Publicrea, a Design Competition to open our Eyes Towards a More Humane World
The Advertising Department at Antonin University is launching a design competition aimed at generating ideas designed to help visually-impaired people in Lebanon through The Lebanese Association for the Blind (ALNB).
On the importance of design for social change
Antoine Bakhos, Head of the department, pondered the question of whether design could be an avenue for social change, and how such efforts could be organised into effective and impactful initiatives by design practitioners, ad agencies, and organisations.
Bakhos commented: "The social responsibility of advertisers lies in part in believing that brands' communication can positively affect society, in a way or another and that it can even have a role in the betterment of society. Design for social change is a responsibility brands and advertisers must carry, as creative professionals can play an important role by creating and executing socially-minded work--what is commonly referred to as “nonprofit work”-- designed to affect social behaviour. However, this implies an attitude and an approach to life: as such, it can help us frame how we want to live in the future."
On the importance of design for the betterment of society, Bakhos says: "Graphic arts, throughout the years, has given way to a different kind of discipline that emphasises the artistic side of design more than ever before. Today, it tries to find pragmatic solutions to real and vital social problems. For that very reason, we have taken great care to institute so said changes into our Information and Communication Programme at the Faculty."
About the competition
The 'Publicrea' competition, was launched by the university’s advertising department with the collaboration of The Lebanese Association for the Blind, (ALNB), a humanitarian organisation dedicated to support people with visual impairment in their diverse individual, social and economic activities. While the secondary goal is to raise funds and recruit supporting staff required to sustain the organisation’s initiative, the primary focus is to alter public perception of people who find difficulty in communicating with visually- impaired individuals. Students who sign-up for the challenge are required to design a press campaign that directly addresses that requirement by midMarch with results to be announced shortly thereafter.
The objective of this competition is to level down the absolute indifference towards people with visual impairment, as these people don't see everything black. Indeed, the most important challenge while crafting a campaign on this topic, is to keep in mind that visually-impaired people are gifted by an internal perception that allows them to often see deeper than people with normal vision. It is noteworthy to mention great figures in the likes of Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Andrea Bocelli, to name but a few, who have made a name for themselves across the world and on the global artistic scene. Therefore, we must stop our collective conscience from sinking deeper into this indifference or this passive compassion and start taking action to do justice to these marginalized citizens.
Most importantly, such design initiatives suggest that collaboration between designers, and across schools and communities, has the potential to generate even more compelling similar projects — with the potential for deeper design engagements that successfully impact the quality of life in our towns and cities.