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Graphic design alumni showcase creativity in campus art exhibit

"From Picas to Pixels" is open to the public until November 18. (Northern Review photo/Kasy Long)

Art expresses emotions in a subtle form and imaginative creation, as Ohio Northern University students are learning through a variety of art design projects and examining creative art forms by several alumni.

A current "From Picas to Pixels" exhibition in the Elzay Gallery of Art features work completed by the Department of Art and Design's graphic design alumni, including 2009 graphic design alumnus AJ Jimenez and 2015 advertising design alumna Abby Brown

The exhibit is on display until November 18. The gallery is open to the public daily from 1-4:30 p.m. 

As art director for Recess Creative, Jimenez helped the Cleveland-based agency win a prestigious Silver Addy and Best of Show awards from the Great Lakes region of the American Advertising Federation. He provides art direction and design in all mediums, with a strong emphasis in interactive design. 

Meanwhile, Brown is a creative associate for Rasor Marketing Communications near Cincinnati and works on a variety of design-related freelance projects, including her designs for the Cincinnati Bengals. 

"Most of these alumni represented in this exhibit were my former students. So, to say the least, I am very proud of their accomplishments," said Brit Rowe, associate professor in graphic design. His is the curator for this special exhibition. 

For the exhibit, Rowe tried to involve alumni from various decades and graduate classes. He wanted a sense of variety in the work. The exhibition includes app designs, comic books, exhibit designs from the Air & Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution, branding design and advertising design. 

ONU graphic design students learn how to combine typography and images to communicate ideas to a general public. The program blends artistic concepts with the technical know-how needed for production. Students learn how to research, work on a team, and think critically and creatively.

My basic philosophy of education begins with teaching students the foundation of good design: composition, color theory, typography, visual syntax, etc.,” Rowe commented. “Then, as the student moves through the program, I feel it’s important to strengthen the understanding of conceptual skills, writing, verbal expression, semantics, narrative structures, design history along with an understanding of the social, cultural and functional possibilities of design. Together, we investigate design thinking, the foundation of our program. But, ultimately, I want to engage students in the learning process so they learn how to learn.”

The department prides itself in preparing students to have a large portfolio of professional-quality work that will help them be productive in their careers, like the alumni featured in the art exhibit. 

ONU should be proud of our alumni success—from a well-known illustrator, an exhibit designer, to branding designers,” Rowe said.

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In another interesting art exhibit on campus, the department invites the public to visit “Get Out the Vote,” in the Stambaugh Studio Theatre Gallery inside the Freed Center for the Performing Arts. The exhibit features posters designed by current ONU graphic design students, all featuring political statements. The exhibit runs through November 11. The gallery is open daily to the public.