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Poster Child

I sat down with IMA Designer Matt Kelm to talk about his recent work on the title treatment for Andy Warhol Enterprises, and the innovative and popular sign he designed to welcome visitors to the exhibition. You can see the sign in the Pulliam Family Great Hall and visit the exhibit until January 2, 2011.

What is the project?

This is the title graphic for Andy Warhol Enterprises, an exhibition curated by Sarah Green and Allison Unruh, exploring the commercial component of Andy Warhol’s work. For the title graphic, we wanted to explore a design that referenced formal aspects of Warhol’s art including repetition, vibrant colors, and a tight grid. The solution we created, made up of 4000 posters and combined into 20 pads, also provided a unique opportunity for visitors to take a part of the experience home with them.

How did you think of this idea? Why did you do it for Warhol?

I like design that serves double-duty. The invitation I designed for the opening party unfolded into a poster, and I was interested in continuing that re-use wherever it was appropriate. I showed several ideas to our chief designer, David Russick, and we both agreed that creating an interactive title graphic served the functional needs of identifying the exhibition while also exploring how design can be used in a museum to engage visitors in a unique way. Not every exhibition lends itself to this type of treatment, but what could be better than Warhol  for exploring creative design solutions?

How has it been received?

It was installed just prior to the opening party on October 9th, and has been a big hit ever since. One of the things I was interested in documenting was which letters were removed first. The ‘A’ in Andy was nearly depleted during the opening weekend! I was surprised to see the more-difficult-to-reach posters on the top row being depleted first until a visitor pointed out that they wanted part of Andy Warhol’s name.

Will you ever do an ‘interactive’ title graphic again?

I would like to, although the needs of every exhibition are unique and some curators are more willing than others to explore innovative environmental and graphic design. Now that Andy Warhol Enterprises is open and the sky hasn’t fallen, hopefully in the future there will be more opportunities to create memorable and engaging design solutions.

Filed under: Design, Exhibitions

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