A Work in Progress: The Best Design Skills for a PR Student

I may have been raised during the digital age, but that does not mean I have the inside scoop on technology. When I declared my major as Public Relations, it was not because I like working with technology, it was because I like working with people. However, these days, to reach people, you have to go through technology.

I always knew the technology aspect of Public Relations would catch up to me soon. I am glad it finally did. Not because I am good at it, but because I need to be. I need to be equipped with the best design skills for a student in PR.

As a Liberal Arts major, the STEM field never held much charm with me, so the thought of having to work with programs like Adobe and WordPress was very intimidating, and it still is. This was a whole new world that I had zero experience in. In situations like these I am reminded of the age-old question, how do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time later, and I have completed more than a few projects that have tested my limits and my patience. Needless to say, web design is not for me. However, that does not mean I cannot do it. Through my experience, I believe there are three things you should know on your own path to equipping yourself with the best design skills for a student in PR.

3 Skills You Should Learn:

  1. Become as detail oriented as possible.

As I have worked with Adobe programs like InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and others; the biggest lesson I have learned from using these programs is that they are a puzzle. The sheer number of options you have within these programs can be overwhelming.

Often times, you need to zoom in as close as possible and spend some time on the details. Famous architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, always said, “God is in the detail.” Often times your best work will shine through on the smallest level.

Even the simplest designs often boil down to the details.

2. Never lose sight of the big picture.

I know, I know, I just said to be a detail-oriented person; this is true! However, you must also become a big-picture oriented person. This is no easy achievement. Most personalities are either one or the other, so if you find this difficult, ask for help.

I am naturally detail oriented. So, every now and then I remind myself to zoom out on a project within InDesign or another Adobe program and check my project as a whole.

I had to pick up this skill. I think a lot of students in PR have similar personalities, and the majority I meet are excellent at working with details. We have been taught, it is the little stuff that gets you; so, I think many PR students are fine-tuned to recognize the importance of details.

One of the best design skills for a student in PR is to always remember the big picture. Fine-tune those details but always keep fresh in the front your mind what goal those details are working towards.

3. Be patient with yourself and with technology.

If you are like me and your technological prowess is limited, then you are going to want to take a deep breath and relax. Working with Adobe programs and WordPress, and the like, requires patience.

My skills within this particular subgenre of Public Relations are a work in progress. The best thing for myself and all beginners is to be patient. There are many tips and tricks to master Adobe programs but before you master those, the learning process will be slow.

In other words, give yourself plenty of time to complete your early projects.

The best design skills for a student in PR are simple but absolutely important. I am no master at working with Adobe programs. This is a challenging and long process. It is also one of the most beneficial things you can learn as a Public Relations student. These three skills are going to make your projects and your personal growth in any PR curriculum stand out from all the rest.