Pixar: The Design of Story


Exhibition on view October 8, 2015 through September 11, 2016
Plan your visit to the museum today.

A capsule examination of the collaborative design process behind Pixar Animation Studios. On view in the Process Lab, the installation features original artwork—including rarely seen hand-drawn sketches, paintings, and sculptures from over 25 years of Pixar filmmaking–and creative exercises inspired by the Pixar design process.

Concept art from Toy Story, Wall-E, Brave, The Incredibles, and Cars, among other films reveal how the visual design process and story development work hand in hand at Pixar. From a film’s earliest stages, Pixar designers use the design processes of iteration, collaboration, and research to create appealing characters and believable environments that ultimately contribute to the success of the film’s story.

In addition, over 650 Pixar artworks are on view on the touchscreen tables in the Process Lab and the Great Hall, and are tagged to link the Pixar works to thousands of Cooper Hewitt-related collection objects.

Designing with pixar


Designing with Pixar: 45 Activities to Create Your Own Characters, Worlds, and Stories encourages artists and fans to explore their own imaginations through Pixar’s characters and scenes.

Purchase the Designing with Pixar activity book through SHOP Cooper Hewitt.

Highlights from the Exhibition

Click thumbnail images to enlarge.

Exhibition Online

From blob-like monster college students to digital renderings of curly hair in motion, explore all of the works featured in the Pixar exhibition online.

John Lasseter and Cooper Hewitt

“We are so honored to have Pixar’s work recognized by Cooper Hewitt, the nation’s design museum. Design touches every part of our lives, and Cooper Hewitt is doing fantastic work chronicling that influence in creative and inspiring ways. Cooper Hewitt’s pen is expanding the museum experience by sharing surprising connections between objects and providing a way for visitors to keep exploring at home.”

— John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios

John Lasseter joins Cooper Hewitt for an evening of conversation with Michael Bierut

In this Design by Hand series talk John Lasseter discusses his career as an animator for the Walt Disney Studios, where he first experimented with the then radical new medium of computer-generated imagery (CGI). With moderator Michael Bierut, Lasseter recounts how in 1984 he joined the Lucasfilm Computer Division, where he animated one of the very first CGI films: The Adventures of André & Wally B. After the division was bought by Steve Jobs and renamed Pixar, Lasseter wrote, directed, and animated Pixar’s first short films, including Luxo Jr., now screening at Cooper Hewitt.