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Advertising Design Students at Ohio Northern University create national campaign to unplug

ImageFebruary—Do you have multiple cell phones? Take your ipad to the beach on vacation? Ever find it hard to get through a conversation without posting an update to Facebook or Instagram? Is your computer always on?

Students in an advertising design course at Ohio Northern University tackled these questions and more to learn about advocacy and community. Through the assignment, the students partnered with Reboot to design a campaign for the National Day of Unplugging. The students’ solutions, that addressed a pertinent social issue, raised general awareness about the importance of a better quality of life and required them to reflect on core values and ethical responsibility as a designer.

National Day of Unplugging is a 24-hour period, running from sunset to sunset, held March 7–8. The project is an outgrowth of The Sabbath Manifesto, “an adaptation of our ancestors’ ritual of carving out one day per week to unwind, unplug, relax, reflect, get outdoors, and connect with loved ones,” (Reboot).

The students’ series of ads communicated and asserted their client’s viewpoint—to take a digital detox to improve productivity at work, restore the ability to focus and strengthen the connections with people. Integrating visual advocacy with an academic subject was an ideal methodology for students to develop such a campaign.

According to Reboot, “We increasingly miss out on the important moments of our lives as we pass the hours with our noses buried in our iPhones and BlackBerry’s, chronicling our every move through Facebook and Twitter and shielding ourselves from the outside world with the bubble of ‘silence’ that our earphones create.

“If you recognize that in yourself—or your friends, families or colleagues—join us for the National Day of Unplugging, sign the Unplug pledge and start living a different life. Connect with the people in your street, neighborhood and city, have an uninterrupted meal or read a book to your child.”

The project was created by members of the Reboot network. Founded in 2002, Reboot engages and inspires young cultural creatives, innovators and thought-leaders who, through their candid and introspective conversations and creativity, generate projects that impact the world. Reboot is responsible for producing some of the most influential and innovative Jewish books, films, music, web sites and large-scale public events of the past five years.

The mission of the Ohio Northern graphic design program is to prepare undergraduate students to become socially and environmentally aware leaders in the field of visual communication. Focusing on development and mastery of conceptual and technical skills in graphic design, illustration, and advertising as well as studio electives, cross disciplinary courses and collaborative experiences prepare students for the convergence of the design fields and for positions as creative directors across a broad spectrum of increasingly media-based careers. Graduates from the program have gone on to work at companies such as Wunderman Design, Foothold Design, Smithsonian Institution, Milan Historical Museum, NiSource, Bubbles Academy, and Recess Creative.

Originally designated as the School of Fine Arts and later the College of Fine Arts, the art & design program was first established as an independent academic unit at Ohio Northern in 1878, largely as an outgrowth of course work in engineering and architectural drawing. Today, Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts with concentrations in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and pre-art therapy. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education, AIGA: The Professional Association for Design, and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the second and third editions of “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2013–14 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.