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Alvera Kromer

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Roger L. Van Ommeren


The advent of television, with its enormous growth as a communications tool In the United States since World War II, has greatly increased the need for graphic design. Additionally, the increased use of mail-order sales, direct mail, billboards, flyers, brochures and other visually oriented selling methods have contributed to an "explosion" of the business of graphics design. Business, industry and government agencies have long realized the importance of using appropriate, effective, consistent elements in all their communications as a way of encouraging and aiding public recognition of their individual identities. In addition, visual communication materials are crucial to guiding people safely, effectively and efficiently through an increasingly complicated and crowded world. One example of such use is the signage at airports which display international symbols to relay information to travelers speaking various languages. Other elements of design may be used by an organization to facilitate corporate identity or communication with its audiences. Consistent use of a specific body type family and font, colors, illustrations, photography, or a particular kind and weight of paper are also used to aid instant recognition or convey a specific message. There are additional perspectives, however, to be considered in choice of design elements. Graphic design is a vehicle used to carry specific messages as well as to represent a company or agency to its public. Design elements may serve to enhance or detract from the audience perception of the type of company, its philosophy and goals, its integrity: in other words, the company image. The design and use of these elements may facilitate persuasion in selling, or increase safety and efficiency, while, at the same time, presenting the company as a responsible, trustworthy organization which would produce only quality products and/or services. Costs in labor, materials and production can be reduced by the use of appropriate and consistent design elements. Savings in time may be realized by a clear presentation of information through visual graphics. As Americans are increasingly bombarded with visual communications, a question persists: How well do the visual designs carrying these messages serve the purpose of the organization or agency they represent? A most important area needing investigation is the effectiveness of graphic design used in public relations, the corporate function that promotes a positive image of its organization to its audiences. If a communication problem is interfering with the creation of effective graphics, it is necessary to know "Why?" and "How?" this problem can be resolved. First, however, it must be determined if a problem exists. That is the purpose of this study. Are the millions of dollars spent each year on visual communications materials for public relations accomplishing their intended purpose? If not, is it, in part, because public relations practitioners and graphic artists have a communication problem?

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Graphic arts -- Public relations

Public relations -- Graphic methods

Corporate image -- Graphic methods



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University