Willi Smith: Street Couture

Willi Smith: Street Couture

Willi Smith: Street Couture

Mixed media

Dimensions variable

2020

Polymode was responsible for all levels of didactics, A-, B-, and C-level graphics (read: title wall, timeline, headlines, subheads, and object captions: 62 pieces in total).

Willi Smith: Street Couture

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum / Rizzoli

7.5″ x 11.5″ Book

2020

256 Pages

Our team designed the catalog, the didactics, collaborated on the exhibition design, and art directed the online community archive’s look and feel for Willi Smith: Street Couture, the first museum survey of designer Willi Smith (1948–1987). Through hundreds of the artist’s works across a range of media, the exhibition illuminates an under-recognized pioneer of streetwear fashion—one who played an essential role in the New York art scene of the 1970s and 1980s before his sudden death, in 1987, of AIDS.

Willi Smith Community Archive

Video of the website

00:54

2020

The Willi Smith Digital Community Archive invites friends, collaborators, and admirers of American designer Willi Smith to share in writing his history. The site collects and publishes personal recollections, new scholarship, video, and digital ephemera that contribute to a greater understanding of Smith’s life, work, and times.

Design for Willi Smith

2020

A collaborative essay, written at the request of the curator talking about our, personal and professional, reasoning and rationale for designing the Willi Smith catalogue and exhibition design. It is the last essay in the published catalogue.

Willi Smith: Street Couture

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum / Rizzoli

7.5″ x 11.5″ Book

2020

256 Pages

 

Willi Smith: Street Couture, is the first museum survey of designer Willi Smith (1948–1987). Through hundreds of the artist’s works across a range of media, the exhibition illuminates an under-recognized pioneer of streetwear fashion—one who played an essential role in the New York art scene of the 1970s and 1980s before his sudden death, in 1987, of AIDS.

Our team designed the catalog, the didactics, collaborated on the exhibition design, and art directed the online community archive’s look and feel.

Willi Smith: Street Couture

Mixed media

Dimensions variable

2020

Polymode was responsible for all levels of didactics, A-, B-, and C-level graphics (read: title wall, timeline, headlines, subheads, and object captions: 62 pieces in total).

Willi Smith Community Archive

Video of the website

00:54

2020

 

The Willi Smith Digital Community Archive invites friends, collaborators, and admirers of American designer Willi Smith to share in writing his history. The site collects and publishes personal recollections, new scholarship, video, and digital ephemera that contributes to a greater understanding of Smith’s life, work, and times.

Design for Willi Smith

2020

A collaborative essay written at the request of the curator, speaking about our personal and professional reasoning and rationale for designing the Willi Smith catalog and exhibition design. It is the last essay in the published catalog.

Poetic Research

Conceptually, the identity of the exhibition comprises a set of fundamental elements: verticality; Smith’s cutting-edge designs; the ghosting of memory and the collective loss of potential mentors to AIDS (as expressed by the grey tones); New York’s architecture and broad avenues; and the proportions of the standing, human body. This theme flows seamlessly through all forms of the identity’s typography—from the catalog’s front matter, to the headlines displayed throughout the galleries, and other related exhibition content.

Explore this project’s poetic research