I came across a familiar sight on a recent visit to the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s “Graphic Design…Now in Production,” exhibition held on New York’s Governor’s Island.

Sydney artist Christopher Doyle’s 2008 project “Personal Identity Guidelines,” bears more than a passing resemblance to American Apparel’s sparse-chic ads.

In his piece, Doyle attempts to set—and live by—a set of rules governing his behavior, comportment, tone of voice, and preferred color palette. You can check out his criteria here.

The exhibition also includes works by textile and graphic design firm Maharam Digital, which created mural-sized designs, including this one called “Dutch Clouds.” Up close, the pattern is made up of geometric forms. When viewed from a distance, the image depicts a cloud-filled sky.



The exhibition also includes several interactive pieces, including an Interactive Poster Wall, which crowd sources online posters with the hashtag #posterwall and adds them to the wall. Exhibition visitors can move the posters around the wall and get more information by scanning a QR code on each poster.


Visitors also are encouraged to weigh in on several rebranding efforts in a piece by Brand New titled “Before & After.” The logos for Starbucks, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, GLAAD and AOL are presented before and after redesign. Exhibition visitors can vote for their favorites by dropping bright yellow chips in a clear plastic box. A division of graphic design network UnderConsideration, Brand New gauges public opinion on brand identity projects.



Graphic Design…Now in Production” explores new developments in graphic design, including user-generated content and alternative printing and distribution methods. The exhibition is accessible via free ferries that run daily from Manhattan and Brooklyn. “Graphic Design…Now in Production” runs through Sept. 3.

Can’t get to New York? Not to worry–the exhibition is coming to  the Hammer Museum in Westwood in Sept. 30.

Published July 24, 2012 at