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The studios are filled with the quiet buzz of anticipation as faculty and students in Auburn’s School of Industrial and Graphic Design prepare to welcome friends, family, industry partners and alumni into their classrooms for a spring show titled “Kaleidoscope.”

The show, which will feature student work carefully curated by faculty members, will be judged by a jury of 27 design professionals.

“Being part of the design program, Kaleidoscope is a huge deal for us,” said student Maddie Hurley, President of Auburn’s chapter of the Industrial Design Society of America. “It’s where all the hard work we’ve put in, day in and day out, finally pays off, and it’s a testament to our love for design. It’s an honor to be a part of it, and we can’t wait to showcase what we’ve accomplished to everyone.”

Want to see what students have been up to? Register to attend on Monday, April 29, from 4-6 p.m.

A girl points to a design on a poster and a boy works on a computer

Visitors to Kaleidoscope will notice industrial design students use many mediums, including hand drawings and renders, digital sketching, foam sculpting, 3D printing and laser cutting, to generate and develop ideas for products and systems. Third-year student Brianna Parmley, left, created plans for outdoor enthusiasts to build their own portable car-top shower. Liam Gallagher, right, utilized artificial intelligence to experiment with how different materials and finishes might look on his compact coffee pot design.

A boy works winds up a spider toy; a picture of a pink shrimp wind up toy

Industrial design students take a different studio course every semester, each with a unique area of focus. Foundation and third-year studios are clearly defined, while senior-level studios often are open-ended. When they registered for Associate Professor Jerrod Windham’s class this past fall, students only knew the theme was “DIY.” They were excited to find themselves making 3D printed toys they could sell as do-it-yourself kits online, and now the best ones will be displayed at Kaleidoscope.

A room full of students working very hard to make guitars

Some senior studios might be open-ended, but not “FretHaus.” Each year, Professor Rich Britnell teaches this popular guitar design studio for graduating seniors and Master of Industrial Design students. Students gain an in-depth understanding of guitar components and construction with guidance from Professor of Practice Keith Medley, master luthier at Gibson Guitars.

A wooden guitar frame

FretHaus students design and build highly crafted guitars, basses, mandolins and other stringed instruments with unique functions, ergonomics and aesthetics. Student Brian McHugh now knows building guitars from scratch is a lot harder than it looks. “In other studios, we spend most of the semester designing things, but this is just all woodshop, really honing the craft of building a guitar,” he said. “As much as I would love to say it would only take about a week or two to build the whole guitar, it’s not that simple.”

Several young men look at drawings hung on a wall

As third- and fourth-year industrial design students discover, explore and solve problems for market opportunities and user needs, second-year students are being introduced to color theory, product semantics, ergonomics and a range of other fundamentals of design. Their projects are pinned to the walls to be shared and constructively critiqued by professors and fellow students.

People gather around a table filled with colorful paper fliers

While industrial design students are busy upstairs, graphic design students bustle between studios on the first floor as they prepare for Kaleidoscope. Students in Assistant Professor Devon Ward’s class will be displaying printed brochures featuring published articles that illustrate the principles of typographic hierarchy, paper quality and folding techniques. They studied how image-text relationships can be used to amplify the message of an article.

A woman stands over a girl and points at her work on a table

First-year graphic design students have spent this past semester learning about foundational concepts in Professor Kelly Bryant’s studio. Their contribution to Kaleidoscope will be accordion-style books of black and white images highlighting elements of design, including contrast, rhythm, pattern and composition.

A boy holds up a cell phone to show the screen to his friend

In addition to traditional forms of media, graphic design students also explore digital design through the development of apps and websites. Students in this second-year studio took a deep dive into the world of digital design. From innovative user interfaces and interaction design to apps that make life easier, they will showcase digital products that combine creativity with technical expertise.

SIGD School Head Wei Wang is excited for students to have the opportunity to share their work with a wide audience.

“It’s not just a display of talent,” he said. “It’s a chance to forge connections with our alumni and industry partners and keep them informed about our school’s progress. It’s also a powerful platform to spotlight the excellence of Auburn’s design education, amplifying the visibility and influence of our design programs."