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Album Abstract

Kelcey Towell

WORKSHOP AIGA Student Conference 2016


Recently, AIGA St. Louis invited Jim Walker and I to participate in their annual Student Conference. As former co-chair of the AIGA STL Student Conference, I know firsthand how valuable these experiences are for young, idealistic designers, so I’ve made a habit of giving back wherever possible —whether participating as a guest critic for seniors at local universities or meeting with students about their careers and future pursuits. This year’s Student Conference was held at Maryville University, just a short drive from downtown St. Louis.

Album Abstract was a conditional design exercise focused on making album art. Students were restricted in the materials, methods, and time they had to produce a complete album presentation. The jumping off point? To respond to a song through color, texture, and form. We provided a wide array of colored papers, markers, and scissors, introducing each one at different stages.

Students began the exercise exploring with color, listening to the entire song, and reacting creatively through color in response. With their color palettes decided, we guided the students to experiment with making tangible patterns. Using the LetterMaker they focused on rhythm, pattern, and texture to develop their creative expression. Finally, students pulled everything together by containing those colors and textures into form, organizing their piece into a fixed space.

Results were varied, but each student was able to respond to these conditions in under 45 minutes and produce a considered piece of album art. Our hope is that they impose these types of conditions in future work and learn the value of such processes in making.

Selected Songs:
"The Sticks" by Budos Band
"The Yaba" by Battles
"Blue in Green" by Miles Davis