Posts by Ingrid Chou
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


October 8, 2010  |  Design, Rising Currents
Rising Currents, Rising Standards: Graphic Design Takes Up the Challenge

Rising Currents exhibition entrance.The exhibition's graphic design was made to appear similar to blueprints, the mode of graphic communication among architects and builders. Photo: Jason Mandella

Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront is a unique exhibition for its subject matter, but also because of the process of putting together the exhibition. As graphic designers, it was heartwarming to have the full support of both the curator and the exhibition designer throughout the entire process. We were particularly gratified to be given the opportunity to take take our creativity beyond the title wall and into the individual displays—yeah!

April 26, 2010  |  Design, Events & Programs
Magnetic MoMA: A Graphic Look at Shape Lab

The yellow shapes are movable magnets, which can be repositioned to fit into the small forest scene at bottom right. Photo by Michael Nagle

When we first met with the educators from MoMA’s Education Department to discuss the Shape Lab installation, we knew instantly that this project had to be FUN for us, the designers—and that FUN needed to be part of the design for the visitors.

Shape Lab is an interactive educational space for families. The educators’ intention for this space is to encourage visitors to interact with the space and explore the different ways artists use shapes in painting and sculpture. The space was filled with interactive tools and furniture, educational toys, art books, and shape learning activities. The original project request was to design an identity for its title wall. Instead, we designed a multifunctional activity wall, which both communicates its message and functions as a fun learning game.

April 19, 2010  |  Collection & Exhibitions, Design, Film
3D Burton: Shadows and Reflections

Three-dimensional rendering of the entrance to Tim Burton (left) by TwoSeven, Inc., based on an untitled drawing (right) by Tim Burton for the unrealized project Trick or Treat (1980)

Tim Burton was one of the most challenging exhibitions our graphic design department has had the pleasure of fully developing. It explores a wide spectrum of Tim Burton’s creative work, including drawings, paintings, photographs, moving images, concept art, storyboards, puppets, maquettes, costumes, and cinematic ephemera. For the exhibition graphic design, our goal was to take all these diverse visual references and distill them into a simple graphic treatment that celebrated Burton’s work.

January 29, 2010  |  Design, Events & Programs
Anything but a Guidebook

An unusual approach is one of the key strategies that signal an ideological shift.

When approached by Francesca Rosenberg to design the Meet Me publication for MoMA’s Access Programs, we were given three criteria:

1. Must use hot-pink color. (I’m not kidding. If you know Francesca Rosenberg, MoMA’s Director of Access and Community Programs, you would know that this is a legitimate request.)

2. Don’t make it look like a guidebook (even though, in its essence, it is a guidebook).

3. Make the content accessible to three diverse audiences: museum professionals, care organizations, and individual families.

The unusual color request was just one sign of how MoMA’s Access Program educators were contributing to an ideological shift in the way both institutions and individuals think about Alzheimer’s disease. This was not going to be just another black-and-gray manual. The intention was to create a book that was uplifting in both function and form, focusing on the fact that life can still be meaningful and joyful for these families, a book that embodies the mission and focus of the Meet Me at MoMA program. This was going to be a book about inspiring meaningful interactive experiences, making connections between people and art, and making art accessible. It would be anything but a guidebook.