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The Power of Graphic Design for PR Strategy

One of my favorite things about work­ing at an agency is the vari­ety – from the amount and type of clients I get to work with on a week­ly basis, to the range of skills I get to flex. One day I can be coor­di­nat­ing sto­ries about a university’s inno­v­a­tive pro­gram with local media and the next I’m design­ing con­cepts for a non­prof­it fundrais­ing cam­paign – some­times all in the same day. It’s a true plea­sure (and source of dopamine!) flip­ping from strat­e­gy to media rela­tions to design regularly.

One rea­son I joined the Bell­mont Part­ners team was to strength­en our design capa­bil­i­ties, since visu­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion is so impor­tant – espe­cial­ly in an increas­ing­ly dig­i­tal world. Bring­ing Syd­ney Schoe­ber­le to the team last year has made my job way more fun and allowed our agency to accom­plish a larg­er scale and quan­ti­ty of design projects. On a week­ly basis, we’re cre­at­ing ele­ments like info­graph­ics, brochures and social graph­ics – and the best part, it’s all root­ed in the client’s over­all strat­e­gy. Since we’re usu­al­ly head-down work­ing on client projects, it’s nice to slow down and reflect on our work and remem­ber why we like doing what we do.

Hi, Syd­ney! How did you first get inter­est­ed in design?

I’ve always been a cre­ative per­son and grow­ing up, I enjoyed tak­ing art class­es and cre­at­ing things. When I start­ed pur­su­ing a career in com­mu­ni­ca­tions, I found myself drawn to the visu­al side of it. My first real intro­duc­tion to the design world was a visu­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion design class at UW-Eau Claire where I got to play around with Adobe Cre­ative Cloud for the first time. From there I kept hon­ing my skills in var­i­ous jobs and intern­ships – always rais­ing my hand to design the next poster, social post or you name it. 

Ah, yes, one of my favorite things about you is that we’re fel­low Blu­golds! I’m curi­ous how work­ing at Bell­mont Part­ners fits into your pas­sions, exper­tise and long-term career goals?

The col­lab­o­ra­tive cul­ture at Bell­mont Part­ners has done won­ders for my pro­fes­sion­al growth. I’ve learned so much in my first two years here – from the ins and outs of media rela­tions and thought lead­er­ship, to nav­i­gat­ing the Min­neso­ta State Fair­grounds before the crack of dawn for clients Mid­west Dairy and Min­neso­ta Wine Country.

It’s always been a dream of mine to work for an arts non­prof­it, so it was hard for me to decide to leave Heart of Dance and com­mit to Bell­mont Part­ners full-time. But I get to work with so many cre­ative, cause-relat­ed orga­ni­za­tions here, which makes the con­tent cre­ation, event coor­di­na­tion and graph­ic design work I love doing all the more mean­ing­ful. I’ve also always been fas­ci­nat­ed with graph­ic design’s abil­i­ty to make com­plex ideas more acces­si­ble, and I enjoy get­ting to do that for our clients now.

So true! That leads me right into my next ques­tion: why do you think design is so impor­tant for marketing/communications/PR?

Design is so impor­tant for mar­ket­ing because it can help you stand out and tell your sto­ry. A lot of times, the design of a web­site or a busi­ness card is the first thing your audi­ence will see, so what does that design say about you? I always think about this when I’m pick­ing a type­face – the size and style help con­vey the feel­ing and weight of the mes­sage. That’s why, for instance, you don’t see a lot of Com­ic Sans being used in adver­tise­ments for new med­ical devices. Design can help cre­ate con­fi­dence in your busi­ness, con­vey the cre­ativ­i­ty of your team or make your mes­sage more mem­o­rable. That’s the pow­er of graph­ic design, and why it’s become such an impor­tant part of the work we do here at Bell­mont Part­ners for our clients.

Exact­ly why we’re thrilled to have you on our team. What’s a favorite piece you’ve designed in the past year?

I enjoy cre­at­ing the designed reports for our clients that cap­ture the impact and results of our work in a fun, visu­al way. But my favorite piece that I designed this past year would have to be the poster I cre­at­ed for Illi­nois Fire­fight­er Peer Sup­port (ILFFPS).

ILFFPS is a non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides first respon­ders in need with a net­work of fel­low fire­fight­ers trained to offer peer sup­port. ILFFPS turned to us to help build aware­ness for its free Peer Sup­port Hot­line and men­tal health resources avail­able to all Illi­nois fire­fight­ers. We launched a two-month media rela­tions cam­paign and devel­oped this poster empha­siz­ing the con­fi­den­tial, com­pas­sion­ate peer sup­port ILFFPS pro­vides to first respon­ders. The poster was dis­trib­uted to 1,000 fire sta­tions across the state of Illi­nois – build­ing aware­ness for ILFFPS and increas­ing call vol­ume. It’s extreme­ly mean­ing­ful to have worked on a design project that is lit­er­al­ly help­ing to save lives.

ILFPPS Poster designed by Bellmont Partners

Incred­i­ble work! What type of design project have you not had a chance to work on yet, but would like to tack­le in the com­ing year?

I’ve always thought it would be fun to dip more into brand iden­ti­ty design. I’ve had a lit­tle expe­ri­ence with cre­at­ing logos for orga­ni­za­tions in the past but would love to dive into cre­at­ing an entire visu­al brand – devel­op­ing a port­fo­lio of match­ing visu­al ele­ments like logos, sta­tion­ary and more.

Thank you, Syd­ney – we’re so glad you are a part of the Bell­mont Part­ners team!


If you’re a cur­rent client who would like to explore how design could strength­en your PR strat­e­gy, or you’ve nev­er worked with us before but would love to dip your toes into the design waters, please don’t hes­i­tate to reach out! We’d love to col­lab­o­rate with you.


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