September 6, 2016

Pentagram, Barnes Foundation Garner Top Award for Museum Publications Design

Arlington, VA ─ “Matisse in the Barnes Foundation,” a three-volume set of books that celebrates the extraordinary Matisse collection of the Philadelphia-based Barnes Foundation, has received the best-in-show award in the 2016 Museum Publications Design Competition of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). The winning design is by Abbott Miller and Kim Walker of Pentagram Design. The competition recognized 72 publications from 46 different museums and other cultural institutions in 11 categories.

The top prize is called the “Franny,” short for the Frances Smyth-Ravenel Prize for Excellence in Publication Design.  Smyth-Ravenel, who died in 1999, was editor-in-chief at the National Gallery of Art and a long-time judge in the publications competition.

“I remember Franny Smyth, and it’s a great honor to receive a prize that’s named for her. I’m particularly pleased that the Barnes’s ‘Franny’ was awarded for Matisse in the Barnes Foundation,” said Johanna Halford-MacLeod, Senior Director of Publications at the Barnes Foundation. “It’s the first authoritative publication on the Foundation’s Matisse collection–one of the most important collections of Matisse in the world–and it’s the gloriously vibrant culmination of years of dedication on the part of many people. The book is beautiful—Abbott Miller and Kim Walker are stellar designers—and with the contributions of Yve-Alain Bois, Claudine Grammont, and Karen K. Butler, among others, it is a major addition to Matisse scholarship.”

“Print media still remains vital in advancing our museums’ missions in research, scholarship and education. This year’s AAM publication design competition attracted a remarkably strong array of museum print media ranging from exhibition catalogues and books to educational supplemental materials from all types and sizes of museums,” said Dean Phelus, AAM’s Senior Director of Leadership Programs & Special Events. “For more than 27 years, the Alliance has recognized museum publications for their overall design excellence, creativity, innovation and ability to express an institution’s personality, mission or special features.”

Judges in the competition included:

  • Bennett DeOlazo, Studio B Creative
  • Susan Levine, Studio Von Bee
  • Eileen Kessler, President, Omni Studios DC
  • Karen Siatras, Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • Nancy Hacskaylo, Smithsonian, Freer|Sackler Museums of Asian Art
  • Antonio Alcala, Studio A

Other first prize winners included:

Among museums with annual budgets less than $750,000


Educational Resources

Art Museum, University of Saint Joseph / West Hartford, CT

Family Guide: Pan American Encounters (English & Spanish)

Designed by: Firebrick Design



Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art / Charleston, SC

Groundhog Day Benefit Concert Poster   

Designed by: Gil Shuler Graphic Design, Inc.


Newsletters and Calendar of Events

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art / Charleston, SC

Spring/Summer 2015 Calendar of Events

Designed by: Karen Ann Myers



Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University / Hamden, CT

Famine Folios: Series 2   

Designed by: Rachel Foley


Exhibition Collateral Materials   

Michigan State University / East Lansing, MI

Alisa Henriquez: Floaters   

Designed by: Kelly Salchow MacArthur


Exhibition Catalogues   

Katherine E. Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota: published in association with University of California Press / Minneapolis, MN

Covered in Time and History - The Films of Ana Mendieta   

Designed by:  Matthew Rezac, produced by Lucia|Marquand

Among museums with annual budgets greater than $750,000


Annual Reports    

Burchfield Penney Art Center - SUNY Buffalo State / Buffalo, NY


Designed by: White Bicycle


Press Kits, Marketing and Public Relations Material

Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery / Saratoga Springs, NY

A teaching museum is...   

Designed by: Linked by Air


Invitations to Events   

Freer|Sackler, The Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art / Washington, DC

Birds of a Feather Gala Save The Date and Invitation   

Designed by: Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian

Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art / Auburn, AL

John Himmelfarb Trucks Invite

Designed by: Janet Guynn


National Gallery of Art / Washington, DC

The Altering Eye: Photographs from the National Gallery of Art   

Designed by: National Gallery of Art, Washington



National Museum of Women in the Arts / Washington, DC

“Organic Matters-Women to Watch 2015” and “Super Natural” Exhibition Promotional Posters

Designed by: Tronvig Group


Exhibition Collateral Materials

Reynolda House Museum of American Art / Winston-Salem, NC

Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light // A Field Guide   

Designed by: Device Creative Collaborative

Exhibition Catalogues

The Menil Collection / Houston, TX

Barnett Newman The Late Work, 1965-1970

Designed by: McCall Associates

Institutional Materials

Museum of Contemporary Art

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Materials

Designed by: Dylan Gracareta, Mollie Edgar, Matt Tsang, Bryce Wilner

Educational Resources   

Savannah College of Art and Design, Art History Department / Savannah, GA

History, Labor, Life: The Prints of Jacob Lawrence curriculum guide   

Designed by: Savannah College of Art and Design


Magazines/Scholarly Journals   

The Studio Museum in Harlem / New York, NY


Designed by: Pentagram


See a full listing of first prize, second prize and honorable mention winners on AAM’s website.


About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 30,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit


Press Contact:
Joseph Klem
AAM Director of Communications
Phone: 202-218-7670