Top Arts 2012 – Exhibition Design

Designing the Top Arts exhibition can be a little more complex than other exhibitions for a number of reasons.  The primary reason is the checklist – the list of works in the exhibition.  Unlike most exhibitions, where the curator has chosen artworks specifically to be displayed together, with narrative or aesthetic similarities; Top Arts works are chosen from a shortlist based on individual merit.  This can lead to a disparate group of works that don’t necessarily work together on first glance.  Colour, scale, form, materiality and themes are often diverse and sometimes conflicting.  Moreover, because we must wait until the works have been selected at the end of the school year, the lead time for design is significantly shorter than usual, leading to swift decision making and limiting scope for extravagant design concepts to something that can definitely be delivered in time for the opening!

Enter exhibition design.  In an attempt to visually unify the exhibition, design techniques are employed in simple ways.  Incorporating one colour (the bright orange from the Dulux Enviro range – Fiery Glow) and one logo from the catalogue cover, to media and advertising, to children’s labels and feature wall colours, this technique aims to establish the exhibition contextually.

Drawing on themes of the hand-made, a bright orange string line travels along the gallery perimeter.  Appearing as a hand-drawn line that travels throughout the exhibition, defining the various gallery spaces as all part of the one exhibition without relying on signage, and highlighting themes of individual craftsmanship and the personal narratives of the artists.  The logo on the title-wall is also made out of this string (common builders string bought from a hardware store) and provides a cohesion to the design of the exhibition.

Finally, in an attempt to engage one of our primary audience groups for this exhibition – students, both in person in the gallery and with our online content, a competition encouraging students to photograph themselves in the space was created.  The design for this involved graphic designer Connor Bryt who designed the logo and masthead for the exhibition, marketing who created the facebook page for it and exhibition design who designed the poster inside the gallery space on the title-wall and in fact, designed the entire title-wall with this specifically in mind.

For more photos of the exhibition space visit the Top Arts Hub