Though all of the students pushed themselves creatively and professionally, Jay Berg's design for Roya Yazdanmehr's album (left) and Sohee Kim's design for Kevin Dean's album were named the winners.

Creativity and innovation shine as part of Bent River Records album design competition

January 29, 2021 | Arts & Culture

While all of their designs showed incredible creativity and innovation, only two Typography II students could be selected to win the Bent River Records album design competition.

Bent River Records is MacEwan University's in-house record label, and since 2018, design students have participated in its the competition, which Assistant Professor Constanza Pacher says requires students to fulfill several key components: interviewing musicians; conceptualizing designing and preparing files for submission; and giving formal final presentations to the artists and members of the Bent River Records team.

“This project provides students a truly unique experiential learning opportunity — to participate in a simulation that provides an actual client-designer interaction that exposes students to what they can expect in the industry," says Pacher. "What is different in the classroom is that they get coaching while they practice real-life competencies, and develop both the technical and interpersonal skills needed for success, in a safe and encouraging environment.”

Jay Berg's design for Roya Yazdanmehr's album, Breath and Being, and Sohee Kim's design for Kevin Dean's Going Down Slow earned each student a $750 honorarium, though Pacher commends all 54 of her students for pushing their creativity and professionalism on this project.

See all the students' designs on Instagram @constanza.pacher_typography.

“As a grad of the Bachelor of Design program, this competition is one of my favourite ways that we get to bring in student collaboration at the record label," says Kristjan Buckingham (BDes '20), senior associate with the label. "It’s so impressive to see the amazing variety of concepts and all of the unique interpretations that everyone comes up with.”

Past album cover designs played a key role in inspiring Dr. Craig Monk, MacEwan's provost & vice-president, Academic, who, after walking by a display of the designs in Allard Hall one day, was so impressed that he made a donation to Bent River Records to ensure future students could continue having such career-building opportunities.

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