Internship experience allows student to design Strong Museum exhibit

As an intern with The Strong National Museum of Play, Francesca Delaney ’24 (graphic design) had the opportunity to give the popular “Black Doll Designers” exhibit its visual identity.

Delaney created a vibrant design with striking typefaces that was inspired by African textiles and the doll design process. They were key components of the celebration of contemporary Black dolls and the creators who brought more representation to toy aisles.

The exhibit was a major portion of Delaney’s internship with the museum’s exhibits team. 

She designed and illustrated the titles and graphics. Additionally, she proposed and designed interactive and engaging activities for visitors, including doll mirror standees and an area for children to make their own paper dolls. She was able to gain more large-format printing experience by printing and trimming the labels she designed. 

Delaney’s illustrated poster, titled “Hand Sewn Doll,” is displayed in the exhibit area as well. She created the poster in her Digital Illustration class at RIT, and was excited to learn of the museum’s interest in displaying it.

The exhibit is a companion experience to “Black Dolls,” the museum’s exhibition exploring handmade Black dolls through the lens of race, gender, and history. Both were on view throughout fall 2023 and “Black Doll Designers” is still open. 

“My experience at The Strong complemented my studies at RIT,” Delaney said. “I used the skills I learned in my typography and digital illustration classes to bring the exhibit to life. RIT's standard for quality work helped prepare me for working on such a large-scale project.”

While interning, Delaney worked with Allie Cervantes ’23 (graphic design), who works full-time as the graphic designer for The Strong’s exhibits team.

Delaney also served as design editor of the latest edition of Signatures, RIT's student-run art and literary magazine. The publication was recently recognized by the National Council of Teachers of English in its annual Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines award program. Signatures earned the rank of Superior.

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