Design Museum

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

Newcity names ChiDM “Best new high-touch design venue”

Visitors sit in the recently-added reading room.

Visitors sit in the recently-added reading room. Photograph courtesy of Virya Photography.

The editors and writers of Newcity comb Chicago each year to put together their legendary annual “Best of Chicago” list, and we’re honored to be included in the 2014 edition. The Chicago Design Museum was named as this year’s “Best new high-touch design venue” for a number of reasons large and small, from our public programming to the details of our shop displays.

In addition to praising ChiDM for “getting things right” in our first year, Newcity explains that their choice is warranted by our balance of presentation and interaction; design is often presented as “untouchable” and far away from its inherent function of interacting with the world, but they feel that we bring it closer into the public eye.

We’re thrilled that our efforts to engage, inform, and inspire our visitors through our exhibits and events have the greater Chicago community talking, and we hope this mention widens the conversation even more!

Read the full story here

Holiday Hours

We’re looking forward to your visit for a dose of color this winter during our exhibition, Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles! While the exhibition will be on display through February 28, 2015, there are a few days that we will close for the various holidays.

As you plan your visit, please keep in mind that we will be closed on the following dates:

  • November 27-December 01
  • December 25-29
  • December 31-January 01

Our normal hours are 12:00-7:00 PM Tuesday through Saturdays (excluding the dates listed above).

Thank you for understanding and we hope you enjoy the holidays.

Designing Hope for Chicago—Silence the Violence

On the evening of December 8, 2014 from 6:00-9:00 PM, the Chicago Design Museum and Ferrer Foundation are partnering for an event, fundraiser, and silent auction to raise awareness around violence and violence prevention in Chicago.

Tickets are available via EventBrite.

Monday, December 8, 2014
6:00–9:00 PM
Chicago Design Museum

Featuring a one-night only poster exhibition by designers that include: Ishmael Adams, Brandon Breaux, Sara Frisk, Cody Hudson, Jason Pickleman, Kyle Poff, Michael Renaud, Michael Savona, Elise Swopes, Upendo Taylor, and Threadless.

All artwork was created exclusively for the evening with a goal to not only raise funds but send a message of peace and hope to Chicago on behalf of the Chicago design community. Poster art will be available for purchase at the event via silent auction and all proceeds raised will be used to support Ferrer Foundation and Chicago Design Museum programming.

RSVP on Facebook.

John Massey Vision for Sale in ChiDM Store on 11/18

John Massey Vision - photo of the book

Beginning on Tuesday, November 18, we will have the honor and privilege of selling and distributing John Massey’s new publication, John Massey Vision. This 250-page hardbound book documents Massey’s career as a designer and artist in Chicago from the late 1950s to the present. Printed by Classic Color, the book features roughly 125 full-color images and essays by Victor Margolin and Marin Nelson.

Bart Crosby, president of Crosby Associates, says about Massey:

Maestro. Mentor. Mystic. Magician.

For more than half my life John has been one of my great heroes. His work has had an enormous influence on my own (lesser) efforts and those of hundreds of other designers and students. His designs, paintings, drawings and prints serve as an inspirational repository from which many have “borrowed.”

Intellect is inherent in his work. Simplicity and structure infused with emotion.

We have all tried to equal him and have all fallen short. He remains the Master and we the disciples.

Philip Burton, chair and professor of the UIC School of Design and a consultant at Morningstar Inc. shares the following about the Massey and this book:

The work of John Massey has been instrumental in establishing the foundation and standard of quality for American corporations and for generations of professional designers. He has shared his experience and vision with countless students through his teaching, and for us all now through this book.

We are grateful to share this book from an iconic designer and past exhibitor with you. It will be available for purchase in the Chicago Design Museum store beginning Tuesday, November 18.

Preview Night for Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles!

Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles! Preview Night November 12, 2014Join the Chicago Design Museum for a special preview of Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles! and celebrate an iconic designer who helped define the field of environmental graphic design.

Deborah Sussman left behind an incredible legacy and we are honored to show this exhibition and keep her memory alive. In this spirit, we will reflect her tastes in the details of the evening, from the drinks to the music. As Deborah’s favorite flower was the red tulip, we are requesting that attendees wear red to further honor her memory.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
6:30–9:30 PM
Chicago Design Museum

Live DJ set by Jamie Hayes
Beer provided by Lagunitas Brewing Company*

Tickets are available through Eventbrite. $10 suggested admission in advance, $15 at the door.

*Alcohol is available to those 21 and over. IDs will be checked at the door. 

Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles! 13 Nov 2014–28 Feb 2015

Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles! Opening 13 November.

The Chicago Design Museum is proud to present our next exhibition, Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles!, which will run 13 November 2014 through 28 February 2014. This exhibition recognizes an iconic designer who has helped shape the visual landscape of Los Angeles and define the field of environmental graphic design. The exhibition focuses on the early career of Deborah Sussman (1931-2014), highlighting projects that illuminate formative years in her professional development and in the growth of Los Angeles as a cultural center and a global city.

View of Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles installed at the WUHO Gallery, 2013.

View of Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles installed at the WUHO Gallery (12 December 2013 – 19 January 2014). Photo by Laure Joliet Photography.

Beginning with a pivotal summer internship in 1953, Sussman spent the early part of her career working at the Los Angeles office of Charles and Ray Eames. There, Sussman was introduced to the city and developed a multidisciplinary design approach that she eventually applied to both her work and office culture when she struck out on her own as Deborah Sussman & Co. in 1968. Throughout this time, Sussman continued to work on multiple scales, from product and package design to urban branding and immersive, architecturally-integrated environments. Sussman helped define what would later be called supergraphics: the use of bold colors, words, and shapes, enlarged beyond the boundaries of architectural edges and planes.

Detail of Giant House of Cards graphics and packaging.

Detail of Giant House of Cards graphics and packaging. Photo courtesy of Laure Joliet Photography.

In 1980, Sussman formed the office Sussman/Prejza with her husband Paul Prejza. The office collaborated with the Jerde Partnership on the visual identity of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, and catapulted Los Angeles onto the world stage in a kaleidoscope of colors that came to define not only the look of the Games but the city itself. Through its expanding scale and exuberant use of color, her graphic design tracks a path between modern and postmodern design and across the changing landscape of Los Angeles as it grew dramatically in size, density, and diversity from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Sonotubes, wayfinding for the 1984 Olympic Games, installed at the WUHO Gallery.

Sonotubes, wayfinding for the 1984 Olympic Games, installed at the WUHO Gallery. Photo courtesy of Laure Joliet Photography.

This examination of the first thirty years of Sussman’s career invites further scholarship on women’s roles in collaborative design projects in Los Angeles and the nation at large during a time period dominated by male practitioners.

Artifacts from the Los Angeles installation of Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles.

Artifacts from the Los Angeles installation of Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of Laure Joliet Photography.

Originally shown in Los Angeles at the Woodbury School of Architecture’s WUHO Gallery in 2013, Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles! will be on view at the Chicago Design Museum from November 12, 2014 through February 28, 2015. The exhibition was curated by Barbara Bestor, Catherine Gudis, Tom Kracauer, and Shannon Starkey and is organized in Chicago by Matthew Terdich, Elizabeth Cummings, and Morgan Walsh.

Photos of Starts/Speculations in Film: Expanding the Design Conversation

On 24 September, we hosted Starts/Speculations in Film: Expanding the Design Conversation, a special night of screening a selection of films from the Chicago Film Archives. Each of the chosen films represent an area for future exploration and another avenue for examining of the role of design within our city and our lives. The evening included work by Gary Brown, the Film Group, Goldsholl Design & Film Associates and Rhodes Patterson.

A group of people chat  while looking at a display vitrine.

Two gentleman look at a vitrine showcasing several artifacts. Two people talk in the background as a man examines artifacts more closely.  A photo of the twine web-like backing of the store wooden blocks. Chicago Remix popcorn provided by Popacorn.

People watch one of the films, showing a skyscraper.Visitors watch a film.

All photos courtesy of Jennifer Yu Photography. Film selection by Exhibition Director Matthew Terdich and Curatorial Committee Member Morgan Walsh with support from the Chicago Film Archives.

A huge thank you to the Chicago Film Archives for providing the films, Popacorn for the popcorn, and Jennifer Yu Photography for these amazing photos.

Starts/Speculations: A Reflection

Thank You wall photo.

The Starts/Speculations “Thank You” wall. Photo courtesy of David Ettinger Photography.

With reverence, Starts/Speculations: Graphic Design in Chicago Past and Future acknowledges, exhibits, and supports institutions and individuals that have proven to be agents of change, while simultaneously asking a series of celebrated designers to speculate on the future of communication.

From the Container Corporation of America’s historic commission of the recyclable symbol to Design for Democracy’s important re-design of a United States general election ballet, we’ve considered a series of ideas that were revolutionary for their time from firms that responded to their context with unabashed curiosity. From Other Forms’ malleable, historical Futurist methodology to the Post Family’s consideration of equality through the lens of furniture, we’ve offered a platform that allows for thoughtful, public conjecture.

While it’s worth noting that the past and future are always observed with an understanding of their specific moments in time, I am pleased with the way in which we’ve documented radical ideas through the lens of the present.

Further, I’m elated to have presented Starts/Speculations as our debut as a permanent institution. Following a capital campaign that was supported by well over 500 individuals from our community, and a series of investments from prominent organizations, we are now able to offer year-round programming. Our newfound audience is comprised of makers and consumers, both of whom are equally important to design as a catalyst of change.

As a nascent, nimble, and nontraditional organization that aspires to unite, inform, and inspire, we are so proud of the thousands of you who visited this exhibition.

Here’s to adventure. Here’s to a better understanding of Chicago’s rich legacy. And, here’s to shaping our future together.

– Tanner Woodford

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.