It seems I am haunted by a specter of music festivals, specifically Austin City Limits Festival. I dislike derivative work on principle— to my knowledge I have not done anything resembling fan-art since the seventh grade. It seems limiting to be bound to someone else’s ideas and super cringy without proper execution. That being said, I am a sucker for working within a brand identity or typographical framework. Just today I was excitedly showing my recreation of the New York Time’s Op-Ed page to my classmates (most of whom have never read an Op-Ed I suspect). I am the same sucker for Austin City Limits— I love the type, the colors, the branding, and of course the music that I enjoy every year. Last year I found myself assigned to a project right on the heels of the fest, and I thought to myself, “Hey, I have the photos and the inspiration, I will just make an ACL-centric poster.” Learning nothing from the year prior, I decided to collect typography during my weekend at Zilker.

Take a photo of a band and no one bats an eye. Take a photo of typography at a music festival and everyone looses their minds. I love this selection of typography, but the feeling was not mutual even within the class. When I dropped the idea of using my photos in my poster, my type teacher’s eyes widened to a panic as the objections sputtered out. Look, I get it— the photos are rough, but a little photoshop magic would settle this straight away.

I should take a second to step back and explain the project. We were supposed to find letters around Austin, Texas for use in an alphabetical poster. Thats how it began at least— it seemed as the project went on the instructions got looser and the expectations rose. Here is just one of many rejected drafts— I suppose that this piece was sort of designed by committee, but hey, I’m here to please.

My classmates helped me decide on a map as my final organizational structure. Each letter is placed where it can be located in the fest, and the key to the right side denotes what word the letter was part of.