Music that Makes

I created a range of promotional materials for the Holiday Scholarship Concert, an annual musical performance produced by Hayes School of Music in Boone, NC.

Concert Poster 1 Concert Poster 2 Concert Poster 3 Concert Poster 4


Every year the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University puts on the Holiday Scholarship Concert. Held in the Schaefer Center, the program features a wide range of ensembles from the School of Music including choral groups, percussion bands, brass choirs, and many more, and performs a wide variety of musical genres from many eras. Admission is charged, and proceeds go to scholarship funds applied to students in the music programs.

Promotional materials for the concert in previous years have been limited to one poster, copies of which are placed on bulletin boards around campus and on King Street, and in some bus stops. Posters from previous years have suffered from a variety of design issues including poor resolution and illegibility. More importantly, the posters had failed to attract as much interest as hoped for by the body in charge of the concert.

I used Processing, a programming environment, to analyze pieces of music from the concert program to generate visual forms and compositions based on the properties of the music itself.

Early Digital Exploration
Early exploration as I learned how to analyze and respond to the audio data.
Sample of first possible posters
In the first viable solution I reached, the forms were based on the hexagonal structure of ice and snowflakes and had a color palette reminiscent of ice and typical holiday colors. But the result was too quiet, and worse, reviewers said it reminded them more of architecture than ice.

I began again and developed an entirely different visual system that evoked snowflakes, frost, and Christmas trees, and employed a color palette that referenced seasonal colors without being predictable.

The final system of materials was four 11"x17" posters that were mass produced and scattered throughout the community, a 2'x3' poster, and numerous compositions for online promotion.

Before the concert as guests were filling the venue, the forms were generated in real time on large displays from the pre-concert music.