Be careful who you allow into your basement. No telling what they might do with your hidden treasures.
Doug Grimmett of Atlanta made an exhibit out of the trove of posters, mailers, booklets and more that he found in the New York offices of AIGA (It was founded in 1914 as the American Institute of Graphic Arts). Grimmett, a designer, knows quality when he sees it, and when he realized that AIGA had in its archives “all this work that nobody has seen,” he hatched a plan.
The result is “AIGA 100: A Century of Design,” a retrospective of a century of graphic design on exhibit through Oct. 5 at the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA). The bulk of it is work that designers did for designers; it was never mass produced. And, for the most part, the work was never seen, until now.
Curated by Grimmett and AIGA medalist and president Sean Adams, the MODA exhibit is the national exhibit. There was no space to showcase all the work at AIGA’s 5th Avenue office in New York, but there was plenty room at MODA.
Four quotes in the exhibit underscore the value of design:
• On a timeline that covers the walls of MODA’s large back exhibit space is this compelling quote from cartoonist Jules Feiffer: “Design is important because chaos is so hard.”
• “The election of 2000 was a failure of design.” This show-stopping quote was delivered by Grimmett during a tour of the new exhibit. He was referring, of course, to the disastrous butterfly ballot that sent that presidential election into a nightmare of hanging chads and ultimately to the Supreme Court. He used this as an example of why standards such as the symbols for no smoking or no parking are so important – so that all of us understand.
• Another quote on the timeline, this one from Charles Eames, graphic designer, architect and AIGA medalist: “The details are not the details. They make the design.”
• And one more timeline quote from George Lois, art director, designer and author: “A cover is a statement. It should provoke, challenge, interest, entice, snare, grab, arouse, titillate, excite, shock, infuriate, seduce, motivate.”
Grimmett is past president of the Atlanta AIGA chapter and owner of Primal Scream, Atlanta-based brand collaborator in entertainment and marketing.
Carol Carter writes for Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau .