EXHIBITION DESIGN

It's more than just your work on display. Design a complete exhibition with a well-designed title wall, labels, and more. These additional components can be an opportunity to continue thematic elements present in the overall work, or can be a traditional format of crisp black text on white substrates.

 

Before considering these elements, all artwork needs to be ready to be presented in the gallery. Start with the flowchart below to make sure your work is ready for display. 

HOW DO I DISPLAY MY WORK?

DIGITAL A/V WORK

Do you have access to equipment, such as a flatscreen, projector, or sound equipment?

YES

Test files on equipment prior to giving to a gallery. Check resolution on video and images. Videos should be HD quality, 1080x1920. MP4 format is most compatible. 

Images should be no smaller than 600 pixels in its smallest dimension. JPGs are best for slideshows. 

NO

Ask if faculty or gallery have equipment that can be used. 

NO EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE?

For assistance see faculty or Coordinator of Exhibitions to troubleshoot other display ideas. 

DIGITAL FABRICATION

Large-format printing, 3D printing, vinyl cutting, laser cutting, other. 

ARE DIGITAL FILES READY?

YES

Make sure files are created using proper file formats. Give yourself plenty of time for fabrication at printers or other production facilities. 

ARE DIGITAL FILES READY?

NO

For assistance see faculty or Coordinator of Exhibitions.

3D WORK

Will the work be on the wall, shelf, or on a pedestal?  

WALL/SHELF

Does it have or need hardware to attach safely to the wall?

YES Make sure the hardware can safely support the weight of the object. 

NOT SURE? For assistance see faculty or Coordinator of Exhibitions. 

PEDESTAL

Does it need protection?

YES Request a vitrine.

2D WORK

Does it have a frame?  

YES, IT IS FRAMED.

Use D-rings, wire, or sawtooth to hang on wall. 

NO, IT IS UNFRAMED. 

HOW DO YOU WANT TO DISPLAY IT?

Map pins, magnets, tape hinges, frames, other? Note: Paintings stretched onto stretcher bars should NOT hang off nails, but have D-rings attached. 

For assistance see faculty or Coordinator of Exhibitions to troubleshoot other display ideas.  

WHAT ELSE IS NEEDED TO COMPLETE THE DISPLAY?

ARTIST/DESIGN STATEMENT

This explains your process, influence, and research. Standard length is one paragraph to one page. Mount text panels like these to mat board or foam core. When using foam core, use fresh blades for clean cuts. Mat board is more forgiving than foam core when cutting. 

LABELS

Each object should be properly labeled with a title and media information. Label individual objects, create a diagram, or use a numbering system. Labels can also be an opportunity to expand content with additional research, narratives, or questions for the viewer. 

TITLE WALL

Choose an area to display critical information about the exhibition: exhibition title and artist name. Often, title walls are the first thing the viewer sees when entering the gallery. Craftsmanship and attention to detail are paramount for a successful title wall. 

PACKING WORK FOR TRANSPORT

Make sure your work arrives at the gallery in one piece. Consult faculty or Coordinator of Exhibitions for assistance with how to pack work safely for transport. 

VINYL

Vinyl can be used for effective displays. Vector shapes are cut on a plotter. See below for basic guide to create vinyl signage and for examples on the Best Practices page. 

DESIGN SCHEME

Exhibitions can be designed to use specific fonts, colors, or imagery on all materials to create a visually unified exhibition. Use principles of design to guide development of the exhibition design. Consult the Coordinator of Exhibitions for assistance in creating an effective design for your exhibition. 

ACCESSIBILITY

Successful exhibitions are enjoyed and accessed by all. Be mindful of accessibility when laying out the exhibition, make sure paths are unobstructed and wide enough for a wheelchair or walker. Design text panels that are easy to read using appropriate fonts, and set text panels at height that is easy for all to read. Consult the Coordinator of Exhibitions for more information. 

BASIC GUIDE FOR CREATING VINYL SIGNAGE 

1. CREATE FILES

Vinyl cutters cut vector graphics, which are composed of straight or curved paths connected by points. Create your files using vector-making programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, and AutoCAD. Text should be converted to shapes by creating outlines. Raster graphics should be converted to vector objects. Bitmap or Raster files cannot be cut using the vinyl cutter. 

2. CUT THE FILES

Send files to the vinyl cutter. The cutter will only cut through the top two layers of the vinyl, the face film and adhesive. The backing paper does not get cut through. 

3. WEEDING

Once the file is cut, the excess vinyl is removed in a process called weeding. 

4. APPLY TRANSFER TAPE

After the vinyl is cut and weeded, transfer tape is applied with a squeegie. Transfer tape transfers the cut vinyl to the desired substrate: walls, windows, etc. 

5. INSTALL THE VINYL

Install the vinyl on desired substrate. Make sure the vinyl is level before installing. Remove the backing paper and burnish firmly on substrate using squeegie. The best substrates are clean, smooth, flat, and chemically stable. Wait at least 24 hours before applying vinyl to freshly painted surfaces.