Graphic Design: Now in Production

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday April 16, 2014

Graphic Design: Now in Production, a traveling exhibition on contemporary graphic design organized by Andrew Blauvelt of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and Ellen Lupton of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, continues through August 3 at RISD, in Providence, RI.

This week, a series of lectures and presentations will introduce students and the public to some of the most vibrant graphic design work produced since 2000, including magazines, books, and posters; the expansion of branding programs for corporations, institutions, and subcultures.

The first major museum show on contemporary graphic design, this exhibition examines the state of the field with an emphasis on how designers are seizing control over the means of production to realize new creative projects, as graphic design expands from a specialized profession into a more popular and widely deployed tool.

With the rise of user-generated content and new creative software, along with innovations in publishing and distribution systems, people outside the design field are mobilizing the techniques and processes of design to create and publish visual media. At the same time, designers are becoming producers: authors, publishers, instigators and entrepreneurs, employing their creative skills as makers of content and shapers of experiences.

Left to right, top to bottom: Peter Buchanan-Smith, David Bennewith, John Morgan, Best Made Company, Mike Perry, Peter Buchanan-Smith, Anthony Burrill, Antoine et Manuel, Fanette Mellier,Laurenz Brunner, Forsman & Bodenfors, with Evelina Bratell (stylist) and Carl Kleiner (photographer), Meike Gerritzen, Aaron Draplin and Coudal Partners, Justin Manor, John Rothenberg, and Eric Gunther, Charles S. Anderson Design.

Featuring work created for the most vital sectors of communication design, Graphic Design: Now in Production explores design-driven magazines, newspapers, books and posters, as well as branding programs for corporations, subcultures and nations. It also showcases a series of developments over the past decade, such as the entrepreneurial nature of designer-produced goods, the renaissance in digital typeface design, the storytelling potential of titling sequences for film and television, and the transformation of raw data into compelling information narratives.

Wednesday, April 16, 1–5pm & 6:30–8pm:Critical Encounters with Type, Image, and Print. Andrew Blauvelt and Ellen Lupton, curators of Graphic Design: Now in Production, lead a two-part discussion, co-sponsored by the RISD Museum and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Graphic Design department. Faculty/students: no charge; Museum members/non-members: fee, reservations required at

For information about Design the Night: WYSIWYG on Thursday, April 17 and the Graphic Design Lecture Series, please visit the website.

The RISD Museum Chace Center, 20 North Main Street, Providence. RI. Directions.

Andrew Blauvelt gave a talk at AIGA/NY last year, illustrated with numerous examples, offering an overview of the various themes and topics that arise from the exhibition. Watch this webcast. 


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