Design Museum

Block Thirty Seven, 3rd floor
108 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60602
Tues-Sat, 12-7p

From Our Sponsor, Adobe



The Chicago Design Museum posed six questions to our sponsors about design and their sponsorship of the museum. This week, we feature Adobe’s response. 

ChiDM: What does design mean to you?
Adobe: A solution to a problem. An innovative approach. A creative brief addressed. A new way of looking.

ChiDM: What role does design play in your business?
Adobe: It’s why we exist. To create the tools that enable designers to do their best creative work.

ChiDM: Tell us about a recent success within your firm/company.
Adobe: We reimagined the digital drawing experience for artists and designers with Adobe Ink & Slide; we enable designers, who don’t code, to create beautifully designed websites with Adobe Muse CC; we’ve made new features in Adobe Illustrator CC easier to discover and easier to learn; and we’ve given designers the choice of how and where they publish with the ability to export to multiple document formats in Adobe InDesign CC.

ChiDM: How can we better connect the design community—within disciplines and across the profession?
Adobe: By creating a framework for people in creative professions to share their ideas and their work; by inspiring people with different skills, in different industries, to work together to keep innovation alive; and by providing the knowledge required to stay up-to-date with the tools and features that help designers get their work done and express themselves creatively

ChiDM: Why did you sponsor ChiDM?
Adobe: We celebrate design and creativity by championing organizations with the missions and the leadership to strengthen, inspire, and support world-class design communities.

ChiDM: What does ChiDM do for your community?
Adobe: ChiDM supports and services designers in the Chicago community through training, collaboration and inspiration. Adobe aspires to serve designers wherever they are. When we support design organizations that function on a local level, it sets a larger example for how to support design communities on a global one.

From Our Sponsor, Leo Burnett

Leo Burnett logo
The Chicago Design Museum posed six questions to our sponsors about design and their sponsorship of the museum. Alisa Wolfson, the head of design at Leo Burnett and AIGA Chicago co-president, responded on behalf of Leo Burnett.

ChiDM: What does design mean to you?
AW: Design is the foundation of all things. It’s everything.

ChiDM: What role does design play in your business?
AW: I believe design should be at the center of business, and big advertising is no exception.

I am currently the head of design in the Department of Design at Leo Burnett Chicago, a department I founded in 2008. When I started at Burnett, there were four designers; the small group cleaned up layouts, prepared PDF presentations and created an occasional logo.

I believed that needed to change. Now six years later the team has grown to 20 designers, producers
and managers. Today, we are briefed with traditional Creative teams, and have a leadership role in new
business development and our agency innovation practice, Farmhouse. By integrating concept and craft
our efforts have propelled a modern working process that has yielded great work.

ChiDM: Tell us about a recent success within your firm.
AW: I am currently working with our team to launch The Fifth Star Awards. This event honors artists whose work has forever changed and enhanced Chicago. A brand-new annual event from the City of Chicago, the Fifth Star Awards gets its name from Chicagoans’ ongoing quest to add a new star to its iconic flag. While there are no plans to add a fifth star to the flag, the awarded artists all represent a city always in search of new moments of enlightenment.

ChiDM: How can we better connect the design community—within disciplines and across the profession?
AW: The word design has such a broad meaning. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’m such a fan of the incredible work done by Rick Valicenti to collect designers under one roof in his recent CHGO DSGN exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center. I was blown away by how nicely the work fit together into a strong citywide voice. And, 2014 marks the first year in my tenure as AIGA Chicago co-president. I’ll be working this year with Sara Frisk who has already done such an amazing job to keep our chapter’s membership active and inclusive. I’m looking forward to expanding and growing our reach and relevance to many other types of designers, makers, and thinkers.

ChiDM: Why did you sponsor ChiDM?
AW: Chicago’s design history needs to be celebrated and understood.

ChiDM: What does ChiDM do for your community?
AW: The ChiDM gets us out of the office and into the world to share our love for design together.

Starts/Speculations in Film: Expanding the Design Conversation

Starts/Speculations in Film

The Chicago Design Museum is proud to present a selection of films from the Chicago Film Archives for a special screening night. As an extension of our first exhibition, Starts/Speculations: Graphic Design in Chicago Past and Future, each of the chosen films represents an area for future exploration, and another avenue for examining the role of design within our city and our lives.

Please join us at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, 24 September, as we learn about the early years of the International Design Conference, consider design for medical safety, witness the translation of moving image to a printed page, and remember the sights and sounds of Chicago in the seventies.

The evening will include work by Gary Brown, the Film Group, Goldsholl Design & Film Associates and Rhodes Patterson.

The event is free to all our members and students and is $10 at the door for non-members. There will be an open bar for those 21 years old and over (IDs will be checked at the door).

RSVP on Facebook.

Starts/Speculations: Catalog Release Party

Starts/Speculations Catalog Release Party

Please join us at the Chicago Design Museum on Thursday, 18 September from 6:00-9:00 pm to celebrate the release of our exhibition catalog and reflect on the success of Starts/Speculations: Graphic Design in Chicago Past and Future.

Since our grand opening in June as a permanent institution, we have welcomed thousands of visitors, new members, sponsors, and community partners to share the insight and creativity of Chicago’s graphic design legacy and how design may impact our interactions in the future.

From 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, 18 September, we will provide beverages, music, and your very own copy of our first exhibition catalog. The entry fee is $10 (including a copy of the catalog). All are welcome and there is an open bar for those 21 years old and over (IDs will be checked at the door).

RSVP on Facebook.

A huge thank you to our in-kind sponsors for the catalog and event, Classic Color and Programme.


From Our Sponsor, Simple Truth

Simple Truth logo

The Chicago Design Museum posed six questions to our sponsors about design and their sponsorship of the museum. Representing Simple Truth are Partner and Executive Creative Director/Design Susan Bennett, Partner and Executive Creative Director/Voice Mark Drozd, and Managing Partner Rhonda Kokot.

ChiDM: What does design mean to you?
ST: Design means everything. It is how purpose, order, utility and aesthetic beauty all come together to make life better.

ChiDM: What role does design play in your business?
ST: Design is at the very root of all we do. We started as a classic graphic design firm; and one of our founders, the late Arnie Goodwin, was a force in the Chicago design community. He is still our patron saint. Today we design strategic and clear brand solutions for our clients, based on what’s at their core.

ChiDM: Tell us about a recent success within your company.
ST: This year our work has taken a very Chicago-centric turn. We helped the city build their presence for the first time at SXSW; developed the brand platform and identity for UI LABS, Chicago’s new research and commercialization collaborative; worked with View Chicago to introduce the new Burnham Path from Millennium park to the Museum Campus; and we’re currently helping Choose Chicago promote summer and fall tourism.

ChiDM: How can we better connect the design community–within disciplines and across the profession?
ST: The answer lies in how you choose to define the word ‘museum.’ What our design community needs is a place to celebrate what design is, what’s going on now, and how the thinking behind graphic design influences the thinking behind experiential design, architectural design, etc. If ChiDM can be a place of experiences, present and past, instead of just another display space of artifacts, it can become the hub of all the design expression that happens in this ever-changing community.

ChiDM: Why did you sponsor ChiDM?
ST: We believe in the powerful heritage and relationship that design shares with Chicago. And while design has always had its advocates and organizations here, there has never been one galvanizing force or place to celebrate design’s many facets, or Chicago’s many contributions to them. We think ChiDM could be that place.

ChiDM: What does ChiDM do for your community?
ST: It provides a window to the large, evolving, thriving, beautiful, tumultuous, socially conscious and fascinating world of design that exists in Chicago.

2014 Project Osmosis Benefit

The Chicago Design Museum is proud to support Project Osmosis, an education and mentoring initiative that furthers design education for underserved minority youth.

Every year, Project Osmosis hosts a benefit to celebrate the program and raise money and support for the organization’s services and scholarship. The 2014 Project Osmosis Benefit in Partnership with UIC-School of Design will be held on 06 September at the University of Illinois at Chicago Innovation Center.

This year’s event asks the question, “What if?” What if we created partnerships to further the design education for students of color? What if creative communities created a system of support for our talented youth? What if design was used as a universal tool to embrace self-love?

We’re looking forward to the event, as it promises to be both energetic and enlightening. Some of the night’s features include:

  • Highlights of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s proposal to host the Barack Obama Presidential Library
  • Silent auction featuring rare and exclusive Chicago design items, including John Massey’s Vision, Chicago Cultural Alliance posters, the Navy Pier Pierscape Proposal, and Design for Democracy: Ballot + Election Design
  • Exhibition of student work
  • Meeting the year’s honorees
  • Reception with some of Chicago’s most talented artists and designers

Join us at the 2014 Project Osmosis Benefit in Partnership with UIC-School of Design on 06 September at 6:00 pm by purchasing your tickets here.

A big thanks to Project Osmosis for all that they do for the Chicago design community and for their collaboration.


Profile: Emily Haasch of Cards Against Humanity

A group of three people gather in front of a wall of posters available for purchase in the store.

Emily Haasch’s poster, top row second from left, is available for purchase in the ChiDM store. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yu Photography.

“Keep making mistakes and don’t change who you are,” advises Emily Haasch, designer at Cards Against Humanity. That’s why she stays heavily involved in all things design, art critique, and activating communities—everything she loves. While the Chicago Design Museum helps protect and archive the past, Emily also envisions it as an open venue for discourse and the exhibition of emerging ideas within communities. She chose Chicago as her home base because of the support she receives from the community. “Like a good dollar store, it has a little bit of everything at half the price,” she says.  As for the future, Emily’s keeping her eyes, enthusiasm, and options open.

Emily’s poster, seen second from left in the top row of the above photo, can be purchased in the ChiDM store while quantities last.

#ChiDM Kickstarter Rewards

When we shipped out the last of the Kickstarter rewards, we asked our backers to snap a photo of the merchandise, post it on Twitter or Instagram, and use #ChiDM. Here are the best photos of the group.

From @jalexleung.

From @crabbyrangoon


From @graceohmeg


From @melloburger


From @a_washburne

Thanks to all of our backers and everyone who tagged us in their photos!

Profile: Dawn Hancock of Firebelly Design

A photo of a sketch of people, including Dawn Hancock, in picture frames.

Firebelly Design’s Dawn Hancock’s profile sits second from left. Photograph courtesy of David Ettinger Photography.

Dawn Hancock is all about changing the world—one socially responsible design at a time. She and her partners at Firebelly Design are committed to working with authentic companies and their people to help change the conversation in their communities. That’s why Dawn loves Chicago: for its authenticity, work ethic, and pride. Today as she continues to do big work on her “open source playground for good,” she reminds everyone to be grateful for the little things in life.

Firebelly Design’s Typeforce catalogs are available for purchase in the ChiDM store through September 30, 2014.

Profile: Zoe Ikin of Studio Magazine

A photo of Studio Magazine in the ChiDM store.

Studio Magazine is available for purchase in the ChiDM store. Photo courtesy of David Ettinger Photography.

“Be a designer— it’s awesome,” recommends Zoe Ikin, founder of Studio Limited and publisher at Studio Magazine. She’s currently working on Issue 4 of Studio Magazine that’s solely dedicated to the Chicago design scene, i.e. profiling interesting studio spaces throughout the city from a range of creative fields. Why Chicago? Because when Zoe visited our lovely city on a three-month sabbatical in 2013, she saw first-hand all the great things the cool people of Chicago’s design community were doing— like starting a design museum. And it inspired her to devote an entire issue of her magazine to it. In the meantime, Issue 5 is brewing, says Zoe.

You can pick up a copy of Studio Magazine in the ChiDM store.