Publi­crea, a De­sign Com­pe­ti­tion to open our Eyes To­wards a More Hu­mane World

ArabAd - - DESIGN -

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.

An­toine Bakhos

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