MoMA Design Studio

Its likely I’m risking my editorial street cred (if I ever had any?) here, and this post may be seen as a HUGE self-promotion, but I think there’s a bigger issue here.

Last month, the in-house design team (of which I am a part) at The Museum of Modern Art in New York launched a portfolio website of our work. It was met with mostly positive responses surprising those of us who thought this would provoke a bit of debate. Namely, should an in-house team have a portfolio?

It sounds strange as a concept: a portfolio site for an in-house team. We are not looking for new business and we risk colliding with the overall goals of the Museum. But still we did it, why not!?

I suppose there are a lot of reasons an in-house design team would not isolate its work from its “house” so as to promote its designers specifically. I look forward to hearing these reasons in the comments below. But still, we hope this website serves as inspiration to in-house designers feeling anonymous within their larger entities. Make yourself seen!

All credit goes to our designers, please see the about section!

Also, from Print‘s June issue, An Interview with Paola Antonelli, senior curator in the Architecture and Design department at the Museum of Modern Art

Get web design tips from Patrick McNeil.

7 thoughts on “MoMA Design Studio

  1. Jeannie Ozlanski

    As part of an in-house team that does have to compete with outside agencies, despite our very attractive price tag of free, I believe a portfolio is important for several reasons. First it allows others that may need a pick-me-up from other in-house teams to glean inspiration. This is also a great recruitment tools for designers looking at in-house positions. Lastly, it helps build credibility to the large faction of us that have chosen the in-house designer career path. Great job for sharing! Its appreciated by many.

  2. Billy C

    Without a doubt, in-house designers should show off their work. Great work by a talented team of designers should be seen.
    My only question is, why would such an excellent design team use Cargo Collective? I think you should go all out.

  3. Nathan Walker

    Portfolio looks great guys! Glad you guys are sharing what you create and giving people a chance to be inspired by work they may not have had the chance to see before. I think showing work outside the realm of what the company normally does just shows a wider range of capabilities from the design team. Keep it up!

  4. John Moore Williams

    I love the concept, personally. I’m an in-house copywriter myself, and the feeling of having your work become depersonalized and anonymous can become demoralizing at times, so I think it makes perfect sense to, in a sense, “take back your work.” Bravo.
    In a sidenote, I love your team’s presentation of the Tim Burton exhibition. I saw it at LACMA, and while that was a fantastic experience, the MOMA team’s presentation is better, particularly the custom type and the lovely brochure.

  5. Vanessa Longthorn

    It’s about raising the profile of the department. Whether your clients actually have a choice about using the inhouse studio or visiting an outside agency – you have to give them the same experience. You still need to prove yourself and earn respect to keep them on side. What better way than a good portfolio.

  6. Adrian Jon Miller

    I think that design, no matter who its done for, needs to available to be appriciated. I recently heard an interview by Steve Frykholm on Design Matters where he was talking about the poster series he did for the Herman Miller company picnics. Today those posters are iconic and famous, but at the time, they were an internal project for the company and probably would have be relagated as something that didn’t need to be seen by other people. I think a lot of great work has been done by in-house design teams, especially because they have an opportunity to build relationships with the people approving the work, creating more trust and thus more oportunity for better work to be make it to production.

  7. jason bush

    The engagement in that process keeps the designers fresh and curious. I think you may make the argument that it wouldn’t be useful toward getting new business when that is not your aim. For the spirit of exploration and staying mentally limber it can only enhance. I think it’s in the category of scrapbooking for all practical purposes in this case.