The role of information in modern society is constantly growing and the discipline and role of information design continues to evolve. This was the basic concept for INFORMATION, an exhibition at the Art Academy of Latvia focusing on the products, services and processes of graphic design in Latvia.
The exhibition demonstrated 12 different applications of information design in Latvia, including packaging, visual identity, book design, data visualization, interactive and digital tools, etc. The exhibit included 66 works by Latvian designers—all very different, but united by a passion for graphic design.
Design Studio H2Eresearch the topic through specific Internet sites, printed media, interviews with design professionals and expertise provided by museum curators. The primary objective of the exhibit was to invite people to explore the diversity of information design in Latvia and raise awareness about information design as an essential component of virtually every field.
The team’s key challenge was how to make the exhibition comprehensible for people who are not directly involved in the field of information design. Inspired by the process and basic principles of graphic design, they realized design work always starts with a white A4-size sheet of paper. Using this basic building block, they multiplied it 45 times, positioned the exhibition surfaces on a grid and arranged the objects on them. Black-on-white text was chosen as the purest way to present the information, emphasizing the colorfulness of the exhibition content.
Graphic design is interactive, and the H2E team integrated this interaction in the exhibition with mirrored tables that reflected each other and the movement of people through the exhibit—emphasizing the role of the audience in information design.
They chose three ways of presenting the design works: texts and images as printouts, actual objects and screen displays with videos. Each table revealed its theme via speech bubbles hung above it. The bubbles were communication’s intermediaries and initiators—every bubble contained a specific question that had been asked to the authors of the works exhibited. Their answers were presented on the surfaces next to their work, creating an almost personal connection between visitor and designer.
These almost levitating surfaces filled with graphic design formed the first part of the exhibition. The second part was a reading zone that provided visitors with insight into printed media and focused on the various aspects of design in Latvia’s economic and cultural space in this century. This allowed visitors to focus their attention on a different, more contemplative level.
To enhance people’s understanding of the creation and use of information design, lectures were organized in the space—graphic designers introducing the audience to their views on graphic design.
Overall, INFORMATION created an experience that invited people to explore the diverse facets of graphic design and encouraged communication and interaction among visitors and the space, graphic designers and the information itself.
H2E was involved in all stages of the project, from planning, project management and concept development to design and realization. The level of exhibition and lecture visitors, press coverage and positive feedback prompted the museum to extend the exhibition an additional two weeks longer than planned.
"This project is about simplicity and clarity of information—exactly what graphic design is about. Stripping the presentation down to black and white removes any interference or distraction from the work. Every component has been carefully thought through, from the form of the thought-bubble labels to the use of the space and the mirrored tables that remind us that people are the essential element of our work."
"From concept to implementation, this exhibition stays deftly true to its educational and experiential goals. It would be easy to see this as just beautiful layout or typography only, but the depth with which this exhibition explores and layers the elements of design in Latvia viscerally enunciates how information design enables our access and ability to address the world around us. Every move is intentional, and most importantly it acknowledges that the audience is what matters. Human interaction/movement adds yet another interpretative layer to the narrative."
Holgers Elers (curator, design concept, lead technical designer); Inguna Elere (curator, design concept, lead graphic designer); Barbara Abele, Dita Danosa (curators); Madara Jansone (project assistant and coordinator); Dagnija Balode (project assistant, financial); Laura Lorence, Anete Liepa (graphic designers); Girts Arajs (3D designer, A/V technologies, lighting)
Girts Arajs (digital content integrator)
MD Noass (primary fabricator), Design studio H2E (installation, mounting), Magnum NT (print work)