Independence Day Reflections: Half Way Through the “Year of the Chief”


On this beautiful 4th of July, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on a patriotic project our team engaged in earlier this year.The unique experience of interacting with such a special team of military representatives left us further inspired by, indebted to and in awe of the work that they do.

At the start of 2012, Maga had the privilege of being involved with Navy Memorial, tasked with designing their “Year of the Chief” exhibit. The Navy Memorial serves as a commemorative site, simultaneously providing an engaging educative experience while honoring the personnel of the United States Navy. Each year, the Memorial chooses a specific community to honor (i.e. previous years included SEALS and Sea Bees) and customizes an exhibit to convey the components that make that group unique. Although the Memorial Plaza—which surrounds the museum with a majestic granite map and Lone Sailor statue—is itself an impressive site, the interior of the Memorial houses an arguably more impressive collection of media resources, interactive exhibits and historical artifacts.The project with Navy Memorial represented a number of ‘firsts’ for Maga—this was our first experience designing an exhibit, participating in a year-long campaign and, perhaps most exciting, was the first stationary piece of work we could show off to friends and family. That said, the project required a great deal of collaboration between our fearless account lead, Kate, designers, Memorial staff and—most importantly—countless admirable Chief Petty Officers.

Our research process began early in January with a graphic facilitation session (GFS) during which former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Herdt helped us lead an illuminating discussion between various ranks of officers. This GFS provided us with a great deal of insight regarding what information about Chief Petty Officers would honor their experiences but could also be easily understood and meaningful to those without military backgrounds. With these concepts in mind, the team performed an extensive amount of due diligence to confirm that all content was historically accurate and told the best story possible.

The result? On April 1st, the 119th Birthday of the Chief Petty Officer, Navy Memorial and Maga Design Group unveiled an exhibit that is rich in CPO history, present day anecdotes, unique traditions and honor. We encourage you to visit and step into this captivating world we’ve loved being part of.

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