How We Created the Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light Brand

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How We Created the Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light Brand

By: Sarah R. Smith, Director of External Relations, and the team at Device | @SarahatReynolda, @WeAreDevice

Ansel Adams was famously exacting about the ways that he wanted the public to encounter his work. He felt strongly that audiences should encounter his photographs in the form of his exhibition prints exclusively. And a lot went into crafting those exhibition prints – just as a lot goes into crafting the exhibition itself. We know; "Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light" was organized exclusively for Reynolda House. 

Ansel Adams brochure in front desk display. Visitors to the exhibition will likely pick up our accompanying field notebook. And if you do, chances are you’ll take it home to keep as a memento of experience.

That was all by design.

The field notebook, carefully developed in tandem with the creative team at Device Creative Collaborative, is the culmination of a deep dive into the world of Ansel Adams.

Before we get to the field notebook, let’s step back a little and see how it fits into the wider visual context of the exhibition. Because in design, like photography, everything happens for a reason. It’s all about experience. And we wanted to capture the essence of Adams, his methods, and his work – and share it with our visitors.


Ansel Adams exhibition logo

With its no-nonsense design, the exhibition’s logo leverages the typography style from Adams’ original exposure records. Gallery wall graphics, rendered in reflective material, artfully capture Adams’s belief that “there are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” 


Ansel Adams title wall

The typeface used throughout is also reminiscent of the typography used by the National Parks that were Adams’s second home. Even the shimmery, silver-toned exhibition collateral such as t-shirts and water bottles are a nod to Adams’s reputation as a “light seeker” and environmentalist – whether in the moment trying to find that perfect shot, developing film or making prints in the darkroom.

Ansel Adams custom water bottles

Ansel Adams custom T-shirt

All of these elements – and many more – came together to form our field notebook companion piece. Drawing inspiration from those carried by outdoorsmen, it’s designed for note-taking, education, and exploration. Layers of silver ink and subtle spot gloss varnishes over a matte white background capture Adams’s passion for light, while offering moments of discovery about his life, his work, and vintage photographic processes. 

Reviewing the Ansel Adams brochure



Sponsor panel on brochure

Thanks to an intricate cut-and-fold process, the final page unfolds into a shimmering poster featuring a line drawing reimagining of a famous photograph of Adams atop his wagon – but rendered in subtle spot gloss varnish, so that it’s only visible when the poster is shifted from side to side in the viewer’s hands, making them involved in capturing the right light.

Ansel Adams wagon linedrawing

Ansel Adams poster


The branding is rich with design moments and encourages visitors to take a hands-on approach in exploring the space around them, just like Ansel Adams. 



How nice to learn of the study and care going into your Adams exhibit. Thank you for treating him and his work with the respect they merit. I look forward to seeing the exhibit in person at month's end. 

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