degree.” Graphic designers “ought to be able to write a breaking news story in less than 30 minutes–not perfectly, but getting most of the basics such as determining what facts are important, spelling names correctly and grammar.”

Graphic designers must learn to follow current events, be aware of their surroundings, and adapt quickly.


We must be advocates for one another.

Design in the round vs. Design dictated down

A public relations specialist may not be an expert in color theory, or a graphic designer may not be an expert in relationship building, but understanding each other’s process is crucial. Working together to learn about a target audience, asking questions, and sharing perspectives will help both graphic designers and public relations specialists become better communicators and succeed in their message goals. After all, isn’t that what both want?


Don’t Mess with the Brand

The impact of poor communication betGap logo changeween graphic design and public relations professionals is apparent by the not-so-long-ago Gap clothing store gaffe. On Oct. 5, 2010, Gap swapped their decades-old white-on-navy blue logo without saying a word. The new logo provoked a firestorm of criticism from the advertising and design industry, angering fans, and inciting thousands of negative comments online. One week later, Gap withdrew its redesigned logo. One has to wonder if the communications departments took any time at all to collaborate. Not only did Gap fail to reach out to its primary publics before the initial rollout, but Gap also failed to recognize the consequences of changing something as prominent as a logo. If Gap’s public relations and graphic design team had been working together, the fiasco could have been avoided.

If words lack dynamic visuals, or imagery lacks a clear voice, then the impact of a message becomes cloudy and is tuned out by a media-saturated society. The professions of graphic design and public relations must partner together to achieve clear and concise communication of a client’s goals and objectives.

We live in a world where appearances can make or break the future of a business, where trends change constantly, and fresh ideas are in high demand. Communication professionals must be aware of these changes, and possess the adaptability and imagination to stay ahead. The only way to do so is to do it together.

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