37 min

08. What can black aesthetics teach you about influence and inspirations‪?‬ Work in Progress

    • Design

Will Howell is a senior studying Communication Design at Parsons School of Design. For thesis, Will decided to devote his thesis project to explore more of his identity. Will is an African-American designer, so a lot of his research centers on black aesthetics in graphic design. In his first experiment, he curated a visual zine of some of the major contributing characters who make up the black design aesthetic over the past 100 years. Due to America's history of racism and poor documentation of the black existence, this zine became a point of reference for a younger version of himself. For his second experiment, he made the decision to pivot from found material to original material to try and do something he had never done before, which is to design a capsule collection. He wanted to explore what his aesthetic is like as a black designer while keeping in mind some of the key points raised in Sylvia Harris's "Searching for a Black Aesthetic in American Graphic Design" essay. The final form will be a virtual exhibition that showcases the different garments designed with a concept called "starting from zero." This was a very meaningful conversation to me since it was my first time learning so much about black aesthetics—from the origins and history to the ideology itself. I learned that the black aesthetic influences a lot of us in many different ways which I think often gets overlooked. In the end, Will taught me a lot about what it means to try new things and to be authentic in what I do.

Will Howell is a senior studying Communication Design at Parsons School of Design. For thesis, Will decided to devote his thesis project to explore more of his identity. Will is an African-American designer, so a lot of his research centers on black aesthetics in graphic design. In his first experiment, he curated a visual zine of some of the major contributing characters who make up the black design aesthetic over the past 100 years. Due to America's history of racism and poor documentation of the black existence, this zine became a point of reference for a younger version of himself. For his second experiment, he made the decision to pivot from found material to original material to try and do something he had never done before, which is to design a capsule collection. He wanted to explore what his aesthetic is like as a black designer while keeping in mind some of the key points raised in Sylvia Harris's "Searching for a Black Aesthetic in American Graphic Design" essay. The final form will be a virtual exhibition that showcases the different garments designed with a concept called "starting from zero." This was a very meaningful conversation to me since it was my first time learning so much about black aesthetics—from the origins and history to the ideology itself. I learned that the black aesthetic influences a lot of us in many different ways which I think often gets overlooked. In the end, Will taught me a lot about what it means to try new things and to be authentic in what I do.

37 min