Make a statement: writing promotional text

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Make a statement: writing promotional text, a presentation given by Kati Price, a PR and marketing consultant and communications specialist, as part of a workshop on writing an artist's statement or press release to promote a final degree show.

Part of ECCA's Preparing for your Degree Show week 2009 - a programme to help Arts London students make the most of their final show.

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Make a statement: writing promotional text

  1. 1. Making a statement: writing promotional text © Kati Price Design Communications 2009
  2. 2. Who are you writing for? © Kati Price Design Communications 2009
  3. 3. 1. Writing for the press 2. Writing a personal statement © Kati Price Design Communications 2009
  4. 4. Writing for the press © Kati Price Design Communications 2009
  5. 5. Writing press releases © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 What makes ‘news’? Think about your audience. Will someone else find your story interesting? If your product or event is noteworthy or unusual in some way, this will generally mean it is newsworthy too. <ul><li>Angles and hooks </li></ul><ul><li>A good story angle: </li></ul><ul><li>is the most important fact in your story </li></ul><ul><li>is timely </li></ul><ul><li>is unique, newsworthy or contrary to industry norms and trends. </li></ul><ul><li>Use the story angle in the first paragraph as well as the headline of your press release. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Writing press releases © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 So, where do you start? Company logo or letterhead and should state ‘Press Release’ or ‘News Release’ followed by the date/month of issue A good headline - keep it short, simple and lighthearted The crucial first paragraph - Answer the questions: what? who? why? where? and when? Remember to get your main point across early The main body of your press release Develop your main message and you can give some background to explain why the event is taking place / product has been launched and why it is important
  7. 7. Writing press releases © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 Include a quote Journalists don’t always have the time to interview people. But make sure it’s concise, punchy and captures the essence of your story. Photo opportunities For events highlight any opportunities for photographs at the bottom of the press release. Give a brief description of the kind of visuals they can expect. ‘ Ends’ Finish the release with ‘Ends’ as this separates the important news element of the release from any other background information
  8. 8. Writing press releases © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 Notes to Editors Your opportunity to add detail that might otherwise detract from the main story, for example, a biography or short history of your business. Don’t forget to include contact numbers Make sure somebody will be available at these numbers in the busy run-up to a launch. For events make sure to include full address details, times and information on how to get there - it is crucial these are correct.
  9. 9. Writing press releases © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 1) Correct grammar usage 2) Write in the third-person 3) Use the active, not passive, voice 4) Use strong verbs 5) Make sure your claims are true 6) Don’t advertise! 7) Economy of words 8) Check - is it more than one paragraph? 9) Write for the media 10) Proofread
  10. 10. Writing press releases © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 Poison press release
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  19. 19. Writing a personal statement © Kati Price Design Communications 2009
  20. 20.     © Kati Price Design Communications 2009
  21. 21. 1. Use your skills Ask yourself: Who’s this for? What’s the big idea? What are the pieces I’m using? What do I want to say? Like designing, writing can straddle the line between art and craft—half blinding flashes of inspiration and unexplainable moments of brilliance (maybe a little less than half), and half moving words around, making and breaking sentences, typing commas then deleting them. Nuts and bolts stuff. If you get too caught in one side, move to the other. Writing’s about thinking big and thinking small, putting complex ideas into simple boxes, and you can do that . © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 Thanks to William Bostwick / Core 77
  22. 22. 2. Kill jargon Like any field that has to fight for relevance, design is mired in jargon. I’m talking not only about technical terms, Adobe-isms, and that sort of thing, but also verbal SUVs—big, pointless words that look fancy but don’t do anything. Dialectic. Utilization. Orchestrate. Dynamic. Synthesis...ask, would my grandma use this? If not, scrap it, and tone things down. Often, the design for a dining table won’t “capture the thrill of a Medieval feast,” say, it will “strive to capture the trill” or “seek to capture it.” These verb-plus-infinitive constructions (sorry for the jargon) are just plain boring. Don’t be shy—after all, if your work is only trying to do something, why should we care? © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 Thanks to William Bostwick / Core 77
  23. 23. 3. Tell a story When you’re captioning an example of your work in a portfolio or on your website, or when you’re explaining your work to a client, think less about what it is, and more about how it happened. You should be able to explain the project’s main concept in a hundred words; if you can’t, you might want to rethink your design. Focus instead on the thought process behind the work. Why? First of all, it’s more interesting to read. We’re narrative creatures—our minds are geared to ask, “and then what happened?” before they ask, “what does it mean?” We want a story. Tell us how you thought through the proposal, what you struggled with, where the epiphanies came, what changed, what didn’t. It’ll make the work more personal, and more unique. © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 Thanks to William Bostwick / Core 77
  24. 24. 4. Don’t be afraid to put yourself into your writing Use the first person, making the subject of your writing yourself, not the thing you designed. This helps in a couple ways. It makes you less likely to over-season your writing with fancy jargon—a chair may strive to illuminate dialectics, but you probably won’t talk about yourself that way. It makes your work more personal, which makes it more interesting to read. It also makes you, your work, and design in general, more accessible and less formal. A little informality goes a long way. © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 Thanks to William Bostwick / Core 77
  25. 25. 5. Finally, and most importantly, don’t say too much There’s a lot of fluff in design writing, a lot of bullshit. When describing the narrative of a project, if you don’t have a reason for making a certain choice (if the only reason was “it looked good”), then be honest. Or make a different choice that has a better story behind it. What you absolutely shouldn’t do, is make something up to justify and aggrandize your work. Typically, you can—and should—cut ten percent of all the words you write. So spare us all, and keep it simple. © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 Thanks to William Bostwick / Core 77
  26. 26. So,..... - use your skills - write about yourself - write a story - write real words - don’t write too much. © Kati Price Design Communications 2009
  27. 27. I adhere to modern myth structures The apparitional epicentre of an epitomised inwardness I aim to tease the viewer into a situation of fantastical realisation © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 Forget the pseudo-academic nonsense
  28. 28. I look for inspiration in everyday life I’ve designed a series of objects inspired by our everyday life I intend to make people think about the objects they use every day I’m fascinated by the human condition My illustrations are about the human condition © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 Avoid the clichés
  29. 29. My response to the physicality of different materials inspires much of my design work. Whether it is the ability of milk to become plastic or magnets to create movement, it is the exploration of a material’s potential that often leads, and informs, the product itself © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 Create a visual impact
  30. 30. The main aim of my work is to create inspirational fabrics through the woven structure. By taking a creative approach to weave and working with technology I have developed complex 3D textiles. The complexity of the structure, balanced with the simplicity of the form engages the viewer and envokes [sic] thought and contemplation. These structural fabrics have a wide range of applications from fashion to interior, but also have potential for architectural or engineering purposes. © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 Be down to earth
  31. 31. It’s a story about the Virgin Mary, about visions of god and a crazy woman who lives in a council flat in Willesden. I work from my own illustrations taking inspiration from the surreal world of the Mystic Sister Sophia Maria and other religious oddities. Humour and eccentricity are integral to my designs. I juxtapose imagery and text through my use of printing and embroidery techniques to create idiosyncratic fabrics for fashion. © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 Play on your idiosyncrasies...
  32. 32. When seeking creativity, I try not to lie to myself. My genuine feelings lead me to the beginning of something amazing and give me the strength to continue an incredible yet challenging journey until it comes to a satisfactory conclusion. That is one of the most significant things I have learnt at college. © Kati Price Design Communications 2009 ...But don’t be overcome by them
  33. 33. Good luck! © Kati Price Design Communications 2009

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