Logo for the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum
Home Exhibits Hoover

Students Educators Laura Ingalls

National History Day Exhibit Projects

Pracital Help in Exhibit Design

1. How to Relate the Topic to the Design of the Exhibit

By "design" we mean the overall plan for your exhibit. This includes the color, the layout, the features and the font and how they all work together. For example: If you were going to do an exhibit about a club of rose growers, called the "Tri-City Rose Growers' Club" what kind of an exhibit would you make? We'll give you 2 examples to look at below.

Number 1exhibit panel

Take a look at the overall effect of the panel. What does it say to you? What sort of a mood or image is the exhibit designer trying to get across? Does this look like an exhibit about a club for rose-growers?

Let's break it down.
-- Background color: gold. Hmmm. Is that a color you associate with roses? Or do you think more of pastel colors or deep reds?
--Font: This font (I love fonts and I collect them) is called "Calvin and Hobbes". It's great for lots of things, but does it remind you of roses? Didn't think so. I also did a funky effect to the text in Photoshop that changed the plain letters into something puffy and outlined in gray. It kind of looks like graffiti now. Do you think that people who grow roses often paint graffiti on the side? Doubt it.
--Images: Each of these images has roses or a gardener in them, but if you didn't have the title, could you look at the images and figure out what this exhibit panel was about? Maybe. There are the pink pruning shears that might make the viewer think of pruning roses, but would they think of a club of gardeners? The soldiers or boys scouts, or whatever they are, in the upper left would really throw them. Be careful about what unwritten text your images tell your visitor. Also the white background squares of the drawings look really bad on the gold. You might consider cutting the images out and placing them on your colored background. That would look like this, which is a big improvement.

Number 2exhibit panel
Click here for a larger image.

We'll ask the same questions of this panel as we did of the other panel: Take a look at the overall effect of the panel. What does it say to you? What sort of a mood or image is one trying to get across with an exhibit about a club for rose-growers?

-- Background color: the background color is a pale yellow to match the dress of the lady in the illustration. A rose color looks nice, too.
--Font: This font is called Shelly Volante and is quite feminine and frilly. I made the text match the color of the rose in the bottom left of the illustration.
--Images: The images on this panel have things to do with gardens, roses and the club (or people). I used a romantic, fuzzy sort of illustration of a woman in a rose garden, but something more closely related to the club might be better. Then I used a photo of a group of people, and a photo of rose with a small text under it explaining it. There is more reason for these illustrations than for the ones in the other panel.

All of these things should work together to help explain your topic. It doesn't explain the history that you are telling, but it supports it.

You know, if you do any research on-line for your topic, look at the font they use for the website on that topic. Look at the background color or pattern. Look at how it (should) go together to create an overall feeling or impression that relates to the topic. You may also want to look at the web pages on our website related to our past temporary exhibits. There are lots of examples of integrated design there.


Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum
P.O. Box 488
210 Parkside Drive
West Branch, IA 52358 | 319-643-5301