Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Walker Without Walls

The Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis closed and it's assorted exhibitions where transported to other venues around the city - the problem, how to tell people where everything has moved to and how to get people to visit these temporary venues.

I came across this project in an article from Print, that was exploring the relationships between businesses and graphic design. Primarily the project appealed to me because of the slightly unconventional brief - the gallery spaces were being temporarily moved to other areas of the city whilst renovation work was completed but how does the Walker Art Centre insure people still visit the exhibitions. The designers looked at overlaying information onto already existing letterheads, a calendar and postcards which reflected the temporary nature of the gallery's exhibitions at this time - signage, mapping and board games were also explored as ways by which a graphic representation of where a particular exhibition was temporarily located could be depicted. The result, 'the kit of parts—curves, arrowheads, bubbles—can be adapted in infinite configurations' (Print) formed a system, a graphic system that could be applied to anything from 'from event schedules, billboards, and bus stop shelters to ice cream trucks, T-shirts, print ads, postcards, websites, and even sidewalk spray stencils' (Print), whatever and wherever suited that particular exhibition.

I think part of the project's success lies in the flexibility of the graphic system, giving the designer endless opportunities as to how to advertise, direct to, raise awareness of or communicate information about the Walker Art Centre. Visually, the work gives a strong sense of a brand identity and there is an excellent sense of coherence throughout the work. Furthermore, this was a great way by which the awareness of art and of the art gallery itself was increased around the city.

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