Open Source, designed by J2 Design in collaboration with Ex;it and Mural Arts, is the largest international art exhibition in Philadelphia’s history, with impactful public art installations created by 14 renowned international artists and 40 events throughout October 2015. Artists worked with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and guest curator Pedro Alonzo to create a new series of public artworks that explore and illuminate Philadelphia’s diverse urban identity.

The Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD) chose the Open Source project as an Honor Award Winner at the 2016 SEGD Global Design Awards. Since 1987, these awards have highlighted design that connects people to place by providing direction, content, and compelling experiences in the places where we work, play, learn, travel, shop and gather. Award winners were chosen based on the wide variety of design tools they used to tell stories, build brands and create a strong sense of place.

Alan Jacobson, Principal at J2 Design and ex;it, received the award for the agencies’ creation of Open Source’s branding, exhibit design, collateral pieces and events that together created a comprehensive and accessible brand identity that was socialized throughout all neighborhoods of the city to facilitate awareness, participation, attendance and engagement through the arts.

The design team designed and executed the HUB exhibit space at the Graham Building, a vacant storefront at the base of a center city high-rise office building, to set the tone with a dynamic voice for the entire project. The HUB was an immersive design experience experience that featured the artists, their history and specifics about the work they were creating during the Open Source month. A lounge environment, an integral experience at the HUB, was designed to accommodate a rotating program of food vendors, Wi-Fi and furniture as a place of respite and learning.

The jury noted that this project was “A beautifully integrated, dynamic and cohesive brand identity that comes to life in two and three dimensions, across exhibit design, environments and print and social media. This is an inventive, fresh approach to awareness-building and placemaking.”

J2 Design worked with David Grasso (landlord), Ikea (furniture partner), Shaun Baer Woodworking (displays and environmental detailing), and Walter Signs (wall and window graphic) to create The Hub. Art installations were executed by Mural Arts and its partners.

All photos by Steve Weinik