2006 Annual Design Review Graphics Best of Category

Walker Expanded

In a field of well-produced one-offs, the ambitious new graphic identity for the Walker Art Center’s expanded digs stood out to the jurors immediately as the obvious choice for Best of Category. Created by museum design director Andrew Blauvelt with designer Chad Kloepfer, the identity functions as a kit of parts in which different fonts and textures can be assembled in endless permutations to run “like a piece of tape,” as the entry explained, along the museum’s shopping bags, business cards, letterhead, admission tickets—even the walls of the museum’s parking garage. The jury was impressed that the identity allowed for infinite variations while maintaining an overall sense of coherence, and by the way it easily crossed from print to digital media.

Earls called the design “sublime,” drawing attention to the way its colors and patterns work in a modular fashion, almost like “a Lego system.” “Look at how it functions very, very small,” he said, studying a business card, “and as massive environmental graphics. And look at the way the paper tickets still bear a distinct relationship to even the small logo.”

“It’s very lively, it’s inventive. It looks like fun,” Blatter remarked. The designers should also be recognized for their political skills, she added: “Knowing how complicated museums are as institutions and how hard it is to do something really well for them, I think this is quite amazing.”

“It’s decidedly more ambitious than anything else we’ve seen,” Heller said. Earls agreed, adding, “There were plenty of ways they could have chosen to define the problem. They picked a systemic way that produced a beautiful result.”

DESIGN/CLIENT Walker Art Center (Minneapolis): Andrew Blauvelt, design director; Chad Kloepfer, designer
FONTS Avenir, Walker, Walker Expanded
SOFTWARE Adobe Creative Suite, Font Lab

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