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Friday, December 20, 2013

Design Collaboration: Working with the Next Generation of Graphic Designers

This fall, the College of Design's Text and Image class (GDES 3351) was asked to design a graphic identity (the look that unifies all the promotional materials for an event) for the upcoming Goldstein exhibition, "Signed by Vera: Scarves by an Iconic Designer." This was no small task, as every exhibition requires postcards, posters, banners, and text panels that work together to quickly convey its tone and content to the public.

This is not the first time the Goldstein has collaborated with students. Previous exhibitions have featured student work, including "Quest for the World's Best Baskets," "Redefining, Redesigning Fashion," and "Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories."


The project started in October with a presentation about Vera scarves and the designer responsible for their success, Vera Neumann. The exhibition themes were discussed, helping students gain a sense of what message these postcards and posters need to send. Following the sneak peek, students were provided with images of the Goldstein's Vera scarves - over 200 - and a short list of requirements. Aside from this, they were free to experiment.

verascarvesDEC2013.jpgScarves by Vera Neumann (American, 1907-1993), Goldstein Museum of Design, Gift of David Anger and James Broberg.

Goldstein staff members were asked to attend two formal critiques. During the first session, each student presented three ideas in draft form. The best of the three was selected. Students then developed that design into a final product.

On December 18, 2013, the class presented their final designs. With 25 excellent designs to choose from, Goldstein staff had a difficult decision to make. In the end, a design by Aimee Brouchard was selected. Aimee's playful composition features a large photo of Vera, resplendent in her signature blonde bob hairstyle and thick black glasses, surrounded by flowers designed for her iconic scarves.


by Natasha Thoreson

Signed by Vera: Scarves by an Iconic Designer will be on display in Gallery 241, McNeal Hall
May 17 - June 29, 2014.
Opening Party: Friday, May 16, 6-8pm

Friday, December 6, 2013

Design, Emigre magazine and the Digital Humanities

by Jessica Barness (MFA Design '12, UMN)
Assistant Professor, School of Visual Communication Design
Kent State University

Just over a year ago, the Goldstein Museum of Design's Emigre Magazine Index was launched to communicate and provide online access to the contents of Emigre magazine issues in the GMD collection. As the designer and author of this project, I shared my research at the inaugural 'Design and the Digital Humanities' panel at the Midwest Modern Language Association 2013 national convention, held November 8-10 in Milwaukee, WI. Our panel examined the role of design and digital technologies in humanities research, and my work was joined by other presentations on data visualization, design education and video poetry.

An important part of graphic design authorship history, Emigre magazine was published from 1984-2005. Its first issues coincide with the early use of MacIntosh computers by graphic designers, and parallels were noted between this and the exploration of digital technologies by designers today.

In the panel discussion I talked about my design process, in which a sketchbook and spreadsheet evolved into a complex website that highlights how form and content are intertwined in Emigre magazine. On the website, colors, typefaces, organizational structure and the many ways the reader can interact with the content are deliberately designed to affect understanding.

Additionally, attendees were introduced to the magazine's size, theme, and format changes, as well as my decisions on how hundreds of authors and contributions were included, ranging from writing, type design and interviews to graphic layouts, sound/video and guest edited issues. In a broad way, this process could be brought into museum collections or other digital humanities projects to create communicative, alternative research tools.


The Emigre Magazine Index is accessible to the public at

Funding for this project was provided by the Goldstein Museum of Design's
Jerome Joss Graduate Internship.