CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF HOUSTON
The Children’s Museum of Houston dedicated to transforming communities through innovative, child-centered learning with a vision to spark a passion for lifelong learning in all children. Founded in 1980 and housed in a whimsical building designed by internationally acclaimed architect Robert Venturi, the Children’s Museum of Houston offers a multitude of innovative exhibits and bilingual learning programs for kids ages birth to 12 years. The Museum serves more than 1,400,000 people annually and operates as a 501(c)(3) under the direction of a Board of Directors. I, Gerald-James Rhodes, first joined the Children’s Museum as a Graphic Designer in 2004 and eventually became the first Art Director of Branding and Collateral Design. I am a graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a BFA, concentration in Graphic Design and Photojournalism. I am also proud to be alumni of the 2018 class of the Artist INC-Houston program. My fine art pieces can often be found touring in gallery shows, city hall presentations, and even in your local library. With the help of Matthew Boteilho and Anthony P. Orantes (pictured above), I visually tell the story of the Children’s Museum of Houston through our exhibitions, website, direct mail, marketing campaigns, and television commercials.
PICTURED LEFT TO RIGHT:
Matthew Boteilho, Graphic Designer; Gerald-James Rhodes, Art Director of Branding and Collateral Design; Anthony P. Orantes, Digital Video Producer
HOW AND WHY DID YOU COME TO USE DESIGN TO ADVANCE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE AND/OR SUSTAINABLE PROJECTS, CLIENTS AND CAUSES?
My first encounter with designing for social good was when I was seven years old. I have a remembrance of watching my Father iron one of many beautiful equipment certification badges to his blue foreman uniform shirt. These patches were designed to communicate the skill level of an employe instantly. The unintended effect of this time-saving convention was a rise in respect, empowerment, pride, and professional development of the individual employee. Which ultimately facilitates advancement and support opportunities for his/her family and community. Although those iron-on wordmarks were designed for the bottom line, they evolved to serve a higher purpose socially. I kept this lesson close to my heart when providing meaningful and quality designs for our patrons. From invitations to exhibits, we ensure that our branding and collateral are culturally competent and innovative to address the community’s needs.
DOES 2019 PRESENT ANY SPECIAL CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES, URGENCIES, OBSTACLES IN DEVELOPING GOOD AND/OR SUSTAINABLE DESIGN?
Designers have an opportunity in 2019 to make inclusion and diversity our new superpowers! Design by committee is not a creative’s kryptonite. The quickest path to facilitate a viable, sustainable solution is by collaborating with other thought leaders outside of their own culture, gender, ethnicities, and denominational idea pools. Broadening ones’ think tank and horizons is the firsts obstacles towards developing good design. In the future, designers must adopt the mantra of doing good work with fewer resources, to benefit more people in the population. Its applicable, think tanks of the people, by the people, and for all the people is the only route to good sustainable design.