Three posters created by Simple Truth designers were recently displayed during the 2016 Hong Kong Business of Design Week (BODW). How did our work end up in Hong Kong? As a sister city, Chicago was named the partner city for the 2016 BODW. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s local counterpart, World Business Chicago (WBC), asked the Chicago Design Museum (ChiDM) to plan an exhibition that would highlight Chicago’s creative community.
As an annual sponsor of ChiDM, Simple Truth was asked to submit a poster. Instead, we submitted six, three of which were displayed during BODW.
The inspiration for Great Ideas of Humanity
In 1950, Walter Paepcke, founder of the Container Corporation of America, started the Great Ideas of Western Man campaign. Paepcke commissioned artists to visually interpret quotes from famous great thinkers of Western culture. The campaign was so successful, it ran for 25 years, ending in 1975.
With great reverence for Great Ideas of Western Man, the ChiDM team restarted the campaign and retitled it Great Ideas of Humanity. This title acknowledges the increasing globalization of the world and recognizes that great ideas are not limited to gender, nationality, culture, race, etc. Each poster presents a contemporary designer’s interpretation of a quotation by one of the world’s great thinkers.
For the Hong Kong BODW, ChiDM featured 26 plates from the first two years of the original campaign (1950–1952). They contrasted those with 24 newly commissioned works, including 16 posters, two motion graphics pieces and six 3D responses. All artists involved, with the exception of two, are Chicago-based designers.
The response to the exhibition was fantastic! The Expo drew approximately 125,000 people over the course of three days (December 1–3, 2016). The ChiDM booth was consistently busy and offered a unique contrast to the mostly product/prototype-focused booths that surrounded it. Attendees commented on how powerful the work was. They found visually diverse, yet so well held together under a unified theme.
Select posters from the series will be featured at bus stops throughout the Chicago Loop in 2017, in partnership with the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Find more detailed info on the work and purchase posters at greatideasofhumanity.com.