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The Best Exhibitions in California to Visit for Design Inspiration (Plus Practical Tips on What to Look For)

As designers, finding new and innovative ways to visualize your ideas can be challenging. But by broadening your skill sets and widening your reference points, you’ll be able to design work that resonates with your audience time and time again.

In this article, we’ll highlight some of the best up-and-coming exhibitions across California to get your inspiration flowing, as well as practical tips on what to look for while you’re there.

Ready to feel inspired?

LACMA x Snapchat – Monumental Perspectives

Where:

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

When: 

Ongoing

What: 

LA’s iconic monuments revisited through Snapchat’s AR technology

An insight into the possibilities of augmented reality (AR) and AR technology, this powerful and interactive exhibition will get your ideas flowing on how you can incorporate the viewer into your design work, and make them part of the journey. 

AR is rising in popularity across the design world, and according to Statista, “the number of mobile AR users is expected to reach over 800 million and is forecast to grow to 1.73 billion by 2024.”. 

The exhibition will show you how it’s done first hand, by immersing you in Snapchat’s pioneering technology. If you want to skyrocket your designs to new heights, it’s worth investing time and energy in this medium.

“I think AR is going to impact the art world in various ways, but I think that the most important one is that it can be looked at simultaneously in many places by many people.” I.R. Bach, Artist, Think Big, reflecting on the exhibition.

Getty Center

Where:

1200 Getty Center Drive

Los Angeles, CA 90049

When:

Multiple dates

What: 

“Visual art and cultural heritage for Los Angeles and the world”

Design inspiration doesn’t have to come from the graphic design itself. Immerse yourself in cultural art at The Getty to explore different art techniques from renowned artists the world over. 

If Piet Mondrian and the De Stijl art movement can inspire fashion mogul Yves Saint Laurent, what’s stopping you from finding your next ground-breaking design style from art, too?

Quality design can take many forms, much like fine art. While you’re there, consider the shapes and colors used, the composition, and the framing. What areas of artwork draw in the eye? Can you replicate this through digital design? What pieces are attracting the most viewers and why?

The Broad – Expansive Presentation of Christopher Wool

Where:

The Broad

221 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012

When:

Now until December 2020

What:

An in-depth installation of the works of artist Christopher Wool

This Chicago-born artist’s work features experiments with typography through screen printing and digital manipulation. Explore minimal color palettes and creative layering to inspire your next digital project in this installation featuring 15 works. 

Typography is a key factor in digital design, and Wool’s work plays on the traditional conventions of lettering, spacing, and order. 

Can you incorporate a repeat pattern? Block lettering? Texture?

CAAM (California African American Museum) – April Bey: Atlantica, The Gilda Region

Where:

CAAM 600 State Drive, 

Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA 90037

When:

Now until January 2022

What:

The first solo museum exhibition from April Bey

This progressive interdisciplinary artist has taken up residency at CAAM, presenting her colorful and surrealist collage work. 

Using inspiration from childhood alien stories, Bey has created thought-provoking work to highlight the oppression of the Black community throughout United States’ history. Find inspiration from her layering, expressive colors, and use of text, and be transported to the imaginary planet, Atlantica.

Bey creates emotion and feeling with her work, which is a component of design that makes it successful at connecting with an audience. When you’re designing any new piece of work, how do you want the viewer to feel? What journey do you want to take them on through your design? 

L.A Comic Con

Where:

Los Angeles Convention Center

When:

December 3-5 2021

What:

“L.A.’s favorite comic, gaming, sci-fi, horror and pop culture convention”

After a trip to Comic Con, you’ll no doubt be inspired by the endless comic artworks, sci-fi design, interactive elements, and the designers that bring characters to life. Discover new ways to bring creativity into your projects and make them exciting, engaging, and full of unique personalities. 

Gamifying is a technique used to bring game-like elements to non-game situations, and is gaining popularity in user-facing design. User experience (UX) design is a vital factor in developing engaging and customer-friendly outcomes, and what’s more immersive than a game? 

This event is a great reminder that design can be fun. Don’t be afraid to explore new avenues to make your design stand out.

Check out how agency SMACK did just this for Karl Lagerfeld in this interactive Pacman game!

SF MO MA – One Day at a Time: Susan O’Malley and Leah Rosenberg

Where:

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

151 Third St San Francisco, CA 94103

When:

Now until January 2022

What:

A celebration of color and collaboration

This bold and colorful exhibition will get your mind exploring the powerful expression of color, type and minimal design. 

The late O’Malley’s work, in collaboration with Rosenberg, explores the social practice and positive messaging and provides inspiration for design that connects with the viewer on a personal level. 

Let this exhibition spark a need for positivity and honesty in design – your audience will resonate if they feel like you’re designing for them. 

Think: how can I make my audience feel understood through design? How can I spark thought and action?

Which exhibition have you discovered? As designers, it’s important to continue to strengthen your creative muscles by embracing new mediums and sources of inspiration. 

Here at Design Force, our world-class designers are always discovering new ways to work, that’s how we are able to deliver high-quality, innovative design year after year. Where do you search for your inspiration?

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