August Heffner presented an educational lecture to an engaged crowd of AIGA DC members earlier this month. It was a tour of his experiences as a designer and Assistant Creative Director for the in-house design studio of the Museum of Modern Art. He did an excellent job of speaking to how design constraints can lead to creative solutions.
He began with an overview of the history of MoMA design that included the early business cards that the first director Alfred Barr designed, the unique Franklin Gothic No. 2. logotype design by Ivan Chermayeff and the custom typeface developed by Matthew Carter in 2004.
Most recently, a new MoMA identity system was designed by Paula Scher of Pentagram and Julia Hoffmann, MoMA’s Creative Director for Graphics and Advertising. This system that includes poster templates creates a structure for the overall look and feel of MOMA’s exhibit advertising. The design team has to remain true to the guidelines but also draw the audience into the art work of the exhibit. Each exhibit experience is different as demonstrated on the portfolio site for the MoMA Design Studio.
Let’s face it. He and the MoMA design team have really cool content to start with! Top that off with a personal engagement with the institution and the mission of outreach to the community and you’re going to get compelling, intriguing solutions to design challenges. Some of the exhibits August discussed included, Talk-to-Me , Abstract Expressionist New York , I am Still Alive , Marina Abramovic and Andy Warhol Motion Pictures.
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