Price of Values

The purpose of this study is to inform advertisers, designers and consumers of our individual values, collective values and ethical standards.

Shruthi Manjula Balakrishna
Graduate student
Vermont College of Fine Arts

When stopped to consider the culture of the 21st century: Each morning, we hear a half dozen ads on the radio before our feet touch the floor. Staggering out of bed, we pass brand logos on our clothing and in our bathrooms. By the end of the day, hundreds – perhaps thousands of marketing messages would have targeted us, and yet so little is understood about how marketing affects our lives, our society, our world and most importantly, our personal values.

This research paper takes a hard look at the dangerous side effects of advertising – especially for women. The paper reviews how us women, who are biologically more vulnerable to alcohol than men, and who often suffer from depression and eating disorders, are more likely to seek connection to alcohol, food, and cigarettes, partly as a response to disconnection in our human relationships. The paper proposes that this disconnection is a sense of emptiness, and people who feel empty make great consumers. The text ponders on how this emptiness makes us turn to products, especially potentially addictive products, to fill us up, to make us feel whole.

Additionally, the paper deliberates the importance of responsible and empathetic design to make real, world changing, culture defining, values shaping difference. It discusses how every one of us designers in the advertising industry have an important role to play, and since the advertising industry played a part in building and setting in motion the wagon of consumerism and capitalism that is now diving us to the edge of the cliff, we should help solve these worldwide problems in a responsible and engaging way.

To demonstrate the observations, research, and opinions discussed in the paper, posters were designed in pop-art style because pop-art is not only drawn form mass media and popular culture, but is also “coolly” ambivalent. Whether that suggests an acceptance of the popular world or a shocked withdrawal is viewer interpretation – all with a sprinkle of parody.

The purpose of this study is to inform advertisers, designers and consumers that our individual values, collective values and ethical standards define us both as individuals and as people.

The Process Of Exploring the Next Urban Condition

Adam Fromme
MFA Candidate
Department of Design
The Ohio State University

Urban transportation within the United States is at a critical point.

The automobile dictates our infrastructure, but there is a hunger for something else. Many mass transit solutions ignore the need to develop unique urban neighborhood identities. It seems time for a different approach. The Ohio State University’s Department of Design (Columbus, Ohio, USA) held a 16-week graduate studio in the spring of 2016 to explore this idea, based in our city’s needs.

The course structure provided a defined pathway through the problem’s complexity while allowing ‘the question’ to be responsive to the research. This sensitivity to the moment is in sharp contrast to traditional path-to-goal curriculum, yet reflective of most professional-facing design projects. While uncomfortable at times for the students, within this flexible format they were able to apply practices, trends, and technologies to specific city-, neighborhood-, and street-based needs in a system that would serve the unique needs of Columbus.

The deliverable was an immersive installation in a gallery space corresponding to the Barnett Symposium “Planning Creative Cities” 11–13 May 2016 in Columbus, Ohio. The 6 diverse graduate design students and their professor explored social change in a metro area, realizing that sometimes the best spark for change can come from building the tools to change the conversation.