BGSU team wins design award for Toledo project


BOWLING GREEN, O.—Bowling Green State University faculty and alumni have helped put Toledo “on the map” as it were, and the public can read about their International Design Award-winning efforts in the March issue of HOW magazine.

The “You Are Here” project, sponsored by the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, was among 20 Outstanding Achievement Award winners in the competition hosted by HOW magazine. Of nearly 1,000 submissions, 242 were accepted and only 20 overall were recognized as “Outstanding.”

The AIGA (the professional association for design) Toledo team was led by Jenn Stucker, an assistant professor of graphic design in the School of Art, as creative director and project manager. The Creative Production Team included graphic design instructor Amy Fidler (who is also a BGSU alumna) and alumni artists Ben Morales and Zach Zollar, along with fellow designer Matt Rowland.

Their challenge was to enhance awareness about Toledo and create a stronger sense of place, both for visitors to the city during last summer’s International Glass Arts Society conference and also for Toledo residents. In the process they employed not only graphic design but mobile technology and a “collect the dots” contest for participants.

AIGA Toledo had partnered with the Arts Commission in previous years to bring attention to the arts and the city, using banners and window displays. But this time, instead of prompting people to look up, the team wanted them to look down.

They devised a plan to emulate the “You are here” dots sometimes found on tourist maps. “Using the circular shape of a dot (at three feet in diameter), 100 northwest Ohio artists, designers and students were asked to make a powerful visual statement in response to their assigned dot’s location,” Stucker wrote in the case study for the project. Of the 100, 38 were BGSU alumni, students or faculty from the School of Art, including Fidler and Stucker plus Kim Adams, Todd Childers, Linda Sattler, Sara Schleicher, and Lori Young.

“Toledo is known as the Glass City for its rich history in glass innovation, and many of the locations for the project were chosen to highlight that history,” Stucker said. “Our research led us to relevant locations such as the Libbey Glass Outlet, The Libbey House, Owens Corning, The Toledo Museum of Art and Glass Pavilion and the Blair Museum of Lithophanes, to name a few.”

“The project was unique to Toledo and showcased the amazing artistic talent and places of this region,” Stucker said.

In addition to viewing the dots, smartphone users could click on a QR (quick response) code that took them to an informative site about the history of the location, the art and the artist. The first 100 people to “collect” 25 dots received a special edition silk-screened poster. The mobile app was developed by Hanson Inc.

For non-smartphone users, each dot featured the project’s URL so they could learn more about the work at their convenience.

The team enlisted the help of citizens, including librarians and historians, to compile the information about each site, which expanded the sense of “ownership” and enthusiasm for “You Are Here.”

“My favorite aspect was the amazing responses we got from Toledoans, who fell in love with their city all over again. Some residents were getting smartphones just so they could participate in collecting the dots,” Stucker said.

“You Are Here” was widely covered in the press and Stucker presented it at the national AIGA leadership conference. For more on the project, visit http://www.youareheretoledo.com/

HOW, a leading business and creativity magazine for graphic designers, has been published for 20 years and hosts the largest annual gathering of graphic designers in the U.S., HOW Design Live.

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(Posted April 24, 2013 )