PR pro's guide to photo and design

By Madeline Tunison

Sometimes PR requires us to utilize skills beyond the average communications trade. This can be a fun challenge or a bothersome one. Today’s public relations professionals  are expected to know the basics of design programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign. Lucky for us, thousands of easy-to-follow tutorials exist. But creating an attractive design goes past basic knowledge of the programs. Here are a few tips to help amatuer designers create eye-catching displays.


If you are ever tasked with picking or taking photos, here are some things to know before you get started.  

Make sure the photo has a clear, focused subject.

Cluttered photos make it harder for the viewer to understand the purpose and see the subject of the photo. It’s also always good to follow the rule of thirds to make your photo more interesting to the eye. The rule of thirds is the concept of putting a nine square grid over the photo and having the subject fall in the intersection of two of the gridlines.

Pay attention to color.

After you’ve got the basic structure of a photo down, watch for tonal range and contrast. Good photos have a wide range of dark and light colors and good contrast between colors.

Don’t oversaturate.

With that being said, do not oversaturate your photos! Your photo should have a wide range of tones while looking natural. It’s important to not lose photo detail in your colors. Make sure the light colors aren’t too light and the darks aren’t too dark.


In design, you should bring out your more artistic side without letting it run away with the project.

Fonts matter.

A lot of beginners love to pick out fun fonts and crazy colors and in doing so, they forget about their audience. You should keep what’s best for your audience in the front of your mind. Simple, easy to read fonts always outmatch the curly cute fonts. When using fonts in a design, try to stick to only two. Anything more than two or three makes your design seem choppy and hard to read.

Choose your colors wisely.

Colors should be catered to what your audience would like. Just because your favorite color combo is hot pink and neon yellow doesn’t mean you should make a hot pink flyer with neon yellow text. Everything about your design should cater to the design’s purpose.

Visuals, whether they are photos, graphics, or infographics, will help your design. It is always helpful to get a second and third opinion on your work. A set of fresh eyes is never a bad thing. Some things will look great to you  but might look terrible to someone else. Critique your own work and have someone else critique it too. If you’re looking for more tips about photography and design, consult books or more experienced designers.

Posted on October 5, 2018 .