Past Present Future, 20th Anniversary Celebration, Nov 9
Past, Present, Future: 20th Anniversary Celebration


22 W Washington St #7, Chicago

An evening celebrating Chicago Design — past, present, and future — from 20 years of the Chicago Design Archive. Guests were able to view work from the archive, featuring the newest additions, while mingling over light refreshments. There was a set of lightning presentations related to the past, present, and future of Chicago Design and the CDA from an amazing line-up of speakers. Following the presentations, guests were invited to continue the conversation in the gallery area over drinks. Read more.

rotating gif of stills of the facade of the Merchandise Mart with projection mapping.
Chicago Design Through the Decades

Popup/advance screening coinciding with NeoCon:
June 11–15, 2022

Art on theMart
Chicago Riverwalk Jetty (between Wells and Franklin St)

Chicago Design Through the Decades is a swift, exciting journey through the history of Chicago design spanning the last one hundred years (1920s–2020s). Investigating a human-centered approach and following engaging characters and textual tidbits from archived design works, the journey begins in the 1920s with the era’s painterly and illustrative techniques. Forms then evolve under the modes of photography, minimalism, futurism, three-dimensionality, postmodernism, and AI technologies.

Chicago Design Through the Decades team:
Daria Tsoupikova, UIC School of Design & Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL)
Sharon Oiga, UIC School of Design & Chicago Design Archive
Guy Villa Jr, Columbia College Chicago
Krystofer Kim, NASA
Jack Weiss, Chicago Design Archive
Cheri McIntyre, Chicago Design Archive
Lauren Meranda, Northeastern Illinois University & Chicago Design Archive

AI/ML visualization by Fabio Miranda, UIC Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL)
Music by Louis Schwadron, Sky White Sound, with vocalist/activist Nnelolo Karen Wilson-Ama’Echefu and rapper Elijah Robb

What You Can See/Be photo
What You Can See/Be: An Exhibition of Chicago Designers’ Journeys from Students to Professionals

Northeastern Illinois University

You cannot be what you cannot see. The design industry has a long history of homogeneity, which is discouraging for student designers from marginalized communities. Lack of representation in design history and education has created a barrier of access for student designers. Design has a diversity problem. Lack of representation and accessibility are keeping underrepresented students from finding a place in the profession.

Curated and developed by students at Northeastern Illinois University, the longest-standing four-year public Hispanic Serving Institution in the Midwest, with the intention of celebrating Chicago designers from marginalized and under-represented communities, the exhibit acknowledges issues of diversity, inclusion, and belonging within the design community. Each designer featured in the exhibit showed work from when they were students juxtaposed with their more recent work. 

This exhibition was developed in partnership with Northeastern Illinois University, the Chicago Design Archive and the Chicago Design Club.

Featured designers:
Alex Sommerville
Alisha Barnaby
Alyssa Low
Damian Loma
Elizabeth Thomas
Jawaan Burge
Jonathan Sangster
Vivi Lin

Exhibition developed by: 
Peter Alegre 
Natalie Diaz 
Cristian Martinez Gomez 
Sofia Mejia 
Marco Mendoza 
Krusha Patel 
Vicente Santoyo 
Eve Sullivan 
Lauren Meranda (Professor, NEIU)

Type Tales Chicago
Stories of Chicago’s letterforms

Columbia College Chicago

Type Tales Chicago, was an informal two-day conference about type in the Windy City. It started with a day of explorations: studio and walking tours through Chicago’s typographic destinations, then workshops by John Downer, Roger Black, and others. At the end of the day, a reception and an opening talk by Paul Shaw, the type historian. Then, on Friday, presentations by and conversations with local heroes like Jennifer Farrell, Rick Valicenti, Sharon Oiga, Guy Villa Jr, and Jackson Cavanaugh. Moderated by Northwestern University’s Susan Mango Curtis.

Chicago Design Milestones

150 Media Stream
150 N Riverside Plaza, Chicago

The Chicago Design Archive was delighted to showcase highlights of its collection in Chicago Design Milestones 1920–2019, the installation took place throughout July at 150 Media Stream, the largest media screen (3,000+ sq ft) in Chicago. The installation visualized the evolution of Chicago design by its examination and presentation of historic characteristics of design works in the CDA collection over the last 10 decades. Read more.

Looking Back: Chicago Design Milestones

625 N Kingsbury St, Chicago 

Looking Back: Chicago Design Milestones exhibited highlights of the collection in Chicago Design Milestones, an installation from Jul 1–Aug 4, 2019 at 150 Media Stream (a media art display at a grand scale). Developed in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago and Columbia College Chicago, the Chicago Design Milestones installation visualized the evolution of Chicago design by its examination and accentuation of historic characteristics of design works in the CDA collection over the last 10 decades.

27 Chicago Designers added to UIC Daley Library Special Collections

Designed by former 27 Chicago Designer Joseph Michael Essex and edited by former 27 Chicago Designer Jack Weiss, this book documents the work of the 125 cumulative members of the 27 Chicago Designers through its 55-year history. Published in conjunction with the exhibition, 27 Chicago Designers: Selling Design 1936–1991, co-curator Lara Allison said, “...without an understanding of 27 Designers, Chicago’s design history cannot be fully comprehended.”