Wilbur Henry Adams Exhibition at the Erie Art Museum

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  • View of the exhibition, Styled by Adams
  • View of the exhibition, Styled by Adams
  • The exhibition includes a bicycle he designed for Colson, a manufacturer of bicycles, scooters, and tricycles that once operated in Cleveland.
  • The exhibition includes a bicycle he designed for Colson, a manufacturer of bicycles, scooters and tricycles that once operated in Cleveland but has since closed.
  • Vinyl graphic of patents applied the full height of an end cap of a movable wall
  • Logo studies for Amsco

I’ve been slow to update my blog for about a month because in addition to working on the exhibits for the Erie County Historical Society I also agreed to pick up a side project for a friend designing graphics and creating an overall exhibition layout for an exhibition at the Erie Art Museum.

I was excited to take on this side project, even though I understood that my evenings and weekends would be devoted to this side project. The exhibition is about an industrial designer from Erie PA, Wilbur Henry Adams. As a designer, I was enamored with his drawings and sketches and really enjoyed designing an exhibition that complemented his work.

To help with the design of the exhibition, I created elevations to communicate to staff and volunteers how sections were to be hung. The curator Alexa and I picked paint colors for the walls and I created a paint plan for others to reference. One of the interesting features about the Art Museum’s changing exhibit gallery is there are 3 walls that can pivot 360 degrees. Though the walls are usually rotated 90 degrees and are usually parallel or perpendicular to the exterior wall, I suggested we angle the wall to bring the content covering Adams’ early career closer to the title graphic. Also to help the space feel more dynamic.

For the graphics, I reached out to a number of printers to find the best, most cost effective solution. I created wall graphics including the title created from cut vinyl. On many of his drawings, Adams would mark them with a gold coin with the slogan “Styled by Adams” This coin was an inspiration for the title and stickers. The exhibit title was created with a gold metallic cut vinyl circle and the slogan cut from a matte black vinyl applied to the circle.

I was excited with Alexa mentioned that she wanted to make stickers of the coin logo. At first, we were going to have them printed through Moo, but Moo doesn’t offer metallic stickers so we would have to make it an orange field or circle, not a gold coin. From working in Cleveland, I had remembered Jak Prints also printed stickers. I looked into them as an option and was excited to learn that they could create the metallic gold stickers.

Other graphics I created for the exhibition include taking a children’s book Adams had created and turning it into a wall graphic that visitors would read as they walked toward the exhibition. I created a large graphic for an end-cap of many of Adams’ patents tiled up the entire height of the wall. Finally I created the initial layout for the topic panels in the exhibition.

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