DESIGNING WITH RESTRAINT
Exhibit Envoy is a non-profit organization that produces traveling educational exhibits for California schools and communities. I've worked with them for several years and last year had the privilege of conceiving, designing and producing their exhibit titled, "The War Comes Home." The exhibit was based on a book built around a collection of letters written home by soldiers spanning the Civil War to the Iraq War. The goal was to help viewers empathize with the soldiers as people, sharing their experiences of war and the return home.
Our biggest challenge was finding the right tone — sounding neither patriotic or anti-war. In addition, we had to edit a 200-page book into 12 free-standing banners that worked as a cohesive exhibit. The story needed to be concise and the visual presentation engaging.
I turned the essence of each book chapter into short, bold headlines. And in the spirit of further restraint, recommended we not add any additional commentary but let the soldiers' words speak for themselves.
Our most important reactions would be coming from veterans. Before we went into production, we met with a group to get their feedback. The veterans told us that they were moved by the respectful tone and proud of the exhibit. Exhibit Envoy received more requests than expected for "The War Comes Home" and we printed five additional packages to meet the demand.