Unexpected Pleasures


Unexpected Pleasures is a Design Museum touring exhibition exploring the Contemporary Jewellery movement. First taking place at the NGV in Melbourne and coming to the Design Museum in December, the exhibition looks at what we mean by jewellery from a number of different perspectives. It traces the radical experiments of contemporary jewellers who have challenged the conventions of jewellery design. The exhibition also examines the essential meanings of jewellery, celebrating jewellery from the point of view of both wearer and maker. Barnbrook was commissioned to design the exhibition graphics, identity and catalogue.

The challenge for Barnbrook was to graphically represent a diverse movement in which works rage from beautiful, delicate brooches to large, angular body sculpture. Drawing inspiration from the exhibition’s diverse colourful forms, a bold, graphic identity was developed based around a bespoke typeface, vibrant colour palate and and a mix of patterns ands icons.

In the exhibition, each of the five sections were colour coded. In the book, each of the 28 chapters were coloured, with a progression through a spectrum as the reader moves through the book.

A pattern typeface was introduced as a complimentary graphic element, intending to represent the diversity of forms and ideas found in the exhibition. The typeface was used to create patterns in the book. For the the exhibition, it was developed into a set of reference icons used to denote works in circular display cases.

The exhibition identity on display outside the exhibition.

The exhibition was loosely separated into five zones, with way-finding in the form of hanging, laser-cut zone titles and colour coded captions.

The book – also called Unexpected Pleasures – is more than just a catalogue. In addition to the exhibited works the book features essays by Susan Cohn, the curator of the exhibition, and Deyan Sudjic, the director of the Design Museum.

The book explores many concepts surrounding contemporary jewellery; it looks at designed objects and their relationship with the body; it focuses on the on the historical precedents for art jewellery set by artists such as Alexander Calder; and examines the ideals, concepts and themes of the contemporary jewellery movement – a movement which sits at an intersection between art and design. Unexpected Pleasures explores how jewellery reflects changing technologies, methods, and material values and at the same time celebrates the individual wearer.

The front and back cover feature a clear but tactile spot-uv varnish.

The book is pointed on three paper stocks; the contextual section of the book is printed on matt coated, the exhibition section is printed on gloss and the historical section is printed on uncoated stock. The book is published by Rizzoli and available on Amazon.

Additional credits:
Exhibition design: Ab Rogers
Exhibition images copyright: National Gallery of Victoria Photographic Services