Queer Justice: 50 Years of Lambda Legal and LGBTQ+ Rights

SEGD strives to celebrate projects that inspire and improve the human experience, including those that reflect the narratives of traditionally underrepresented communities. The project we are featuring today amplifies Queer history and celebrates the power of legal advocacy and community activism.

Featured Project

Queer Justice: 50 Years of Lambda Legal and LGBTQ+ Rights
Inaugural Exhibit for The American LGBTQ+ Museum + Traveling Exhibition
Isometric Studio

For half a century, Lambda Legal has defended the rights of Americans across the LGBTQ+ spectrum—from decriminalizing intimacy among same-sex partners to upholding the personhood of queer youth and their families. Our studio collaborated with The American LGBTQ+ Museum and Lambda Legal to create Queer Justice: 50 Years of Lambda Legal and LGBTQ+ Rights, a traveling exhibition that will tour cultural centers in six major American cities. 

The design is rooted in an impassioned aesthetic of picket sign activism and protest, centering the people at the heart of every major queer rights case in U.S. history with a collage of bold graphics, original illustrations, and archival imagery. The exhibition amplifies the heroism of Lambda’s plaintiffs and attorneys, while also emphasizing the tangible impact of legal advocacy on the lives of real people. 

The traveling exhibition is designed as a set of five moveable carts, each of which comprises layered panels arranged on posts that rise above an ash wood base—evoking the visual of picket signs. The exhibition architecture flexibly adapts to the needs of multiple sites. The panel system is designed for efficient assembly and transportation, while also creating an emphatic sense of place as it activates each traveling destination. The front and back of each cart are symmetrical, resulting in a design that appears cogent and organized, and not overly complicated. 

For the exhibition visual identity, we designed a custom typeface, Lambda Sans, based on the headline of a 1970’s flyer by the Gay Activists Alliance. The flyer explains the significance of the lambda symbol to the LGBTQ+ movement, describing it as “an exchange of energy…a peoples’ will aimed at common oppressors.” The typeface adopts the raw, hand-carved aesthetic of the flyer headline, deploying select oblique characters and ligatures that create visual tension and energy in the composition of exhibition section titles. Bold, saturated colors and illustrations inspired by LGBTQ+ symbology further amplify the didactic content.

Isometric Studio at 2024 SEGD Exhibition + Experience

Hear from Isometric Studio Partners Andy Chen and Waqas Jawaid next week at SEGD Exhibition + Experience as they take audience members behind the scenes to share the process of designing exhibitions and signage for prominent clients such as National Black Theatre, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and The American LGBTQ+ Museum. They will demonstrate how at key moments in the design process, the designer can influence the output to enhance the political and cultural significance of the client’s mission.

Andy Chen
Isometric Studio

Andy studied sociology at Princeton University, where he was awarded the Pyne Honor Prize, the university’s highest general undergraduate distinction. He then studied graphic design at RISD, where he received his MFA as a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow. Andy started his career at Pentagram, where he worked on the rebranding of Bausch + Lomb with partner Paula Scher. As a Fulbright Scholar at the Royal College of Art, Andy conducted ethnographic research on aging, sexuality, and social stigma. He is a contributor to Design Observer, Design Taxi, and Open Manifesto.

Andy has spoken at international conferences including the London Design Festival, Design Indaba, RGD DesignThinkers, and Kyoorius Designyatra. He has served on the faculty of the Maryland Institute College of Art and the School of Visual Arts.

Waqas Jawaid
Isometric Studio

Waqas received his undergraduate degree with highest honors from Princeton University and a Masters in Architecture with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. At Princeton, he was awarded the Frederick White Prize for his thesis on architectural apartheid in the Paris banlieus. Waqas previously worked at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, SANAA, Harvard Art Museums, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. He is a founding organizer of Climate Collective, a NYC-based organization that sparks civic discourse about climate change through design and storytelling.

Waqas has lectured at venues including Harvard University, the Center for Architecture, and Princeton University Art Museum. He has served on the faculty of the Maryland Institute College of Art and the School of Visual Arts.

About Isometric Studio

Based in New York City, Isometric Studio collaborates with leading institutions to craft visual identities and experiences that champion inclusivity, equity, and justice, tackling vital social issues through design.

About SEGD

We are designers of experiences connecting people to place. SEGD is a multidisciplinary community collectively shaping the future of experience design. We are a thought leader and an amplifier in the practice of experience design. Learn more at segd.org.