• Graphics developed for the Raymond Lowey Gallery at the O. Winston Link Museum
    Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Cultural Exhibitions / Collateral Graphics / Signage Systems

The 1717 Design Group is a unique multi-disciplinary communications and design firm that focuses on shaping visitor experiences for the built environment.

Our office has earned the reputation as one of the leading environmental graphic design firms in the United States, recognized for the planning and design of innovative and engaging cultural exhibitions, collateral graphics, signage systems, and unique placemaking projects.

The Value of a Multi-Disciplinary Design Approach

Environmental Graphic Design is an unusual discipline that relies on the ability to seamlessly integrate a wide range of design skills, including architectural, interior, graphic, industrial, lighting, and media design. Having crossover skills under one roof offers our clients strategic and creative advantages as well as cost and management efficiencies when developing comprehensive projects.

When a project’s brand identity, exhibitions, publications, educational and marketing materials, wayfinding signage, and retail environments are developed in complementary ways, all of the messages “speak” with the same vision that the organization as a whole wishes to realize.

A Full‐Service Firm

The 1717 Design Group provides a full range of design-related services for a diverse portfolio of national clients. These core services include master planning, research, programming, design, construction documents, graphic production, and project administration.

1717 has the experience and expertise to give our clients a single source for many of their planning and design needs.

Design Team

John Crank is the founder and president of The 1717 Design Group. John’s business leadership and design skills have been a constant denominator in the accomplishments of the firm throughout its thirty-year corporate evolution. He has worked on over one hundred major exhibition and signage projects and art directed innumerable publications and identity packages.

The success of our work is a reflection of our talented design staff—past and present—and their ability to work together as a team. Their dedication and expertise are fundamental to the creativity of our approach and the quality of our work.


John Crank & Associates, Inc. was established in Arlington, Virginia, in 1984 to serve the museum community of metropolitan Washington, D.C. In the fall of 1988, Crank was invited to be a partner in a recently established design firm and relocated to Richmond, Virginia. With a growing reputation and client base, the firm leased new offices and became known as Franklin Street. In 1994, with the purchase of a 6,200 SF office space in the historic warehouse district called Shockoe Bottom, the firm adopted The 1717 Design Group as its permanent name.

Project Teams

1717 is frequently asked to join project teams assembled by architects, landscape architects, and other creative service firms to provide consultation and design services for comprehensive design projects. Our unique qualifications often stand out when strategic teams are needed to meet competitive RFP requirements.

1717 is a Virginia SWaM certified small and micro‐business, which makes us an even more attractive candidate when prime contractors are seeking partners to help them achieve the percentage of the required DBE/SWaM participation goals outlined for the project.

Creating with Spirit, Imagination, and Excitement

We have developed projects for museums, visitor centers, regional heritage and tourism partnerships, government agencies, and corporations that vary greatly in size, scope, and content. We enjoy working with a wide range of clients — from small non‐profits to large national institutions. We are proud that over 75% of our work is for repeat clients who have rewarded our efforts with commissions to design multiple projects.

Innovative, Engaging, and Imaginative Solutions

Regardless of whether we are creating exhibitions, graphics, signage, or retail settings, we are best known for our personalized service, attention to detail, and creative thinking.

As collaborators in the creative process, 1717 shares an interest in helping our clients and their visitors connect on both an emotional and intellectual level. We actively seek creative ways to make projects meaningful to a diverse constituency with varying needs, abilities, and limitations. As responsible designers, we strive to use sustainable materials that minimize the collective environmental impact associated with our projects.

Contact us
  • John C. Crank, Principal
  • The 1717 Design Group, Inc.
  • 1801 C East Broad Street
  • Richmond, Virginia 23223
  • Telephone 804 ‐ 644 ‐ 1717
  • 1717design@1717design.com
Front view of our office
View from our office

For specific driving directions from your location please use Google Maps.

Parking is available in the lot located behind the building accessible from 18th Street.

Take the sidewalk between the two brick buildings. Our door is located on the left.

The success of our work is a reflection of our outstanding staff and their ability to work together as a team. The multi-disciplined nature of environmental graphic design creates a collaborative atmosphere where designers with backgrounds that can range from exhibit design, architectural design, graphic design, industrial design, or interior design, work together to create seamlessly-designed environments. We are always interested to learn about new candidates who can add to the diversity of our existing talent base.

If you were inspired by our projects and are looking for intellectually stimulating work, please send us a cover letter and your resume. We are typically looking for designers with a design degree, two–four years experience, and demonstrated proficiency in standard Macintosh graphic programs (Adobe Creative Suite) and⁄or drafting programs (VectorWorks or AutoCad).

Submit your cover letter and resumé

via e-mail:

via U.S. mail:
John C. Crank, Principal
The 1717 Design Group, Inc.
1801 C East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23223