Nadia Ayad side by side with her contest-winning background. Credit | Michael Lee (picture of Ayad) and Ohio State (background)

On March 5, Ohio State announced the Digital Flagship iPad Wallpaper Contest, where students could design a wallpaper for a chance to have it installed on more than 10,000 iPads distributed to incoming freshmen.

Nadia Ayad, a fourth-year in industrial design, first heard about the contest through an email from her academic adviser. Ayad said she usually never checks her emails, but this time she did and decided to participate in the contest.

And it paid off, because she placed first.

While creating the wallpaper, Ayad said she had been inspired by other similar layouts where there were small icons rather than one central image. On the scarlet wallpaper, students can see images such as headphones, icons representing different sports and a plant.

“For a place like OSU, I don’t know one central image would be, and I think typically those central images are sports related,” Ayad said. “I try not to say that like in an offensive way, it’s just I wanted to make something that had a little bit of everything for everyone that sees it.”

The wallpaper has many images on it — one is a pyramid, which Ayad said she added because it represents her Egyptian heritage. The other images? Nothing “super personal.”

“I think I just wanted to do something that was fun and inviting for a freshman who is coming here to not be scared to just be like ‘oh this is something I would draw in my notebook the side of a piece of paper,” Ayad said. “It’s like kind of a good introduction to college and it’s not like too serious.”

For Ayad, the thought of the iPads having her wallpaper on it is sometimes scary. She said she is always hard on herself, questioning if they could be better and if others will think the design is “lame.”

But she said she is able to get past her nerves about it because she realizes the students are not going to be opening up the iPad to judge her work.

”It’s just like an added little wrapping paper on it, and I think that’s a pretty cool wrapping paper to have,” she said.

Ayad said for incoming freshmen, there are a few things she wants them to keep in mind when beginning their college careers. She said she encourages students to get involved and find out what they truly want to do with their lives — whether it then be changing their majors or taking more classes of that same variety — and taking advantage of the resources Ohio State provides for its students.

“Do it in a way that’s playful, always have wonder, always observe your surroundings especially here at school because there’s so many things that you’ll miss if you’re not being present,” Ayad said.