In early November an intrepid group of 30+ Jeffferson Graphic Design students and faculty embarked on a field trip to New York City for the day. Our group arrived at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum—a part of the Smithsonian—to see some great exhibitions, in particular one on color. Afternoon activities included visiting the Society of Illustrators Museum; a studio tour of WeWork Headquarters; another studio tour of Open; and a behind-the-scenes view of the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography at the Cooper Union. The field trip was supported by the AIGA Jefferson Student Group.Cooper Hewitt
Jess: The museum was nothing I had expected. It was my first time at the Cooper Hewitt and I was very surprised. It was an awesome experience and I enjoyed the interactive pens that allowed you to save your favorite works of art and look at them again later online. The color exhibition was my favorite. It was really amazing to be able to use the pens to draw patterns and see them reflect on the walls around us. Even the gift shop was filled with so many fascinating items.
Abbey: It was my first trip to the Cooper Hewitt and it did not disappoint. Like Jess, I liked using the interactive pens that they have to draw and doodle patterns and objects. Seeing my doodles blown up and extrapolated on a large wall was so cool! (Also, I’m a sucker for a good museum gift shop and this one was pretty cool.)
Jess: Open studio was very welcoming. Scott Stowell is the founder of Open. He shared all of his favorite projects with us and explained their process in great detail. He talked about the challenges that were faced in each project. At the end they let us ask questions and we had some great conversations. They even gave us advice for the projects we are working on and talked about what they think is next in design. The studio was small, but perfect for their team. They are in a great location and have been there for 20 years. The space was very cool and everyone enjoyed their view of the city from the eighth floor.
Society of Illustrators; WeWork; Strand Bookstore
Abbey: After the Cooper Hewitt, I toured The Society of Illustrators with some other friends and faculty. It was a last minute plan but so worth it! They had a children’s book illustration exhibition on display and I was in heaven. I loved seeing so many different illustration styles, stories, and mediums on display- definitely a place to check out if you are passionate about illustration.
The next stop that afternoon was at WeWork Headquarters. If you don’t know, WeWork is a company that provides shared workspaces and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, small businesses and large enterprises. Our AIGA Jefferson student group coordinated a visit there with some help from our awesome program faculty (shoutout to Beth Shirrell!).
Matt Whetsell, a senior product designer there, gave us a tour of the headquarters and the office space was unbelievable (like basketball hoops outside of the elevator and dragon fruit infused water kind of unbelievable). Although the space itself was super cool, my favorite part was listening to Matt and a few other team members talk about their career journeys and give advice to us as we prepare to head out into the real world.
Finally, we wrapped up the day at The Strand Bookstore before heading back on the bus. Again, The Strand is a place I have never been but sure want to go back to. So many books!! A group of us found the children’s section and geeked out as we found books that contained the illustrations we had seen on display at The Society of Illustrators earlier in the day. It was the perfect full-circle ending to a wonderful day.