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Stanford Essay: The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning.

Ding! I had just received an email in response to the first draft of my 2018 yearbook cover design. “We like the background, but the illustrated academy symbols are lacking originality.” How could I create a clever retro-themed cover that integrated the visual, theatre, music, and dance academies of my school?

After a week of researching countless works, I discovered that styles from the 1900’s-1920’s resonated the strongest for this project. Finally, I was ready to transcend my own limitations.

Referencing the artistic movement of De Stijl, I restricted my color palette to shades of red, teal, and primrose yellow. I incorporated contemporary trends and Russian constructivism to transform the numbers “2018” into bold geometric shapes. These were then layered and intermixed with figures, instruments, and artistic tools all influenced by the jazz art of the Harlem Renaissance. What was a “0” had become the lens of a camera, and what was an “8” had become a cello being strummed.

In many ways, I saw my artwork as a geometry puzzle. Each shape was created in Photoshop with Bezier curves, whose control points I manipulated to stretch along tangential lines. The background flowed with cubistic angles and converging colors that wrapped around the cover. After numerous revisions, both sides of my artistic equation eventually found balance.

Research and experimentation allowed me to discover unique ways to combine design concepts, math principles, and my school culture. While the cover was a success, the true reward was in the process. 

Published in Successful College Essays, Successful Stanford Essays

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