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​Student-created digital wallpaper will welcome new Ohio State students

The digital wallpaper that will greet thousands of new students at The Ohio State University orientation next month is a complex but lighthearted take on the student experience. It’s the artistic creation of third-year industrial design major Nadia Ayad.

“I wanted it to be something that encourages you to explore your options here,” she said.

Ayad’s is the winner of the first Digital Flagship iPad Wallpaper Contest. The contest is an annual opportunity for undergraduate students with art and design interest to have their work featured on the home screens of the largest mobile technology implementation in higher education. Ayad’s drawing will be pre-loaded on more than 10,000 devices distributed in the new academic year.

Her winning design is a quirky mix of images sure to evoke moments of a student’s life on campus. Doodles of pizza and doughnuts share the canvas with symbols from chemistry, agriculture and sport.

Ayad said the inspiration was deeply personal. She said when she was a first-year student at Ohio State, she struggled to connect.

“I couldn’t find my thing right away and it was really uncomfortable. So I just wanted to make something that had a tiny motif for everyone in it,” she said.

Ayad is a member of Smart Campus and the Amateur Radio Organization for Undergraduate Student Entertainment student organizations. She’s found her groove at Ohio State and hopes others will look at her illustration and do the same.

“Go with things that feel intuitive to you or that you’re naturally interested in. Don’t push things aside that you’re drawn to,” she said. “Especially here at Ohio State where there are a million options and so many people to help you.”

In addition to having her design displayed for all first-year students to see, Ayad will receive an iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil and a protective case. It’s the same technology suite at the heart of Ohio State’s Digital Flagship initiative.

New first-year students at the Columbus and regional campuses will receive the suite at orientation as part of the initiative. The technology integration is designed to support student success and prepare students for a modern, mobile workforce.

And the tools are only one part of the initiative. Digital Flagship will also bring an iOS design laboratory to support the development of new apps, and coding curriculum to help students learn the Swift coding language. Students will have access to coding resources, business partnerships and professional development opportunities through the design lab.

Ayad said the initiative is an exciting opportunity for new students on campus. For some of her peers, there is a struggle between technology and art. As designers, using computer-assisted tools, her classmates have debated the roles of humans and software in the creative process.

“For me, I’m just excited to embrace those things and know that the traditional methods are still there, but all of these tools can heighten any of your work,” she said.

Camille Victor's runner-up design

Ayad wasn’t the only winner. Camille Victor, a second-year strategic communications major, was the runner-up in the contest. Her photo illustration melds an image of Ohio Stadium with students cheering while showered in a burst of colorful light.

“To me, it just sums up the overall experience of elation from football games as well as welcome week or the spring concert where everyone comes together,” Victor said. “That air of excitement that everyone gets to share together.”

Victor will receive an iPad Pro package and will have her image available for download both on the iPad and on the Digital Flagship website.

Students Michaela Sobecki, Stephanie Homan and Ziwei Jin rounded out the top five submissions. All of the designs are available for download at the Digital Flagship website.