SVA Students Brand MoMA Design Store’s ‘Destination: NYC’

May 20, 2013

Is the pigeon New York City’s unofficial mascot? There may be more people who think so this week, following the global unveiling of Destination: NYC, a collection of 200 New York-designed products for sale at MoMA Design Stores. The collection’s visual identity is the handiwork of students graduating from the MPS Branding Department at SVA, chaired by Debbie Millman.

“Branding is about giving shape and form to an idea or experience,” explains student Janavi Kotarthi. “In this case, it was telling a narrative about NYC through messaging, design and visual experiences.”

The SVA students worked over six months—in addition to regular coursework and full-time jobs—to create not one, but four logos, as well as product photography, store windows and displays, and print and digital marketing campaigns—even a tricked-out pretzel cart, one of the few student concepts that wasn’t realized. Students also built prototypes and fabricated display elements at SVA’s Visible Futures Lab alongside the MoMA Design Store team.

“Destination: NYC uses a flexible identity where disparate elements, from all corners of the world, collide, contrast and combine into a vibrant whole,” explains instructor Mark Kingsley. Along with a streetwise pigeon, a pretzel, graffiti, newspaper box and plastic deli bag make an appearance in the logos.

The collaboration has already proven a learning experience on both sides. “You have to be empathic to the client’s needs,” says Randy Gregory, Kothari’s classmate. “There are many external forces guiding a project, and as professionals, we need to be aware of and respect those forces.”

“The students’ work has inspired new thinking around our visual presentation of product in the catalog and in-store,” says Brian Bergeron, Assistant Creative Director at the MoMA Stores.

New York is the eleventh locale in MoMA’s Destination: Design series, which began in 2005 and has since featured Finland, Denmark, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Japan, Seoul, Brazil, Portugal, Istanbul, and Mexico; some of MoMA Design Store’s bestselling items are a result of the series.

Destination: NYC runs through the mid-August. Visit to view the students’ work in action. Watch SVA’s Facebook page and SVA Close Up for photos and more on the collaboration.

Images: MPS Branding Department Class of 2013; MoMA Design Store window, photo by Mark Kingsley.

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