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WHAT IS DESIGN & ARCHITECTURAL PR?

Architectural PR is Understanding the architect’s work and devising interesting concepts around their work. We work on their websites, social-media, curate & execute events, send press-releases, etc.

ARCHITECTURAL EVENTS & GATHERINGS

Aziz was a part of ideating D/CODE 2018 as well as executing and planning the same.

DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA

PR entails not only handling websites, online & offline publications and events but also curate social media platforms and establish the design firm’s narrative online.

A SNIPPET OF A PRESS-RELEASE CREATED BY EZTABLISH DESIGN COMMUNICATIONS

“An Architectural Digest publishes different projects from say, Domus and so on. The format of the press-release, the language used, and the projects pitched, are different.”

PRESS & PUBLICATIONS

A snippet of work published in a print magazine content for one of Eztablish’s clients.

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Lab 22 Nov 2018

Alternatives: Of starting-up in design & architectural PR, with Aziz Amin

In our previous articles under ‘Alternatives’, CQ spoke about the allied fields in architectural writing and photography. Both, enabled by the digital boom, are emerging career options and fields. Meanwhile, public relations (PR) for architects and designers has parallely developed to bridge media and designers. It not only engages photography and writing but also engages in the areas of on-ground events and branding & marketing for studios. CQ speaks to Aziz Amin of Eztablish Design Communication, a PR firm exclusively for architects and designers, and goes into depths of the trade and craft.

Aziz Amin of Eztablish Design Communication, a PR firm focussed on architecture and design, worked on the editorial side of media before starting his venture. But what comes as a surprise is that he has a management degree as well. How did Aziz, a management graduate, meet architecture and what led him to the specialised vocation?

Can you tell us about your background; what did you study, where did you work and how did architectural PR happen?

Post my Bachelors of Management Studies (BMS), I worked on content with Index Media for Index Furniture Journal in 2009. Upon receiving materials from PR agencies, I understood how press-releases worked (formats, pictures, etc.) I could gauge which projects would be shortlisted before the magazine designers made the final call. I also did basic PR for the Index Fair Trade.

WHAT IS DESIGN & ARCHITECTURAL PR?

Architectural PR is Understanding the architect’s work and devising interesting concepts around their work. We work on their websites, social-media, curate & execute events, send press-releases, etc.

Later I worked at Nahar Group as a copywriter for 6 months in 2015. I was the Assistant Editor at Home & Design TRENDS Magazine and GoodHomes Magazine for 1.5 years. In January 2018, I started Eztablish Design Communication.

Many architecture firms now have in-house media teams, a single person, maybe an architect, or hire an external agency for the same.

Since you started working in 2009, how has the field (architectural media & PR) progressed?

The digital boom has enabled interesting work in PR; much interesting content is being generated online. Many architecture firms now have in-house media teams, a single person, maybe an architect, or hire an external agency for the same.

But there are negatives. Earlier there were a few print magazines. Today there are many online portals. But to be a highly ranked website, you need to churn content continuously. And if you create content solely for numbers, quality dwindles.

ARCHITECTURAL EVENTS & GATHERINGS

Aziz was a part of ideating D/CODE 2018 as well as executing and planning the same.

Earlier there was a clear difference between editorial and advertorial. Now people pay for publications too.

What led you to start a PR agency for architects and designers?

During my employment as an editor, I realised that there was often room for improvement with respect to the quality of material and content that I received. The images would sometimes be of substandard quality or resolution; content would be shoddy or just all praise about the brand/product they were trying to promote. What they failed to understand was that any experienced writer would only be interested in facts and important information, which made me think that maybe there is a need of a design specific PR agency that can make life a bit easier for the media professionals as well.

Architects converse a lot, which is good, but it’s time-consuming to rephrase and articulate it. And often the essence of design wasn’t captured in the press releases. That’s the gap I want to bridge and also ease a magazine editor’s work.

Is architectural PR different from other forms of PR?

No. PR has bifurcations – finance, entertainment, infrastructure, etc.with their list of media houses. Architecture and design is perhaps a new segment and while fundamentals and strategies remain constant, it calls for technical knowledge of design. A designer or architect working in architectural PR will understand and communicate efficiently without back-and-forth with the designer. The same holds true for other segments as well.

DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA

PR entails not only handling websites, online & offline publications and events but also curate social media platforms and establish the design firm’s narrative online.

Who should pursue architectural PR?

One who can don multiple hats: photography, content, web-design, communication, marketing skills, handling & coordinating events, etc. Design knowledge beyond architecture, is important – like graphic design, web-design, etc.

A SNIPPET OF A PRESS-RELEASE CREATED BY EZTABLISH DESIGN COMMUNICATIONS

“An Architectural Digest publishes different projects from say, Domus and so on. The format of the press-release, the language used, and the projects pitched, are different.”

The PR agency or agent coordinates with the architect’s web-designer, their graphic designers, etc. They will handle the architect’s photographer, a media professional, and the architect themselves. And events are an adrenaline boost but you have to be on your toes, think fast, and so on. After months of regular work, events are a welcome challenge.

Architecture and design is perhaps a new segment in PR and while fundamentals and strategies remain constant, it calls for technical knowledge of design.

What goes into building PR for architects and designers?

Understanding the architect’s work and communicating interesting aspects of their work. For example, a designer works with flamed wood where the wood is burnt and rendered black as it increases longevity. To a novice it may seem like painted wood but we spin a narrative around the qualities of the wood.

The designer’s social media feed is curated accordingly. Their work is communicated to the media for features. You need to understand design and the tonality of the publication where you’re they are pitching. An Architectural Digest publishes different projects from say, Domus and so on. The format of the press-release, the language used, and the projects pitched, are different.

PRESS & PUBLICATIONS

A snippet of work published in a print magazine content for one of Eztablish’s clients.

You need to also keep a tab of events, launches, gatherings etc., and either participate or attend them.

What measurable/quantifiable work or services does that entail?

Getting the client featured and out in the limelight is, of course, our primary aim. Beyond that, we ensure that basics like the website, brochures, project photographs, etc. are in place. We create booklets, coffee-table books for promotions. We handle social-media, produce and direct videos; drone shoots, etc. for digital media. Curating, conceptualising and executing events like exhibitions, product launches, etc. is another aspect. We register our clients for design awards. We do press-releases. 

Overall, if you enjoy doing a bunch of creative things at once and have a knack for architecture, you could explore architectural PR. 

Found this interesting? Go check them out here! And, remenber we spoke about discussing allied fields of architecture? That’s this!