BEES: Tiny Insect, Big Impact

January 31, 2015—October 22, 2017


BEES was a 1,300-square-foot, family-orientated exhibit that touched on topics of honeybees and Bay Area beekeeping, the diversity of California native bee species, citizen science projects, and the similarities between bees and humans. Exhibited in the rotating portion of the GALLERY OF CALIFORNIA NATURAL SCIENCES, the project was initiated by an outside contractor. Soon after I stepped in as creative lead and exhibit designer, providing wall elevations, concept and branding, and exhibit graphics. I was ably assisted with production work by Nicole Johnson.

Creative Direction  |  Identity + Mark  |  Exhibit Design  |  Elevations  |  Graphic Design



Because the audience is parents and their children, as well as primary school groups, the gallery mid-line was lowered and larger typography was employed. The colors are warm and bold, suggesting a honeycomb; orange, gold, yellow, cream, and amber.

The "Busy Bee Cafe" interactive area prompts children to consult a menu of food items made possibly by bees and draw their favorite meals. Large diagrams illustrate the pollination process.

LIFE WITHOUT BEES talks about the importance of pollination to many of our crops, and invites visitors to try out artificial manual pollination tools.

There are several audio activities within the space, as well as flip panels.

This "Hive of Horrors" describes, in gory detail, the various threats that bees face in the wild, from pesticides to skunks, mold to mites. It was particularly fun to design the vernacular labels for the poison bottles and pesticides.

Color breaks divide the content of the bay spaces. Media elements are highlighted in large hexagonal swatches. 

The UP CLOSE WITH NATIVE BEES digital microscope interactive allows visitors to examine specimens.

The graphic panel language consists of hexagonal shapes, set apart consistently in both rows and clusters.

The exhibit typeface, Volta, recalls primary children's classic schoolbooks such as DICK AND JANE. The type family is designed for larger display sizes, and was ideal for the sense of scale needed in the gallery bays.

Children and adults alike are asked to try on beekeeping suits while using equipment.


The identity plays out in marketing and on campus. Amanda Boesen designed this children's t-shirt.