Reich&Petch was commissioned by Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. to design an exhibit for Ray and Dagmar Dolby Hall of American Culture: Entertainment Nation. Reich&Petch designed all of the exhibits and graphics for the gallery and led the consultant team that consisted of multimedia designers, lighting designers and media hardware integrators. The Entertainment Nation gallery challenges visitors to explore how American ideals and national identity are reflected in entertainment and how, in turn, entertainment shapes them.
The graphic design challenge was to create a contemporary graphic language that could span several decades, while at the same time, unifying the eras and curatorial messages, especially in a relatively small and narrow space. The graphic design takes its cues from early American woodcut posters and advertisements for plays, concerts, boxing matches — a uniquely American design vernacular. Mid-way through the project, the decision was made that the gallery should be fully bilingual — English and Spanish. This required a redesign of the info-rail system, as well as adjustments to the typography and image treatment, while still retaining a feeling of space and accessibility on these panels.
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