Design Museum

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

Profile: Tyler Deal of Idiot Pull

A peacock poster designed by Idiot Pull is displayed amongst other posters.

Designed by Idiot Pull, the Rogue Wave and Caveman concert poster featuring a two-headed peacock is available to purchase in the ChiDM store. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yu Photography.

Chicago has scored itself the talents of Tyler Deal, a young Ohio artist who’s drawn to the Chicago Design Museum for showcasing past and present works of art—including his very own hand-drawn and silk-screened posters. Tyler moved to Chicago to challenge himself and start a new business, Idiot Pull. “I had never lived outside Ohio, and corn fields and cows get old after a while,” he says. Tyler advises other young entrepreneurs to stop taking life so seriously and to be more carefree. As for his business, next in line is drawing and silk-screening a poster for Beyoncé.

Profile: Marjie Best

Marjie Best's typography bracelet cuffs.

Best Design Chicago cuffs, available at the ChiDM store. Photo courtesy of Marjie Best.

“Design is collaborative. And this museum is the epitome of collaboration,” says Marjie Best, designer at Best Design Chicago. In fact, she loves how she can draw upon the strength of Chicago’s design community for talent and support. Marjie’s currently working on everything from book covers and marketing materials to publications, logo design, and her famed cuffs (available exclusively at the Chicago Design Museum store).

For Marjie, the Chicago Design Museum is an opportunity to celebrate, honor, and showcase design history. But it also provides a sanctuary for thoughtful reflection. “If you are paying attention, you will learn something every day of your life,” she says, from the people you meet to the world of opportunities ready for the taking. For now, she’s going anywhere her imagination takes her.

Film Event Rescheduled

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we must reschedule our Films of the New Bauhaus: Re-Shaping the World event for the fall. Once we determine a new date and time, we will post it on our Twitter and Facebook pages, in addition to this website.

We apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment this may cause, but we hope to see you at the event in the fall!

2014 Starts/Speculations Opening Night

The entrance to the Chicago Design Museum.

The entrance to the Chicago Design Museum. Photo courtesy of David Ettinger Photography.

On Friday, June 13 we officially opened in our new location at Block 37. Debuting Starts/Speculations: Graphic Design in Chicago Past and Future, our first exhibition as a permanent institution and primarily funded through our Kickstarter project, we were so happy to welcome you to the space and exhibition and hear your thoughts.

Whether you are a new visitor to ChiDM or have been with us since 2012, thank you for your support. Your positive and constructive feedback invigorates us and keeps us constantly evolving and challenging what it means to be a design museum both in Chicago and the world today.

Thank you to our 2014 sponsors, without whom our status as a permanent institution would not exist:

Joe & Rika Manuseto
Leo Burnett
Block 37
Simple Truth

Thank you to our media partners, who have helped spread the word about ChiDM to the masses:

Design Bureau
Design Applause

If you were hanging out in Fotio’s photobooth, find your photos on Fotio’s website here. A huge thank you to Finch’s Beer Company for providing drinks, DJ Jamie Hayes for the music, Jennifer Shaffer Photography, Dock 6 Collective for the furniture, and ALD Shows for the lighting design!

Visitors check out Studio Blue's interactive installation.

Visitors check out Studio Blue’s interactive installation. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yu Photography.

Chicago Olympic Bid Identity, City of Chicago, VSA Partners 2009

Chicago Olympic Bid Identity, City of Chicago, VSA Partners 2009. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yu Photography

Finding their names on the Thank You Wall.

Finding their names on the Thank You Wall. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yu Photography.

Visitors discuss the artifacts  on display for the exhibition.

Visitors discuss the artifacts on display for the exhibition. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yu Photography.

A visitor stands in front of Matt Wizinsky's Expo Crypto installation.

What does Expo Crypto by Matt Wizinsky know about you? Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yu Photography.

Photobooth participants check their Fotio photo, Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yu Photography.

Photobooth participants check their Fotio photo, Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yu Photography.

The Burnham Plan vitrine includes a letter from Daniel Burnham.

The Burnham Plan vitrine includes a letter from Daniel Burnham. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yu Photography.

Dj Jamie Hayes delivers the tunes.

Dj Jamie Hayes delivers the tunes. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yu Photography.

A mother puts headphones on her child for the video "Pitter Patterns" by Goldsholl Design & Film Associates. It's being shown courtesy of the Chicago Film Archives.

Even kids love design installations! This video is “Pitter Patterns” by Goldsholl Design & Film Associates, courtesy of the Chicago Film Archives. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yu Photography.

The lineup of Finch's Beer Company refreshments. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yu Photography.

The lineup of Finch’s Beer Company refreshments.

Chicago Sun-Times: Good Design Finds Home at Block 37

ChiDM entrance

Photograph courtesy of David Ettinger Photography

“We’re at a really important time in Chicago’s design history, and when you put it in a museum it allows you to step back… to see if it’s effective in its communication… to think about how it affects your life.”

Chicago Design Museum Co-Founder and Executive Director Tanner Woodford discusses design’s role in the everyday life of the general public and our current exhibition, Starts/Speculations: Graphic Design in Chicago Past and Future, in the July 06, 2014 edition of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Camp Firebelly Workshop

We are elated to have had an opportunity to host the fine folks of Camp Firebelly for a tour, workshop, and competition on Saturday, 28 June. For the unfamiliar, Camp Firebelly is an intensive apprenticeship for 10 talented folks who are looking to break into the design profession. The summer camp is hosted by Firebelly—some of our favorite do-gooders.

The day began with a brief, private tour of Starts/Speculations, and an informal discussion about the history and trajectory of the Chicago Design Museum. Next, campers were assigned a task: raise awareness of our institution by persuading individuals to come into the space.

We divided the campers into five groups of two, and sent them into the loop armed with low-tech tools—a dry-erase board and markers. We gave each group a stack of flyers to distribute. The duo who sent the most people into the space would win $200 of merchandise from our store. (Note: we’re not monsters. All participants were given a poster from the let’s do something impossible series, as well as a ChiDM tote bag, a hearty thank you, and pizza.)

In 90 minutes, the campers managed to send us 90 new patrons. That’s one a minute—record attendance for us!


The exercise was inspired by a fictional assignment in Chip Kidd’s The Cheese Monkeys, wherein a professor tasks his students with persuading cars to pick them up on a desolate highway near a state hospital for the criminally insane using only a poster board and permanent marker. Each car that passed the student dropped their grade by one letter.

In our real-life, less risky version, one group trekked to the Cultural Center, put down the white board, and learned that direct, honest communication with a similar audience was much less frustrating than yelling into the void on Michigan Avenue. Another learned to incentivize the campaign, by purchasing and raffling a poster from our store to patrons that dropped off a flyer in person. A third learned that personality and approach had a huge impact on whether people will take the time to listen to your message. Most groups learned that the general public responds very well to the fact that we are a small, local, free museum.


All told, this was more than a moment of increased patronage for us. It was a moment of encouraging persuasive content over the form that is usually emphasized. It reminded us that what you say is sometimes more important than how you say it. It took designers away from their desks and challenged them to interact directly with their intended audience. Lastly, the dry-erase boards allowed for rapid ideation and continuous refinement.

As an institution, we learned that a visit can be deeper, more collaborative, and more beneficial than a simple tour on a Saturday morning.


Many, many thanks to the folks who represented ChiDM, and went into the world with the campers: Alex Gilbert, Mike Joosse, Roman Titus, LeAnne Wagner, and Tanner Woodford. And, of course, this wouldn’t have been possible without the campers themselves, or their fabulous leaders: Dawn Hancock, Nick Adam, Ross Burwell, and Will Miller.


If you’re interested in more, head on over to for Jeremy Leung’s recap on the experience.

Starts/Speculations Preview Night

A few weeks ago, our sponsors, exhibitors, and $250+ Kickstarter backers stopped by the gallery to preview the new exhibition, Starts/Speculations: Graphic Design in Chicago Past and Future. We had a wonderful time with our first visitors and are incredibly grateful for their support. Here are a few photos, courtesy of David Ettinger Photography, from the evening.

Chicago Design Museum

Retail Director Erin Borreson, third from left, with store volunteers.

Retail Director Erin Borreson, third from left, with store volunteers.

Ten Ninety and Two Brothers beer.

Thanks to Ten Ninety Brewing Company and Two Brothers Brewing Company for providing the beer.

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Jack Henrie Fisher of Other Forms discusses his work with Jonathan Mekinda.

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Exhibition Director Matthew Terdich, Co-Founder and Executive Director Tanner Woodford, Victor Margolin, and Curatorial Committee Member Robyn Paprocki

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Filmmaker Clark Dean, center, with Henry Latt, Paul Young, Yoko Noge, and Maureen Bridges

Visitors look at some of the exhibition's artifacts.

Matt and Tre’ Jorgensen look at artifacts from the history of the Society of Typographic Arts & AIGA Chicago.

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Membership Director Alex Gilbert shows a visitor how to interact with Studio Blue’s piece.

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Wallace & Kristie Paprocki

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Sarah Outland watches a video created by Mort & Millie Goldsholl.

Bob Zeni of The Society of Typographic Arts

No preview is complete without Bob Zeni of The Society of Typographic Arts.

Thanks to the following in-kind donors:

Ten Ninety Brewing Company
Two Brothers Brewing Company
La Croix
DJ Sam Rolfes
Paper Moon Pastry
Mindful Indulgences
Bartend Chicago

2014 Summer Exhibition – Starts/Speculations: Graphic Design in Chicago Past and Future

Starts Speculations text on the wall at ChiDM

Photograph courtesy of David Ettinger Photography

Inspired by the past century of design achievement and looking toward the future with insight and creativity, Starts/Speculations represents an anthology of work from Chicago’s graphic design legacy and a glimpse into how the tools we use to design and communicate could evolve and influence our interactions in the future.

Beginning with a letter that articulates visual design standards for the 1909 Plan of Chicago by Daniel Burnham and Edward H. Bennett, the exhibition is a broad overview of the past century of graphic design in Chicago with a particular focus on the influence of European modernism through the establishment of the New Bauhaus in 1937. As the Chicago Design Museum evolves and grows, we look forward to exploring and sharing more of Chicago’s design legacy by unearthing the stories that make our city unique, as well as highlighting dynamic influences from across cultures, borders, and disciplines. We consider this the start of something more—more ideas, more conversations, and more discovery.

The glimpse into the future includes work from:

Chris Eichenseer
Jonathan Petersen, with animation by Tommy Dalton
Matt Wizinsky
Other Forms
The Post Family
Studio Blue

The reflection on the past features work on loan from the following institutions and/or collections:

AIGA Chicago
AIGA National
Bauhaus Chicago Foundation Archive & Collection
Edward H. Bennett Collection, Ryerson & Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago Film Archives
Crosby Associates
IIT Archives, Paul V. Galvin Library
John Massey Inc.
University of Illinois Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections Department
VSA Partners

Starts/Speculations: Graphic Design in Chicago Past and Future will run from June 12 through September 30, 2014. During this time, the museum will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00-7:00 pm.

Curatorial Committee: Robyn Paprocki, Morgan Walsh; Exhibition Director: Matthew Terdich

2014 Design Lecture Series: Jan en Randoald

Woodwork created by Jan en Randoald

Photo courtesy of Jan en Randoald.

Join us on Tuesday, April 15 for the start of our design lecture series with guest speakers Jan W. Hespeel and Randoald Sabbe of the design studio Jan en Randoald.

Jan W. Hespeel and Randoald Sabbe graduated in the free graphics and graphic design department, respectively, at Sint-Lucas Ghent, Belgium. Though polite to each other, they had never shared a conversation. In 1997 they both started teaching at Sint-Lucas and soon a noticed a certain synergy.

In 2004 they started their collaboration, naming their studio “Jan en Randoald.” It is now one of the most awarded graphic design studios in Belgium. Some of their clients include: Antwerpse Musea, STAM/Stadsmuseum Gent, Concertzaal De Bijloke, Witte Zaal, De Werf Brugge, Theater Artemis & Véronique Branquinho.

Welcome them to Chicago as they share their journey and expertise with us.

Date: Tuesday, April 15
Time: 6:00-7:30 PM
Location: Morningstar (22 W. Washington St.)
Tickets: Eventbrite
Admission is $15. There are special discounts for our Kickstarter backers and students. Please see the Eventbrite page for details. 

Special thanks to the MFA Graphic Design Department at Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, and AIGA Chicago.

2013 Design Week Opening Reception

We’re kicking off Chicago Design Week and celebrating the museum’s opening with a reception on Monday, June 10 from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

Please join us for an opportunity to see our 2013 exhibitions and mingle with the Chicago design community. Beer will be provided by Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Chicago Design Week is a five-day design celebration that brings lectures, events, schmoozing and high-fiving, this time with a distinctively 2013 flavor.