In 1952, Encyclopedia Britannica published Mortimer Adler’s monumental Great Books of the Western World series—431 works by 71 authors—covering core ideas of the Western canon.

Inspired by these works and with a desire to engage the general public in cultural discourse, Walter Paepcke, founder of Container Corporation of America, initiated an unprecedented campaign entitled the Great Ideas of Western Man. Great Ideas provided a platform for people such as Paul Rand, Max Bill, Herbert Bayer, Saul Bass, and René Magritte to bring attention to celebrated thinkers such as Mark Twain, Alfred North Whitehead, and Theodore Roosevelt.

With reverence and enthusiasm, the ChiDM is renewing this historic series. Our reprise, the Great Ideas of Humanity, is an acknowledgment of the increasing globalization or our world and resulting cross-pollination of ideas, philosophies, societies, and culture. In this spirit, we are connecting contemporary artists with important thinkers, to create new a new series of advertisements, displayed in public areas throughout the city and internationally. We consider this the start of something more—more ideas, more conversations, and more discovery.


One of a Series

Edith Wharton was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer, and designer. She was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927, 1928 and 1930.

Tanner Woodford on Edith Wharton



Bus Rapid Transit, City of Chicago

In an effort to promote public cultural discourse, posters from the Great Ideas of Humanity series and panels focused on hyper local architectural history were installed on Bus Rapid Transit system kiosks, for passengers to read while they wait for the bus.



Exhibition: Business of Design Week Conference, Hong Kong

In 2017, Chicago was the first American partner city at the Hong Kong Business of Design Week (BODW). As the partner city, World Business Chicago (WBC) and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) had the unique opportunity to showcase ChicagoMade, the effort highlighting Chicago’s unmatched creative industries.

Asia’s leading annual design conference and expo brings together pioneering designers and creative executives from around the world within different disciplines to share their insights and stories, and to explore new ideas and trends in design, business, technology and branding. More than 100,000 people attended this year.



Exhibition: Chicago Design Market, Store 3

The Chicago Design Market is an assembly of five connected pop-up stores on the third floor of Block 37, managed by the ChiDM. Market features established local brands alongside emerging artists and designers in the spirit of ChiDM’s mission to strengthen the city’s design community by making it more visible and integrated with other communities and the public. Market is open from July to December 2017, with new stores rotating in every month.


Read more about the Chicago Design Market.



Exhibition: Lost Arts

Lost Arts is a blend of laboratory, workshop, atelier, incubator, school and playground rooted in a legacy of interdisciplinary spaces like the Bauhaus and Black Mountain College.



Thanks to Matthew Terdich and Lauren Boegen for constantly pushing this project forward.