The BoNE (Best Of New England) Show is a biennial design competition, exhibition, and fundraiser to benefit AIGA’s Boston chapter. The 2009 theme was “Community,” and the design team’s goal was to create an exhibition that would celebrate the competition winners and the New England design community as a whole.
While the primary purpose of the exhibition was to showcase the 49 winning design pieces, the design team also wanted it to engage, educate, and help visitors feel more connected to the design community. Thirteen local designers, design firms, and artists were commissioned to build large dimensional letter sculptures that together spelled out "AIGA B(oNE) SHOW." This became a centerpiece of the exhibition, and the letters were auctioned off at the opening reception.
To push the “Community,” theme, the design team created an infographic wall about the AIGA in New England, including chapter sizes, locations, and other basic information. A second infographic wall, called B(oNE) Show Deconstructed, provided a glimpse into the creation of the exhibition, as well as statistics about the designers who entered work in the competition and the designers who won recognition. Another area of the exhibition afforded visitors the opportunity to share their ideas of what it takes to "B" a great designer—by contributing to a wall of B (fill-in-the-blank) speech-bubble directives, some earnest and others humorous.
The team used environment-preferable and local materials. Graphics were printed with UV-curing ink on recycled chlorine-free kraft paper, on a digital press, at a printer located five miles from the gallery, or they were created by hand. Salvaged and found objects such as furniture, twine, and discarded cardboard were incorporated into the exhibit, and the designs integrated mechanical fasteners and non-toxic glues. To illuminate the “greenness” of the project, the team created the Green Lounge, which was painted entirely in green, even the furniture. The Green Lounge also featured a slide show of past award winners to pull together BoNE Shows past and present.
The biggest undertaking for the exhibition was the re-purposing of approximately 50 wooden shipping pallets collected around the Boston area. These were deconstructed into planks, then planed and reconfigured into custom display fixtures—shelves, platforms, and frames—designed to highlight unique elements of each winning entry. This display system tied the exhibition together and provided its signature look.
Planning and execution of the exhibition was done entirely by unpaid volunteers. Planning began in October 2008, and the exhibition opened in June 2009, at a final cost of $6,800.
“The unassuming nature of spring (green) used in such a creative way to unite the narrative and exhibition elements is at the same time whimsical and a powerful commentary on what today has become an oftentimes overly slick use of type.”
“A perfect idiosyncratic expression of this region’s take on graphic design. A high impact impreesion at the show’s entry results from an inspired use of everyday and found objects for the main graphic.”
Brandon Bird, Jeff Stammen (directors); Christine Lefebvre (exhibit designer)
Tracy Swyst (AIGA), Dirk+Weiss (A/V)
Mark Laning (carpentry/display system installation)