As the lead designer of Thacher Gallery, I had the pleasure of working with the Museum Studies master students on their debut exhibition. The students devise the overarching theme, and curate the exhibition, selecting from a pool of hundreds of submission, including art and design projects. My job was to apply their vision to the marketing materials, wall texts, and any other props they had in mind for the physical space.
The biggest challenge for this project was consolidating the ideas of the 30+ students in the class, and interpreting them into a feasible concept that would satisfy everyone. This involved a lot of back-and-forth with the class, sitting in on their brainstorming sessions, and visualizing several iterations of directions we could take. Working with a class like this was a great lesson in collaborating with non-designers and following the lead of a patron, or in this case a group of them. I had a great time seeing how different minds think about the same problems, and building better solutions with that extra intel.
The word Eudaimonia roughly translates to "human flourishing." We decided the colors early on, multiple shades of blue (for life and sustenance) and peach as a complementary color for balance. The class wanted to place an emphasis on people and how their experiences in life differ. This made for a very broad body of work, of all kinds of mediums and styles. The main goal for the exhibition design was to bring this eclectic collection of work together under a unified umbrella.
I had about a week to create the call-for poster, which would set the tone for the entire identity. I proposed two directions—one with a collage aesthetic and one with a more geometric style. The consensus was that the geometric style matched the modern look of the curation and provided more flexibility to showcase the various artworks. The final poster (below) contains various, floating shapes.
This geometric pattern led into the construction of a honeycomb in the final event collateral, as the works showcased came together under one theme. The honey cells each feature a piece that was in the exhibition. The use of the honeycomb pattern represented the connectivity of the human experience.
I was also asked to create two signs that would hang on the wall, in place of a central wall text. These signs would explain the concept behind the exhibition, as written by the class, and highlight those who contributed to the exhibition. The signs reference the honeycomb pattern of the main poster, sans artwork, with expanded cells to contain the bulk of text and assist with clarity and legibility.
The gallery director, Glori Simmons, requested a set of "Do Not Touch" and "Okay to Touch" stickers that could be used to identify interactive pieces and fragile piece that were not encased or framed. The stickers followed the same design language as the other materials in the exhibition, with an orange and blue color scheme, and simple style.
I also created a postcard that was sent out to advertise the dates and times of key events and the duration of the exhibition. The postcard is a more compact form of the central poster, at about 1/3 scale. I kept the honeycomb, with some extra, blank cells removed, and separated the information into two sections, front and back.
Below are images of the exhibition materials inside the gallery.
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