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Chicago Lowrider Festival Exhibition Identity 2023

Client
Slow & Low: Chicago Lowrider Festival
Navy Pier
Community
Cultural
Entertainment
Civic
Services
Branding
Environmental Signage
Exhibition Design
Campaign
Print
Awards
STA 100 2023
Credits

Nick Adam
Design Direction, Design

Cheryl Kao
Design

Also

Lauren M. Pacheco, Peter Kepha, Edward Magico Calderon
Curatorial Team

Ed Calderon, Max Herman, Nick Lipton, Katrina Nelken, Mike Pocious
Photographers

For over 80 years, Mexican-American and Chicano artists, mechanical engineers, and craft communities have shaped the vibrant American folk art of Lowrider culture. For the past 15 years, Slow & Low has hosted festivals celebrating the individuals and clubs in the Midwest.

The Slow & Low curators approached Span with a determination to elevate Chicago’s lowrider community. More than just a car show, Slow & Low is a celebration of identity grounded in self-expression, social change, master craftsmanship, and machinery. The opportunity to take over Chicago’s largest tourist destination came with the responsibility of placemaking.

I have long had a dream where we host a lowrider festival and marigolds fall upon us.”
Lauren M. Pacheco
Co-founder, Co-curator of Slow & Low

Collaborating with the event’s curators, Span designed a visual identity and exhibition graphics that foster a sense of belonging by celebrating the curators' dreams and the individuals of the community. Vivid, dimensional marigolds cascade across images from Slow & Low’s world-renowned and emerging photographers. Marigolds hold significance in Chicano and lowrider culture, symbolizing a celebration of faith, life, and death. The visual identity gains purpose by featuring Slow & Low’s photography, providing the design system with power by moving beyond showcasing stunning lowrider cars and highlighting the individuals in Slow & Low’s community. The juxtaposition of supergraphic flowers in the foreground of each designed item creates a dreamscape aesthetic.

In selecting our typographic palette, we drew inspiration from the cars, customizing Lucas Sharp and Wei Huang's Respira, a typeface inspired by blackletter found in ancient manuscripts and the plaques within each lowrider. This choice pays homage to the omnipresent role of faith within the community. Complementing this is Miguel Reyes’s graceful Canela, a supportive typeface that, like lowriders, defies traditional classifications.

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Navy Pier’s iconic wave wall was used as a vehicle to further activate a sense of belonging

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Exhibition images found across social media

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