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The Walker embodies progressive design through both the presentation of an eclectic mix of exhibitions, events, and initiatives as well as through the practice of its award-winning in-house design studio and influential fellowship and publishing programs.

Staff

  • Emmet Byrne, Design Director and Associate Curator
  • Greg Beckel, Senior Imaging Specialist
  • Aryn Beitz, Junior Graphic Designer
  • Pamela Johnson, Editor, Print & Digital Media
  • Ryan Gerald Nelson, Senior Graphic Designer
  • Gene Pittman, Photographer
  • Kathleen McLean, Editor
  • Ben Schwartz, Mildred S. Friedman Design Fellow
  • Jasio Stefanski, Digital Designer
  • Andy Underwood-Bultmann, Media Producer

General inquiries, including studio tour requests, can be sent to designinfo@walkerart.org.

Honors & Awards

2016

  • Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia (catalogue),
    Core77 Design Awards 2016, Visual Communications Professional Category, Winner
  • International Pop (catalogue),
    Core77 Design Awards 2016, Visual Communications Professional Category, Honoree
  • International Pop (catalogue),
    Print Regional Design Annual 2016
  • Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia (catalogue),
    Print Regional Design Annual 2016
  • Intangibles, Print Regional Design Annual 2016
  • Question Everything (campaign)
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2016 Judge’s choice
  • SuperScript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age (identity) AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2016 Judge’s choice
  • Intangibles
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2016
  • Insights 2016 Design Lecture Series poster
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2016
  • Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia (exhibition catalogue)
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2016
  • International Pop (exhibition catalogue)
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2016
  • Ordinary Pictures (exhibition catalogue)
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2016
  • International Pop (campaign)
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2016
  • Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia (campaign)
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2016

2015

  • Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia (catalogue)
    Design Observer, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • International Pop (catalogue)
    Design Observer, 50 Books/50 Covers

2014

  • Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites (catalogue)
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2014
  • Internet Cat Video Festival (campaign) AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2014
  • Painter Painter (campaign)
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2014
  • Rock the Garden (poster)
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2014
  • Artist-Designed Mini Golf (campaign)
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2014

2013

  • Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstruccion Suites (catalogue)
    Design Observer, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • 9 Artists (catalogue)
    Design Observer, 50 Books/50 Covers

2012

  • Graphic Design: Now in Production
    Core77 Design Awards 2012, Visual Communications, Professional Winner
  • Graphic Design: Now in Production
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2012, Publications, Judges Choice
  • Graphic Design: Now in Production
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • Walker Art Center Website
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2012, Interactive
  • Walker Art Center Website
    Print Regional Design Annual 2012
  • Eiko & Koma: Time is not Even, Space is not Empty
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2012, Publications
  • Eiko & Koma: Time is not Even, Space is not Empty
    Print Regional Design Annual 2012
  • British Arrows
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2012, Campaign, Judges Choice
  • The Parade: Nathalie Djurberg with Music by Hans Berg
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2012, Publications
  • 2011 Insights Design Lecture Series Poster
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2012, Print

2011

  • Walker Open Field Campaign
    Print Regional Design Annual 2011
  • From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America
    Print Regional Design Annual 2011
  • From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2011, Publications, Judges Choice
  • From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America
    International Center for Photography, Infinity Award 2011
  • Yves Klein: With The Void, Full Powers
    Print Regional Design Annual 2011
  • Yves Klein: With The Void, Full Powers
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • Yves Klein: With The Void, Full Powers
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2011, Publications
  • Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes
    Society of Architectural Historians, 2011 Philip Johnson Exhibition Catalog Award

2010

  • Collective Imagination campaign
    Print Regional Design Annual 2010
  • Collective Imagination campaign
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2010, Advertising/Branding Campaigns
  • The Quick and the Dead
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • Yves Klein: With The Void, Full Powers
    Midwest Art Society Award for Outstanding Catalog

2009

  • National Design Award, Corporate and Institutional Achievement
    Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
  • Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • Tetsumi Kudo: Garden of Metamorphosis
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2009, Books
  • Tetsumi Kudo: Garden of Metamorphosis
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • Trisha Brown: So That the Audience Does Not Know Whether I Have Stopped Dancing
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2009, Books

2008

  • Peter Seitz: Designing a Life
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love
    ID Magazine 2008 Annual Design Review, Design Distinction, Graphics
  • National Design Award nomination, Communication Design
    Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
  • Frida Kahlo
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2008, Books
  • Kara Walker My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2008, Books

2007

  • Walker Expanded
    Print Magazine, A + C = D, Business Graphics Competition
  • Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • 771 Artists: Walker Art Center Annual Report 2005–2006
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2007, Annual Reports
  • Design Fellowship poster
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2007, Posters, Judges Pick
  • Heart of Darkness
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2007, Books
  • Open-Ended Report
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2007, Books, Judges Pick
  • Ordinary Culture gallery guide
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2007, Brochures
  • Walker magazine
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2007, Miscellaneous

2006

  • Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980–2005
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • Walker Expanded identity
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, 365: AIGA Annual Design Competition, Brand and Identity Systems
  • House of Oracles: A Huang Yong Ping Retrospective
    ID Magazine 2006 Annual Design Review, Honorable Mention, Graphics
  • Walker Expanded identity
    ID Magazine 2006 Annual Design Review, Best of Category, Graphics
  • Walker Expanded identity
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2006, Identity Systems
  • Where _____ meets ______. opening campaign
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2006, Advertising/Promotional Campaigns
  • Expanding the Center: Walker Art Center and Herzog & de Meuron
    AIGA/Minnesota Design Show 2006, Books
  • Bits & Pieces Put Together to Present a Semblance of a Whole
    Midwest Art History Society Award for Outstanding Exhibition Catalogue
  • Walker without Walls identity campaign
    Print Magazine, Business Graphics II, First Place

2005

  • Walker without Walls identity campaign
    American Institute of Graphic Arts 2004, Communications Graphics
  • Walker without Walls identity campaign
    I.D. Magazine 2005 Annual Design Review
    Design Distinction Award, Graphics

2004

  • Walker without Walls identity campaign
    AIGA/Minnesota 2004 Excellence in Design Award
    Juror’s Selection Award
  • The Last Picture Show: Artists Using Photography, 1960-1982
    AIGA/Minnesota 2004 Excellence in Design Award
  • Past Things and Present: Jasper Johns since 1983
    AIGA/Minnesota 2004 Excellence in Design Award
  • Strangely Familiar: Design in Everyday Life
    American Institute of Graphic Arts 2003, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • Strangely Familiar: Design in Everyday Life
    I.D. Magazine’s Annual Design Review
    Honorable Mention, Graphics

2003

  • Artists and Communities at the Crossroads: Walker Art Center Annual Report 2001-2002
    2003 American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition
    Honorable Mention, Annual Reports
  • Artists and Communities at the Crossroads: Walker Art Center Annual Report 2001-2002
    AIGA/Minnesota 2003 Excellence in Design Award
  • How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age
    American Institute of Graphic Arts 2002, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age
    AIGA/Minnesota 2003 Excellence in Design Award
    Juror’s Selection Award
  • Julie Mehretu: Drawing into Painting
    AIGA/Minnesota 2003 Excellence in Design Award
  • Strangely Familiar: Design in Everyday Life
    AIGA/Minnesota 2003 Excellence in Design Award
    Juror’s Selection Award

2002

  • To/From: Rivane Neuenschwander
    AIGA/Minnesota 2002 Excellence in Design Award
  • Catherine Opie: Icehouses + Skyways
    AIGA/Minnesota 2002 Excellence in Design Award
  • 365: A Year to View. Walker 2000/2001 Annual Report
    AIGA/Minnesota 2002 Excellence in Design Award
  • American Tableaux
    American Institute of Graphic Arts 2001, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • American Tableaux
    AIGA/Minnesota 2002 Excellence in Design Award
  • American Tableaux
    American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition
    Second Place, Guides
  • Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera 1962-1972
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, 50 Books/50 Cover
  • Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera 1962-1972
    I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review 2002
    Design Distinction, Graphics

2001

  • Magnetic North: Experimental Canadian Video
    designed in collaboration with Linda van Deursen and Armand Mevis, Amsterdam
    American Center for Design Twenty-Fourth Annual 100 Show
  • Painting at the Edge of the World
    I.D. Magazine’s Annual Design Review 2001
    Honorable Mention, Graphics
  • Painting at the Edge of the World
    American Center for Design, Twenty-Fourth Annual 100 Show
  • Interactive Door Project
    designed by Antenna Design New York
    I.D. Magazine Interactive Design Competition
    Silver Award
  • Idea House Interactive
    designed by Deborah Littlejohn and Eric Williams
    I.D. Magazine Interactive Design Competition
    Bronze Award
  • Idea House Interactive
    designed by Deborah Littlejohn and Eric Williams
    AIGA/Minnesota Excellence in Design Award
  • Idea House Interactive
    designed by Deborah Littlejohn and Eric Williams
    How Magazine Annual Interactive Design Review
    Merit Award
  • 2000 BC: The Bruce Conner Story Part II
    International Art Critics Association, U.S. Chapter
    Second Place, Best Exhibition Catalogue of 2000
  • One Century/One Year: 1999-2000 Annual Report
    American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition
    Second Prize, Annual Reports
  • April 2000 Walker monthly calendar
    American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition
    Second Prize, Calendar of Events
  • October 2000 London Knees Artwork of the Month
    American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition
    Honorable Mention, Educational Resources

2000

  • Let’s Entertain: Life’s Guilty Pleasures
    I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review
    Design Distinction Award, Graphics
  • Let’s Entertain: Life’s Guilty Pleasures
    American Center for Design Twenty-Third Annual 100 Show
  • Design Internship poster
    American Center for Design Twenty-Third Annual 100 Show
  • Edward Ruscha Editions: 1959–1999
    I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review
    Honorable Mention, Graphics
  • Edward Ruscha Editions: 1959–1999
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • Through Your Eyes: 1998–1999 Annual Report
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, Communications Graphics
  • Through Your Eyes: 1998–1999 Annual Report
    American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition
    Honorable Mention, Annual Reports
  • WAC Pack
    American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition
    First Prize, Educational Resources

1999

  • Robert Gober: Sculpture + Drawing
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • Robert Gober: Sculpture + Drawing
    American Center for Design Twenty-Second Annual 100 Show
  • Edward Ruscha Editions: 1959–1999
    American Center for Design Twenty-Second Annual 100 Show
  • Regards, Barry McGee
    American Center for Design Twenty-Second Annual 100 Show
  • 1999 Insights Lecture Series poster
    American Center for Design Twenty-Second Annual 100 Show
  • Walker Art Center Internship poster
    American Center for Design Twenty-Second Annual 100 Show
  • Interaction: 1997–1998 Annual Report
    American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition
    First Prize, Annual Reports
  • Artwork of the Month brochures
    American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition
    Honorable Mention, Guides

1998

  • Dialogue: Mary Esch/Daniel Oates
    I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review
    Design Distinction Award, Graphics
  • On a Balcony: A Novel (Mark Luyten)
    I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review
    Honorable Mention, Graphics
  • On a Balcony: A Novel (Mark Luyten)
    American Institute of Graphic Arts, 50 Books/50 Covers
  • Walker Art Center monthly calendars
    American Center for Design Twenty-first Annual 100 Show
  • Diana Thater: Orchids in the Land of Technology gallery brochure
    American Center for Design Twenty-first Annual 100 Show
  • Joseph Beuys Multiples poster
    American Center for Design Twenty-first Annual 100 Show
  • Linking Art & Life: 1996–1997 Annual Report
    AIGA/Minnesota 1998 Excellence in Design Award
  • Art Performs Life: Cunningham/Monk/Jones
    AIGA/Minnesota 1998 Excellence in Design Award
  • Dialogue series
    AIGA/Minnesota 1998 Excellence in Design Award

1997

  • 1995–1996 Annual Report
    I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review
    Honorable Mention, Graphics
  • Fischli & Weiss: In a Restless World
    I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review
    Design Distinction Award, Graphics
  • Fischli & Weiss: In a Restless World
    American Center for Design Twentieth Annual 100 Show
  • Walker typeface
    designed by Matthew Carter
    American Center for Design Twentieth Annual 100 Show
  • Insights Lecture Series poster
    American Center for Design Twentieth Annual 100 Show
  • On a Balcony: A Novel (Mark Luyten)
    American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition
    Honorable Mention, exhibition catalogues
  • On a Balcony: A Novel (Mark Luyten)
    AIGA/Minnesota 1997 Excellence in Design Award
  • 1995–1996 Annual Report
    AIGA/Minnesota 1997 Excellence in Design Award
  • Walker typeface
    designed by Matthew Carter
    AIGA/Minnesota 1997 Excellence in Design Award
  • Midwest Film/Video flyer
    AIGA/Minnesota 1997 Excellence in Design Award
  • Walker Art Center calendars
    AIGA/Minnesota 1997 Excellence in Design Award
  • 1995–1996 Annual Report
    The Type Directors Club of New York

1996

  • Brilliant! New Art from London
    American Center for Design Nineteenth Annual 100 Show
  • Brilliant! New Art from London
    I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review
    Design Distinction Award, Graphics
  • Bruce Nauman
    I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review
    Honorable Mention, Graphics
  • Walker Art Center calendars
    American Center for Design Nineteenth Annual 100 Show

1995

  • Bruce Nauman
    International Art Critics Association, U.S. Chapter
    Best Book of 1994
  • In the Spirit of Fluxus
    International Association of Art Critics, U.S. Chapter
    Second Place for Best Exhibition Catalog of 1994-1995

1994

  • In the Spirit of Fluxus
    American Center for Design Eighteenth Annual 100 Show
  • The Once and Future Park
    American Center for Design Eighteenth Annual 100 Show

1993

  • In the Spirit of Fluxus
    I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review
    Design Distinction Award, Graphics
  • In the Spirit of Fluxus
    AIGA/Minnesota 1993 Excellence in Design Award
  • Public Address: Krzysztof Wodiczko
    AIGA/Minnesota 1993 Excellence in Design Award
  • The Once and Future Park
    AIGA/Minnesota 1993 Excellence in Design Award

About the Department

The Walker Art Center’s design legacy can trace its roots to its earliest days as a public art center. Daniel Defenbacher, its first director and an architect by training, initiated several pioneering projects to educate the public about the virtues of modern design. Among these initiatives were Idea Houses I and II (1941, 1947), the first museum exhibition homes to display the latest innovations in domestic architectural, product, and interior design. The Everyday Art Gallery, which opened in 1946 with Hilde Reiss as curator, became one of the first museum spaces in the United States dedicated to modern design. The Gallery offered an ambitious program of exhibitions, including special shows such as Well-Designed Articles from Minneapolis Stores, which underscored one of its primary purposes—educating the consumer about the benefits of modern design, an objective that would become a precursor of the “good design” movement of the 1950s. Another equally important goal was for design to act as a bridge for the public between the more practical and therefore accessible products of modern living and the unfamiliar, often abstract, world of modern art.

The Walker began publication of Everyday Art Quarterly in 1946, the first design journal issued by a museum. Through the Quarterly, audiences were introduced to the work of now-legendary designers. In 1954, the publication was renamed Design Quarterly, focusing on in-depth explorations of singular topics—an editorial practice that would continue until the 1990s. During the 1960s and 1970s, under the direction of Peter Seitz and later Mildred Friedman, the journal increasingly embraced topics that examined design’s impact on society. A range of subjects were explored that reflected the changing currents of design thinking: the visionary architecture of Archigram and Superstudio; issues of ecology and product obsolescence; the development of mass transit and urban renewal strategies; the ergonomics of everyday objects; and the impact of technology on design. The list of writers and contributors from this period reads as a who’s who of contemporary design.

Mildred Friedman, design curator from 1979 to 1991, sometimes in collaboration with Walker Director Martin Friedman, organized a series of groundbreaking exhibitions such as Sottsass/Superstudio: Mindscapes(1973); New Learning Spaces and Places (1974); Nelson/Eames/Girard/Propst: The Design Process at Herman Miller(1975); De Stijl, 1917–1931: Visions of Utopia (1982); The Architecture of Frank Gehry (1986), the architect’s first major museum exhibition; Tokyo: Form and Spirit (1986), featuring the work of Japanese designers such as Arata Isozaki, Tadanori Yokoo, Toyo Ito, Tadao Ando, and Eiko Ishioka; Architecture Tomorrow (1988–1991), a series of installations undertaken by Frank Israel, Morphosis, Todd Williams/Billie Tsien, Stanley Saitowitz, Diller+Scofidio, and Steven Holl; and Graphic Design in America: A Visual Language History (1989), the first large-scale museum survey of the field in the United States.

Under Andrew Blauvelt, curator of architecture and design, the Walker continues to organize major exhibitions, including Herzog & de Meuron: In Process (2000), The Home Show (2000), Strangely Familiar: Design and Everyday Life (2003), Some Assembly Required: Contemporary Prefabricated Houses (2005), Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes(2007), and Graphic Design: Now in Production (2011).

Two popular annual lecture series, which began in the 1980s, present architects and designers of international renown: the Summer Design Series, in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects Minnesota; and Insights, organized with AIGA Minnesota.

The department not only originates design-related exhibitions and lectures, but also produces the institution’s graphic identity and publications program. An in-house staff of editors and designers produces a complete range of materials, encompassing printed ephemera, environmental graphics, and exhibition catalogues. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the Walker’s graphic identity served as a de facto model for modern art museums worldwide. In 1987, the American Institute of Graphic Arts presented its Design Leadership Award to the Walker—placing it in the company of IBM, MIT, Apple, the New York Times, Nike, and Herman Miller.

In the 1990s, the institution began to focus on new art forms and new audiences, which created an opportunity to reexamine its graphic identity. Laurie Haycock Makela, design director from 1991 to 1996, commissioned typographer Matthew Carter to develop a new typeface to reflect the multivalent character of a multidisciplinary arts center. This innovative font formed the basis of a visually dynamic identity. Under the direction of Haycock Makela, Matt Eller (1996–1998), Andrew Blauvelt (1998–2010), and Emmet Byrne (2010–present), the department developed a more flexible direction, shifting the Walker’s identity to less rigidly modernist style. Such an approach reflects the institution’s varied programs, the diversity of its changing audiences, and the increasing fragmentation of the marketplace.

Since the 1990s, the Walker has been the recipient of more than 100 design awards and has been featured in numerous design publications and exhibitions worldwide. Today, the Walker’s graphic identity is widely admired for its progressive approach and is frequently cited as a model for other contemporary art museums by extending the notion of institutional identity to a more comprehensive understanding of the complete museum experience.

In 2001, the department was nominated for the prestigious Chrysler Award for Design Innovation, and its work was exhibited at the Design Museum, London. Underscoring the institution’s continued leadership and innovation, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum awarded the 2009 National Design Award for Corporate/Institutional Achievement to the Walker, the first nonprofit institution to be recognized in this category.

The Walker has published more than 1,000 exhibition guides and books to date. This ambitious program gained strength in the 1980s, and evolved its distinctive approach in the ensuing decades. Whether an artist’s monograph, a catalogue raisonné, or a publication for a thematic group exhibition, Walker catalogues eschew formulaic approaches to uniquely reflect the intrinsic character of their subject matter. In the late 1990s, the program issued a new form of catalogue that not only documented artists’ work, but also contextualized it from multidisciplinary perspectives. These reader-style volumes—Let’s Entertain (2000), Painting at the Edge of the World (2001), and The Last Picture Show (2003), for example—reinforce the Walker’s commitment to publishing new scholarly research. In 2010, the Walker launched Walker Postscript (Walker P.S.), a print-on-demand imprint that presents short and focused texts that delve more deeply, or broadly, into the rich concepts that animate the institution’s diverse artistic programs.

Mildred S. Friedman Design Fellowship

Since 1980, the Walker’s Design department has maintained a graphic design fellowship program that provides recent graduates the opportunity to work in a professional design studio environment. 2017 opportunity on hiatus. We will open the application process again in Spring 2018.