After nine years in the museum design business, I know what will happen when people ask me where I work. Our name draws a blank look, so then I say, “We design and build museum exhibits.” I can see the light bulb turning on in their mind. Telling someone what we do opens a door on an industry few members of the general public know about. That’s how it was with me when I first heard about Taylor Studios at grad school in Ann Arbor. I never thought about how museums created their exhibits, but it was obvious that serious thought had gone into how these artifacts and models were displayed. (more…)
In our profession, as in many, collaboration is essential – both inter-office, and external. Our clients hire us because we’re good listeners and we’re responsive to their needs. They hire us for our collaborative practice. They don’t hire us because we’re “yes” men (or women); but for our expertise and expert opinion. If you were to request a polar bear model be added to your salt-water marsh exhibit, we’re going to
tell you the hard truth recommend against it. I’ve heard many stories from clients in my time in this industry – many who have worked with great, mediocre, and plain bad designers.
People get excited about the simplest things. As designers we can use this to our advantage. For example, take a look at this installation. It’s certainly eye catching, it has movement through light, it’s collaborative, and best of all it’s simplistic in its concept. Turning on a light is something we do every day. But this makes it exciting! This makes something as simple as pulling on a string an experience.
Like most graphic designers, there is a special place in my heart for typography. As a graphic designer at an exhibit design firm, I am especially intrigued by how type and text can be used dimensionally within a space.
Type helps set the mood for a design—think vintage hand painted lettering, ornate calligraphic script, crisp typewriter text—each evokes a specific aesthetic. When designing an exhibit, typographic cues become even more important, helping set a visitor within a specific era or genre and appealing to a certain demographic. (more…)