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Ohio Northern graphic design professor presenting at international design principles and practices conference in Chicago

February—Professor Brit Rowe, associate professor of art & design at Ohio Northern University, has been selected to present at the 9th International Conference on Design Principles and Practices, March 12–14, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.

The presentation titled, “Grafik Intervention: Sparking Urban Revitalization Efforts Through Graphic Design,” will describe how graphic designers can use their skills and knowledge to draw attention to—and invoke a solution to—the problem of urban decay.

Prof. Rowe will examine a Grafik Intervention held in Ada, Ohio, that brought awareness to an underutilized building and that inspired the local community to consider the potential the building held. As an open source project, it was originally conceived as an MFA graphic design thesis project at the Academy of Art University by William Culpepper. The event in Ada used an exhibit and digital projections to engage the public through visually dynamic and compelling communication methods with the goal to inspire community members to consider the potential of currently unused buildings in their community.

In January of this year, Prof. Rowe presented, “Grafik Intervention: Sparking Urban Revitalization Efforts Through Graphic Design” at the 13th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities held in Honolulu, Hawaii. More than 500 participants representing 30 countries attended that conference.

“Getting the students out of the studio and into the community engages these young designers in a thoughtful, community-based response to social engagement,” said Prof. Rowe. “We want our students to become socially and environmentally aware leaders in the field of visual communication.

“The project assignment should be seen as a way to emphasize the value of design by doing something valuable for the community and that should stimulate thought, dialog and action. Designers can also bring empathy and creativity to social challenges,” said Rowe. “The first helps to understand the human-centered solutions that can make a real difference in real people’s lives. Creativity can provide innovative solutions that have a measurable difference.”

The 9th International Conference on Design Principles and Practices will be held at the University Center Chicago. The conference addresses a range of critically important themes relating to design today. It is a cross-disciplinary forum which brings together researchers, teachers and practitioners to discuss the nature and future of design. The resulting conversations weave between the theoretical and the empirical, research and application, market pragmatics and social idealism.

Paper presentations, workshops/interactive sessions, posters/exhibits, and colloquia address design principles and practices through various themes including design education, design in society, design objects, design management and professional practice, design in society, visual design, and architectronic, spatial and environmental design. A special focus for this year’s conference concentrates on industrial–post-industrial–neo-industrial design, reflecting on the transformation of production.

Prof. Rowe is associate professor is graphic design at Ohio Northern and served as chair from 2002–2013. He joined the faculty in 1999 after receiving his M.F.A. degree in graphic design from the University of Michigan. He is a member of AIGA/The Professional Association for Design, the University and College Designers Association, Kappa Pi, Theta Chi, Order of Omega and Omicron Delta Kappa. He has exhibited regionally and has worked for a variety of clients. He also has collaborated with design students for local organizations such as the Ada Public Library, the Village of Ada, Restore Community Center, the Allen East Community Center and Ohio Northern. He recently curated Object and Graphic Design, an exhibit at ArtSpace/Lima that showcased the best graphic design from Northwest Ohio. Since 2006, he has presented at AIGA national design educators’ conferences, the Hawaii International Conference on the Arts and Humanities, and the International Conference on Design Principles and Practices in Chicago. He was invited as an external program consultant to review college art/design curricula, was selected as a juror for various regional and international competitions, and was included in Creative for a Cause, a social responsibility resource for advertising design educators. Prof. Rowe also was inducted into Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, received a teaching award from the College of Arts & Sciences Student Advisory Board, and recently received the Eleanor H. and Robert Biggs Endowed Chair in the Arts.

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 “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 2014–15 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.