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Given the Walker’s dive into new media (this blog being a case in point) it may surprise some readers that the venerable Walker library is only searchable though an old-fashioned card catalog system. In a hallway between the library and the archives live three or four hulking pieces of furniture, which hold thousands of cards, records for each book.

These somewhat esoteric index cards, punched with one hole at the bottom edge, and housed one after another in long, narrow drawers, formed the inspiration for the exhibition graphics of Text/Messages: Books by Artists, on view now in the Medtronic Gallery.

Making a direct link to its origin — the library and the permanent collection–generated the visual identity of the exhibition and the related event mailer. Through several discussions between the designer and the co-curator of the exhibition — librarian Rosemary Furtak — a call number for the exhibition was created,

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The typeface Monospace Century Schoolbook is used to capture the look and feel of the original cards, which are still produced with a typewriter. The manila paper stock further emphasizes this relationship.
The call number became an essential element in the visual identity for the exhibition, as well as the color of the paper stock which is used on the gallery walls and title graphics.

Eventually, a limited edition publication listing the the appropriate Dewey Decimal call number for each book in the exhibition will be available in the library (shelved under our new custom call number), allowing the show to be recreated by visitors to the library. Embedded in the design system is a mechanism that essentially returns the art objects back to their origin as books in the library, keeping the exhibition alive forever!

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