karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus
 

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

karlssonwilker — the award-winning graphic design firm founded by hjalti karlsson and jan wilker — is a full-service creative studio active in the fields of branding, signage, wayfinding, packaging, strategy and ideation for cultural and corporate clients. the new york-based firm’s tight-knit team of designers has worked on projects ranging from bold creative for vitra and swatch, to the redesign of bloomberg markets magazine, and several museum branding projects — including the remai modern in canada and the reykjavik art museum in iceland.

 

karlssonwilker was recently tapped by the maryland institute college of art (MICA) to showcase the vibrant student life on campus through a new edition of their prospectus — a publication used to attract applications for admission.

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

 

 

every three years, MICA — a vibrantly progressive, leading art and design school in north america — commissions a publication to be sent to prospective students around the world, mainly high school-age artists and designers. the institution approached karlssonwilker to ‘capture the heartbeat of the community’, and help attract the most promising students by departing from the traditional norms of institutional publications from art and design schools. in both answering and pushing the boundaries of the brief, karlssonwilker collaborated with MICA’s admissions and communications teams to produce an edition of 68,000 unique books to be distributed over the next three years.

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

 

 

in creating the cover artwork for the prospectus, karlssonwilker initiated a participatory program called ‘interactive spaces’. students engaged in the class devised and built campus recording apparatuses (CRA) that were designed to capture two weeks’ worth of moments across the baltimore campus in april 2019. these student-run sensor stations tracked and recorded goings-on, ranging from the mundane — such as the weather, light and ambient sound — to the personal, like student moods and interactions. the stations procured a constant flow of data, which was processed and rendered in real time.

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

 

 

karlssonwilker then developed a system to transform the data collected on campus into a composition of shapes, lines and colors. these vibrantly-colored graphic configurations were turned into printable files and archived as print-ready book covers. internally, the lettering that defines each of the chapter openings has been innovatively designed with the use of virtual reality — an unusual technique for a typographic element.

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

 

 

each cover composition was saved with a location, time, and date, resulting in 68,000 composite images of campus happenings at specific moments. data becomes hypnotically-shaped imagery that communicates the ‘pulse’ of the student body, with neon hues and exploding geometries rendering a striking scheme. every book becomes a one-of-a-kind artifact generated by karlssonwilker’s ingenuity, the campus recording apparatus, and MICA’s students, offering prospective students an abstract, yet decodable glimpse into vibrant life on campus.

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

 

 

discover more work by karlssonwilker on designboom here, and read our interview with its founders hjalti karlsson and jan wilker on how they met and started the studio, their design ‘taboos’, and the fascinations feeding into their creative practice. 

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

karlssonwilker captures vibrant campus-life with 68,000 unique books for MICA's prospectus

 

 

project info: 

 

designer: karlssonwilker 

client: maryland institute college of art (MICA)

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