Nancy Abbott

RESP20_NANCYABBOTT

SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER DUPAGE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
NAPERVILLE IL

DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM) is a nonprofit organization where childhood is beautiful and joyful — just like the colors of the rainbow that influence our palette and point of view. DCM provides a world where all children can reach their full, unique learning potential through hands-on play. Nancy Abbott, Senior Graphic Designer, and our inhouse design team have the unique experience of designing something different every single day. Notes Abbott: “The Museum is like no other place I’ve worked in more than 30 years of design experience. A bad day at your desk can be offset by a walk through our exhibits — to see the children playing, living, and learning in your work.” Peter Exley, AIA President-Elect, and Sharon Exley, both of Architecture is Fun, share: “It may say ‘Graphic Designer’ on Nancy Abbott’s business card; however, ‘visual content driving force’ might be more appropriate. In every collaboration, Nancy is inquisitive, constructive, and a persistent advocate for the layering of meaning in every detail. This insistence on beauty, clarity, rigor, and truth results in outcomes that are accessible, equitable, inclusive, and relevant.”

HOW AND WHY DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN DESIGNING FOR GOOD AND WHY DO YOU BELIEVE DESIGN IS AN ESPECIALLY EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR THIS GOAL?

As a children’s museum, we design to inspire creative and critical thinking in the youngest members of our community, so that they will be empowered to solve the world’s problems. Providing open-ended opportunities for exploration and discovery is at the heart of DCM’s mission. Our designs support this by provoking curiosity rather than presenting answers, and allowing children to engage their imagination and create freely. We often design without relying on words, to ensure that preliterate children can understand and gain inspiration. I foster a hands-on, collaborative culture for the team. Our creative process influences everything from exhibit experiences, audience engagement, traffic flow, inquiry, and philanthropy. We strive to conceive the most imaginative and succinct way to illustrate the brand’s personality, purpose, and impact. Through DCM’s mentorship program, several young creatives have been able to launch their design careers from our unique workplace, while benefiting the Museum with a number of different styles and fresh perspectives. As a graduate of the mentorship program, Rebecca Bootz has blossomed into an award-winning designer in her own right. As Rebecca’s confidence grows, she continues to take risks that result in unique and beautiful products. Jaime Johnson, our Senior Marketing Manager, is an integral contributor to project management and creative concepts. With a clear sense of vision and purpose, she thoughtfully crafts language to connect with our various audiences.

GIVEN THE CONFLUENCE OF EVENTS AND CHALLENGES WE FACE THIS FALL, DOES 2020 PRESENT ANY SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES, URGENCIES, OBSTACLES TO DESIGNING FOR GOOD?

Childhood does not stop for a pandemic. Play is as important as ever! Although DCM had to temporarily shut its doors to visitors, we have a tremendous opportunity to support families in their homes. We shifted gears from being a destination for play and learning to being a community support during this challenging time. Design efforts that would have been focused on experiences in our building went digital. We’ve continued to design to inspire children and families to play together, to laugh together, and to learn together.

PICTURED LEFT TO RIGHT: NANCY ABBOTT, REBECCA BOOTZ, JAIME JOHNSON