Sometimes It Takes a Child to Design a Title Wall

MoMA Design Studio‘s little designer, Sky Chu. Photo by Martin Seck

A few months ago, my team and I here at MoMA had the challenge of designing the title wall for the exhibition Century of the Child: Growing By Design, 1900–2000, a broad survey of 20th-century design for children with “children and childhood as a paradigm for progressive design thinking.” When we met with the curators, Juliet Kinchin and Aidan O’Connor, they suggested trying a less formal approach for the design of the title wall, perhaps using handwriting. So two of our experienced designers spent two days experimenting with every type of handwriting font and non-digital handwriting they could think of. The results were good, but not quite right. It was clear to us that we needed to take a different approach. That’s when we suddenly realized, what could be better than having an actual child help us? And that’s how my 6-year-old son Sky became a MoMA designer. He sat down at the dinner table one night, wrote out the title of the exhibition three times, and then said, “done.” So it was. And after we enlarged the text, we realized the average letter height is as tall as Sky himself—3 feet, 9 inches!


The little designer leaping in front of his work, and one of his own alphabets. Photos by Martin Seck and Ingrid Chou