Big Picnic Project // 2018Designed by Tori Green & Devon Wolfe
Kansas City’s Big Picnic is an annual celebration held in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and adjoining Theis Park. Each year, graphic design students at the Kansas City Art Institute are given the opportunity to produce a brand and accompanying activities for this event. Deliverables include a program / map, sculpture incentive to encourage visitors to explore the sculpture garden, a kid’s art activity, temporary tattoo designs, event signage, and social media assets. The highlighted sculpture artist whose work was featured in the sculpture incentive for the 2018 Big Picnic celebration was Wendell Castle, a sculptor known for his monumental, naturalistic, organic pieces. The designer I was partnered with for this project, Devon Wolfe, and I wanted to accentuate the qualities of Castle’s work throughout the identity system.
User Experience Development
Together, Devon and I came up with brand descriptors like biomorphic, natural, curious, playful, and invigorating, and we developed a lively color palette that captured the whimsy of Castle’s sculptures and the vibrancy of the event. The type palette includes Tremor ITC, an animated, fun typeface, and Museo Sans, the typeface the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art utilizes in their brand. Devon and I proceeded to create layouts for the gatefold itinerary; Devon focused on illustrating the icons while I rendered the map and overall layout. Fortunately, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art hosted a user testing trial for each team to test the maps and activities that were being proposed, which resulted in further refinements.
After generating the visual identity system and itinerary for the Big Picnic event, Devon and I shifted gears to creating mocking-up brand applications. Using the illustrations Devon produced, we each designed assets, like signage, tattoos, and snapchat filters, so the Big Picnic committee could get a better sense of what the brand could look like in real life. Likewise, upon finalizing the brand, Devon and I were tasked with making the sculpture incentive and kid’s art activity. We came up with two different directions for the Big Picnic board to pick from that emulated Castle’s mode of production and ideology.
In direction A, the proposed kid’s sculpture incentive was for the children to go to each of Castle’s highlighted works and receive a wooden piece that resembled the sculpture formally. After visiting all four sculptures, the kids could then go to the art tent and create art out of the wooden pieces they collected. We also provided creation prompts, such as “create a musical sculpture,” or “create a wearable,” to inspire their artistic production. During user testing, we made sure to give out multiple types of wooden pieces to see how the children used them, as well as markers, glue, and string to allow the kids to fully experiment with the wooden pieces they received.
Direction B was a bit more experimental; the kid’s sculpture incentive was for the children to collect materials at each of the four Castle pieces. These materials would be used at the art tent to create biomorphic sculptures out of plaster. The theoretical four materials stationed at each sculpture include a big bag to carry the materials in, a zip-lock bag of plaster, a water bottle filled with the amount of water necessary to plaster cast, and a Big Picnic balloon. At the art tent, with the help of staff, the kids could then put the plaster in the balloon, mix in the water, and make their own biomorphic sculpture.
Of the five teams, the brand Devon and I made did not get chosen to be incorporated into the 2018 Big Picnic event. Nevertheless, we both had a lot of fun designing for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and learned extensively about user testing trials, creating a visual identity system for a large-scale institution, and teamwork.