You’ve seen her work all over the Denver Art Museum, but it’s time to introduce this creative powerhouse: Meet graphic designer Jena Siedler!
As a freelance graphic designer who began her career working at the DAM, Jena has realized many projects for the Learning & Engagement Department and numerous other teams at the museum.
Jena’s work pops up throughout the new Sie Welcome Center and renovated Martin Building, from the bold mural in Family Central to the activity graphics in the Creative Hub and playful family gallery games. Interested in what it’s like to tackle design projects for an art museum? Read on to hear how the DAM has featured in Jena’s colorful career.
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get into graphic design?
Graphic design is actually my second career. I earned a degree in finance and worked as a systems analyst for several years before I left to pursue my dream of becoming a graphic designer (a field that has interested me since I was a child). I decided to volunteer at the DAM when I was in design school, and—luckily—I was placed in the Publications Department before joining the team on a full-time basis. I have now been working in the design industry for more than 20 years, including a position at an architecture firm and freelance work focusing primarily on nonprofit clients.
Where do we see your work at the DAM?
I've had the opportunity to work on so many fun projects for the reopening of the Martin Building. Check out the portable family game in the Latin American Art collection, a board book featuring a wandering rabbit in the Western American Art collection, and an artist inspiration book in the ReVisión: Art in the Americas exhibition. Visit the Shop to see books I designed, including exhibition catalogs for Daniel Sprick, Linking Asia, Wyeth, and Fantastic Brush.
The large mural in Family Central has definitely been my most memorable DAM project. We were about to move forward with production when the pandemic hit, and the project was delayed. When the mural was finally installed in August, it felt almost surreal to see my illustration come to life on a grand scale.
Where do you find inspiration?
Contemporary art is a huge source of inspiration for me—everything from painting and sculpture to street art. I love bold and unexpected color combinations, and I'm equally intrigued by abstract compositions and incredibly intricate pieces. I enjoy visiting museums as often as I can, and follow my favorite artists, designers, illustrators, and graphic novelists online to stay up-to-date with their most recent projects.
What do you do when you get stuck?
One of the things I love about working for the DAM is being part of collaborative project teams. If I'm stuck, I can look to other team members for their thoughts and ideas about how to move forward. I also am lucky to live with two creative souls with lots of opinions: my children! They always have helpful feedback, and they get very excited when I incorporate their ideas into a project. My son was thrilled when—based on his suggestion—I added Godzilla into a mural in the DAM’s former Just for Fun Family Center that featured Japanese art.
What are you excited to see in the Martin Building?
Two of my favorite collections—Asian Art and Art of the Ancient Americas—will be back on view when the Martin Building opens. I feel like some of my favorite pieces in those collections are close friends that I haven't seen in ages, so I can't wait to visit them in their new homes. I also am excited to see Family Central in action.
Watching families and kids enjoy the new Family Central space, surrounded by graphics I designed, will be a wonderful experience.
The DAM has been fortunate to have Jena as a partner in creating these spaces and family-friendly activities.
Make plans to visit the museum and the new Martin Building after it opens to the public on October 24. Youth 18 and younger enjoy free general admission to the museum every day.