Client, Year

Harley-Davidson Museum, 2018

Services

Exhibition Design
Interpretive Graphics
Illustration

Photography

“Taming the Road in Style”

A showcase of form and function, constantly in flux

When collaborating with the Harley-Davidson Museum to update their Design Lab, the request was twofold: create an inaugural exhibit that delighted visitors, with infrastructure flexible enough to accommodate future shows and innovations. In a way, this ask mirrored the opening exhibit itself, which followed Harley-Davidson’s evolution of the 19th-century bicycle into the iconic motorcycle it’s famous for today. 

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To showcase Harley-Davidson’s newest product innovations each model year, the Design Lab needed a flexible layout that left room for storytelling and creativity.

Ashton designed a system of modular platforms, vitrines, consoles, and display cases to provide infinite configurations. Now, each subsequent gallery exhibit can have its own feel, pacing, and layout.

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This system was then paired with a variety of graphic treatments for the inaugural exhibit, which examined how the “pursuit of comfort” transformed the bicycle into the modern-day motorcycle and continues to influence its design today. 

To give the experience its own standout identity, we flooded the space with a crisp blue and white color palette, which makes the strategic touches of Harley-Davidson orange and black pop.

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Storytelling elements layered throughout the built system draw visitors further into the exhibit. For example, labels and graphics on the front of the cases explain the showcased components, while additional text, photography, and 3-D artifacts appear suspended on panels inside the display. At the back, a printed, translucent graphic provides readers with another level of detail—plus, it serves as a satisfying visual for those outside the gallery.

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Custom illustrations throughout the exhibit help visitors interpret more than a century of frame and suspension innovations. Images in the exhibit are rendered as cyanotypes, while illustrations and drawings appear as blueprints.

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HD Museum, Taming the Road in 
Style, Design lab renovation, 181459
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