Educate artists and library patrons about the collaborations that produced some of the world's most beautiful books.
This was my Master’s thesis project. I completed an MFA in graphic design at Indiana University in 2006. I spent a semester in the Lilly Special Collections Library at Indiana University studying print history and fine presses.
The Lilly Library has some of the most famous, rare, and beautiful books in the world. I wanted to help people better appreciate some of the best books, and the collaborative efforts that produced them.
Invitations were sent to the library’s supporters and normal mailing list for exhibitions. Faculty and students from the School of Fine Arts were also invited. It was a public exhibition, but patrons tended to be quite educated, and disposed to be book lovers.
I had one room with two walls containing glass cases. Books can be difficult to display effectively, since only a small fraction (one open spread) can ever be visible at one time.
Team / Roles
I was solely responsible for all of the research, planning, design, and execution of the exhibition.
I wanted to go beyond the standard library exhibition, which consists of an open book with a small identifying caption and perhaps a description. I planned to create experiences with the books that went beyond just viewing them behind glass.
I spent a semester researching and photographing hundreds of books in the collection. I learned about their design, typography, printing, and binding. I was especially interested in the individuals who contributed to the books, which included many famous artists and authors such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, Maya Angelou, Wynton Marsalis, William Morris, Eric Gill, and Bruce Rogers.
This exhibition required extensive planning. I took measurements of every space and designed a digital scale model for the whole show.
A few of my favorite things
Hands-on elements and audio narration
To get the viewer closer to the books, I had several interactive elements, including audio stations, type specimens, and books to flip through.
The beautiful, beautiful books
This is my favorite case of the bunch.