Skål exhibit

Identity and collateral for the Museum of Danish America's traveling exhibition on the history and culture of beer and aquavit in Scandinavia, called "Skål! Scandinavian Spirits."

Brief

The Museum of Danish America, located in Elk Horn, Iowa, has been open since 1994 as a national center for the Danish-American community. Its mission is “to celebrate Danish roots and American dreams.” In 2015, MDA was looking to create a new exhibit to highlight the drinking traditions of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, following those traditions to Scandinavian-American communities, and answering questions like “What is aquavit, anyway?” and “How do you ‘skål’ correctly?” The exhibit opened at the Museum’s Iowa location, and then traveled on a national tour of museums and cultural institutions.

  • Logo / Identity
  • Catalog
  • Interpretive panels
  • Commemorative poster
  • Event promotion

Process

For the exhibition’s identity, we developed a type-based logo coupled with a repeating graphic pattern. The pattern draws from the more traditional patterns found in Scandinavian folk art. The handmade feel and green colors of the pattern and logotype help to convey an organic, “folk art” look. The pattern is made up of objects specific to Scandinavia, ranging from viking ale bowls to aquavit ingredients to mermaids.

We carried the identity through the design of the interpretive panels. These 16 panels guide the viewer through the exhibition and provide detailed explanations of historic artifacts, cultural traditions, and even drink recipes.

The exhibition catalog is wire-o bound and features a wraparound cover with the Skål pattern embossed. The commemorative poster is an 18 x 24 inch, two-color screen-print. Oxide also designed some more traditional collateral for the exhibition, including a postcard and small exhibition poster.

Results

The exhibit was very successful, and Museum staff have credited higher-than-expected attendance numbers in part to the design of the materials. Even Lars Kragelund – the Technical Brand Director from exhibition sponsor Aalborg Aquavit, who came over from Norway to attend the opening – was highly complimentary of the identity and collateral, noting that it captured a very authentic feel of traditional Scandinavian design, while also feeling very modern and contemporary.

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Skål! Scandinavian Spirits Identity

The Museum of Danish America, located in Elk Horn, Iowa, has been open since 1994 as a national center for the Danish-American community. Its mission is “to celebrate Danish roots and American dreams”. Oxide has had the privilege of working with the Museum of Danish America on various projects in the past. Recently, they asked us to develop the look and identity for their upcoming exhibition on the history and culture of beer and aquavit in Scandinavia, called “Skål! Scandinavian…