Design and Layout • Inspiration That MICA Vibe

A data-driven generative art project creates 75,000 unique book covers.  

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest degree-granting art school in North America, but it’s also vibrantly progressive and innovative. Looking for a novel way showcase the school’s vibrant campus life and get prospective students excited about enrolling, Debra Rubino, the school’s vice president of strategic communications, set out to partner with a design firm to help design a campus publication. Ultimately, karlssonwilker was chosen, for its idea involving a schoolwide generative art project. 

Learn more about the project in our video. (Click to watch.)

The idea involved a MICA “campus recording apparatus” (CRA).  With a multitude of sensors placed throughout the campus, the student-operated CRA tracked a variety of inputs that represented the “vibe” of the campus for two weeks in the spring of 2019. The data stations were themed: sound, motion, mood, and love. (Descriptions of how data was captured can be found on the MICA Vibe website.) The stations’ sensors produced a constant flow of data that was processed and rendered in real-time before being archived as generative art that would eventually be used on book covers. 

Each piece of art was unique, originating from a “seed” image designed by MICA MFA graphic design students with guidance from karlssonwilker. The result was 75,000 composite images, each representing the “vibe” of the MICA campus at a specific moment in time.

The Campus Recording Apparatus will remain installed indefinitely, available to students and faculty to continue exploring its variety of data streams. 

Executive creative director: Dan Cowles, Adobe

Associate creative director: Erik Espera, Adobe

Senior producer: Kristi Highum

Cinematographers: Dave Brown, Matt Boyd

Sound: Brian Buckley, Dwayne Dell

Editor: Julie Caskey

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