Title Wall Challenge: 27 Exhibition Logos in 27 Hours


Your exhibition logo design is most likely the first point of contact your audience will have to a new exhibition. It could be seen it on a poster, an ad in a community paper, or on the title wall in your space. So it’s important that the exhibition’s logo design is clear no matter how it is viewed and that it communicates the tone of the show. In my last blog, I gave my 3 Step Process for How to Design a Museum Exhibition Logo. Following this simple process can be a tool to keep focused and create interesting and appropriate exhibition graphic design.


Step 1: Research

What is the exhibition about? What tone should it set?

Who is the exhibition for?

What’s the ultimate goal of the exhibition?

Is there any precedent?

What time period is the content or subject from?

What framing elements will need to be included?

Step 2: Design





Step 3: Collaboration

See the full blog post with more tips and information. 

In January of 2019, I began a design exercise of creating an exhibition logo, or title wall design, for 27 different shows. To create each exhibition logo, I followed the basic steps outlined in my process: research the exhibition, define a tone, establish an overall shape, refine type, and add visual elements when appropriate. Below you will see all 27 exhibition logos and reflections on my experience completing this logo challenge.

Title Wall Challenge: Parameters


I set a limit of 1 hour to work on each exhibition logo: 15 minutes of research, 30 minutes of sketching, and 15 minutes of computer rendering. These were somewhat flexible, but I did my best to adhere to the time limit. The exercise was to stretch some creative muscles, not create final logos, so I didn’t want to overthink or overwork any of the marks.


Because research is such an important part of my process when designing exhibition logos, I wanted to work with real exhibitions so that I could dive deep into readily available content. Each title in my challenge was taken from a real life exhibition that was a past recipient of the Excellence in Exhibition Awards by the American Alliance of Museums. I read each exhibition’s press release and looked for supplemental research from news articles. I purposefully did not explore the marketing for each exhibition as I wanted to keep a clear head and not replicate what had already been done by the hosting institution.


When working on my designs, I did not make many color decisions in order to focus on the shape and text of the logo.

Title Wall Challenge: Experience


For the most part, I was able to follow the steps in my process. I was limited in knowing details specific to target audience and what each exhibition’s space would look like. I was also not able to have that important collaboration stage with others familiar with the content.


In researching each exhibition logo, I identified three words that would inform design choices. This was most useful for defining tone; i.e. play, connection, somber, legacy.


Examples from the  exhibition logos seen above:

National Geographic Sacred Journeys – exploration | pilgrimages | sacred

The Science Behind Pixar – lighting | technical | animated

Broken? Fix It! – making | utilize | play

State of the Art – road trip | discovery | connection

Title Wall Challenge: Reflections


My goal in this logo challenge was to try new things and explore new techniques. Knowing that I would ultimately present all 27 exhibition logos together, I wanted each one to be unique. There are some logos I love and some I feel need more work. Having an ongoing creative brief that I could dive into and have fun with was an energy boost to my creativity. I was able to try new skills, learn about new fonts, and work with a variety of tones and styles.


More than anything, I loved learning about each museum’s brand and mission and the incredible work happening all over North America.

This simple Title Wall Challenge was the best way to start the new year, and I’m so proud of each little exhibition logo that was made. Branding is more than a logo, though, so my next step is to take my favorite marks from this logo challenge and expand what it could look like throughout an exhibition’s graphic design. Stay tuned!

Your exhibition’s branding is more than a logo. See Mandalu’s branding package to get all the graphic design support and assets you need to make the best impression or reach out for a custom quote based on your unique needs.


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Exhibitions and Institutions included in the Title Wall Challenge:


1.     Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration – Eastern State Penitentiary, Currently on view

2.     Altered State: Marijuana in California – Oakland Museum of California

3.     Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road – The Getty Museum

4.     The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe – Asian Art Museum

5.     William Conner House – Conner Prairie, Currently on view

6.     Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People – San Diego Natural History Museum

7.     Girls Writing the World: A Library ReImagined – Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, Currently on view

8.     Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations – National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian, On view through 2021

9.     Coast to Cactus in Southern California – San Diego Natural History Museum, Currently on view

10.  National Geographic Sacred Journeys – Children’s Museum, Indianapolis

11.  Wyeth: Andrew and Jamie in the Studio – Denver Art Museum

12.  The Science Behind Pixar – Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Currently on view

13.  Living Seashore – National Aquarium, Currently on view

14.  Object Project – The National Museum of American History, Currently on view

15.  Pacific Worlds – Oakland Museum of California

16.  Broken? Fix It! – Long Island Children’s Museum

17.  The Wonder Sound – The New Children’s Museum, Currently on view

18.  State of the Art – Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

19.  Your Brain – The Franklin Institute, Currently on view

20.  Our Living Languages – Royal BC Museum, Currently on view

21.  Dear Boston - The Office of the City Clerk Archives and Records Management Division (Boston City Archives)

22.  The Big Graph - Eastern State Penitentiary, Currently on view

23.  FreePort – Peabody Essex Museum

24.  Design for the Modern Child – Philadelphia Museum of Art

25.  Jungle Trails – Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Currently on view

26.  Shop Life – Tenement Museum, Currently on view

27.  Nature Lab – Natural History Museum, Los Angeles County, Currently on view

Full list of recipients : Excellence in Exhibition Awards by the American Alliance of Museums