Wonder. Whimsy. Wild
American 19th-century folk art generally looks, well, plain. Its simplicity expresses the earnest striving of artists and artisans to meet the “art needs” of American citizens. The exhibition “Wonder, Whimsy, Wild: Folk Art in America” celebrated the art of the U.S.A.’s early years. These objects were made by minimally trained or self-taught artists in rural areas.
Our task: Design an exhibition brand identity reflecting the array of 19th-century folk art in America while appealing to a modern audience. We felt compelled to find a delicate interplay between display serif and sans fonts that would evoke a childlike spirit. Because this art is generally perceived as flat, we added an angled line to the type treatment. This design application created a sense of movement, since the reproductions could not be cropped or covered by text.
We were greatly inspired by painted chests produced by German-American immigrants and The Peaceable Kingdom with the Leopard of Serenity (1835–40) attributed to Edward Hicks.