with Will Howell


What can black aesthetics teach you about influence and inspiration?


Will Howell is a Communication Design student at Parsons School of Design. For thesis, Will devoted his thesis project to explore more of his ident-
ity. Will is an African-American designer. 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. For his second experim-
ent, he wanted to move from found material to original material. Will wanted to explore what
his aesthetic is like as a black designer. The final form will be a virtual exhibition that show-
cases the different garments designed. In this ep, I learned that the black aesthetic influences a lot of us in many different ways. Will also taught me a lot about what it means to try new things and
to be authentic in what I do.

Will's Website
Searching for a Black Aesthetic in American Graphic Design - Sylvia Harris
Transcript with visuals:


Will Howell: So in my book that I tried to make, I wanted to include just a wide range and variety of different examples that cross medium. So it would be fashion designers of black musicians, black painters, photographers, things of that sort.


Will Howell: That's how I understood the zeitgeist. So I think it has a lot to do with music, our culture, politics. It's just like, what's going on right now. I wanted to use
all that as reference to start my designing.


Will Howell: So it's a capsule of t-shirts, outerwear, pants, a few accessories, really basic, more geared toward athleisure. Given we are still in a pandemic, part of my project is really about finding different way to present. Like a virtual collection.