Setting the Stage: Objects of Chicago Theatre Exhibition Identity

Design Museum of Chicago

Exhibition logo
Promotional installation for Setting the Stage in the Cultural Center
Brand mailer label, sent to over 200 Chicago-area theaters to solicit their involvement in the exhibition
Reply postcard for theaters to indicate their interest in getting involved. Risograph printed in flat gold on white cardstock.
Digital mockup of exhibition-specific bi-fold brochure advertising upcoming Design Museum events and providing background on the organization. Risograph printed in white and flat gold on dark grey cardstock.

Design in theatre can take many forms, including costumes, lights, sound, props, and sets, among countless other examples. Setting the Stage celebrates the myriad ways design is employed in stage productions.

Using objects on loan from Chicago theatres, this exhibit emphasizes the diversity, depth, and breadth of theatres in the city and explore how words are translated by designers into a production. See the process behind the final products and learn more about how and why design decisions in theatres are made.

The overarching goal for the exhibition identity was to create a palpable sense of drama while also pulling from the aesthetic approach to the design of the exhibition itself, which was built to look and feel like the backside of a set. We wanted viewers to feel like they were getting an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into the nuts and bolts of theatre productions. For this reason, and because we weren't quite sure what we would be receiving from each theater, we recreated on the walls of our gallery space a modular frame structure akin to what you would find behind a theatre flat or piece of a set. It was into this gridded structure that we set the content for the exhibition. Written information about each theater was then placed in cut vinyl on inset 24x24" plywood panels.

Graphic Designer, Art Director
Annie Leue
Exhibition Designer, Art Director
Yaro Banduro
Executive Director of Operations and Collection
Lauren Boegen
Executive Director
Tanner Woodford
Project link