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New Work: Success Academy

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Success Academy is the largest and highest performing network of charter schools in New York City. Founded and led by former city councilwoman Eva S. Moskowitz, Success Academy’s growing group of publicly funded, privately operated schools includes 24 elementary schools, seven middle schools and one high school that provide education for nearly 9,500 students across the city. Primarily serving underprivileged children, SA consistently has the highest test scores of any schools in New York, regularly outperforming institutions in wealthier communities. Tonight Success Academy will celebrate its own continuing “success” at its Third Annual Spring Benefit.

Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have designed a graphic identity for Success Academy that conveys the schools’ innovative educational mission. The system extends to environmental graphics that help motivate students and build school spirit at Success Academy locations, which share space with New York City public schools.

New Work: I Give An X

Only 65% of people voted in the last UK election, with a majority of non-voters being young people. In the run up to the General Election on 7 May 2015, Naresh Ramchandani, Marina Willer and their teams decided to combat this disengagement.

The result is I Give An X, a non-partisan, online campaign that asks people to visit the I Give An X website, pick an X to download and share as their profile picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with #igiveanx. By living in social media, I Give An X has a relevance to younger voters and, by allowing them to wear a virtual badge of pride, the campaign can influence their social circles as well.

New Work: Lloyd’s of London

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Lloyd’s of London is the world’s specialist insurance market, conducting business in over 200 countries worldwide. Established in 1871, Lloyd’s is synonymous with London’s skyline and is based in the landmark Inside-Out building by Richard Rogers. Every year, Lloyd’s generates an annual report to send to key stakeholders. The latest edition, which is both print and digital, has been designed by Harry Pearce and team and covers the financial year of 2014.

Pearce’s brief was to create a report that used the Lloyd’s pre-existing brand guidelines, whilst being a significant departure from annual reports of previous years. The report needed to be more than a financial brochure, it had to have an editorial and utilitarian feel.

A Pentagram Production: The Poems of Henry Ponder

Naresh Ramchandani explains how we came to make a short film about one of Britain’s most thoughtful, but lesser known, poets. 

I don’t know about you, but my life affords me barely any time to think. The amount of attention I give to my family, my work and to my other duties and pleasures – all manifest through unending calls, meetings, texts, emails and to do lists which never seem to shorten – leaves me precious little time for contemplation. It wasn’t always so.

When I was younger, I used to consider the world around me, and notice things, and think things, such as no matter when you reach a place, your nose will have got there first, or the fact that a stopped clock will tell the right time twice a day. These were not idle thoughts but simple reflections on a world which I had time to attend to, be mindful of and curious about.

That’s why it was such a pleasure last year to discover a minor poet by the name of Henry Ponder, a man tweeting very short daily poems in which he contemplated his everyday world. Henry wrote about the restorative nature of sweeping a floor, and the brusqueness of the language of warning signs, and the inner-softness and vulnerability of a pain au raisin, and more. As I followed his poems, they became mini-mediations not just in his day but mine, reminding me think beyond my immediate preoccupations; reminding me to stop and smell life’s proverbial flowers.

I decided that this unknown poet deserved to be better known. I contacted him on Twitter and arranged to meet him. In person, he was a small, shy man shy with unkempt hair and thick-rimmed glasses. When I suggested the idea of making a very short film about him, he thought for a while, and then said “That would be kind.”

New Work: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Magazine

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Partner DJ Stout and designer Carla Delgado in Pentagram’s Austin office have redesigned the flagship publication of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH). The second issue of the new magazine will be mailed this month. In addition to completely revamping the publication, the Pentagram team, working closely with the MFAH’s Director, Gary Tinterow, and the museum’s Publisher in Chief, Diane Lovejoy, changed the title’s name from MFAH Today to The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Magazine, or “h Magazine” for short.

New Work: Sick Bag Song

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Angus Hyland has designed Nick Cave’s latest book, The Sick Bag Song. Written during Cave’s 22-city tour of North America in 2014, the book reproduces in full colour twenty-two sick bags filled Cave’s scribbles about his encounters. Sitting somewhere between the styles of The Wasteland and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the book provides an intimate insight into Cave’s imaginative universe.

An Evening of Everyday Things

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Pentagram recently hosted a private view of ‘Everyday Things’, a collection of 19 objects by artists and designers curated by Do The Green Thing and WWF-UK to promote Earth Hour 2015. During the evening, 200 people filed into Pentagram’s front room to enjoy the exhibition and hear Naresh Ramchandani – the co-founder of Do The Green Thing and Pentagram partner – speak about why it was put together.

This is the third time that Do The Green Thing has teamed up with WWF-UK to create a campaign for Earth Hour. In previous years, the campaigns have been poster-based, featuring submissions from the great and the great, including Sir Paul Smith, Sir Quentin Blake, Marion Deuchars, Neville Brody, Rankin and Pentagram partners Paula Scher, Marina Willer, Domenic Lippa, Harry Pearce, Natasha Jen, Abbott Miller and Angus Hyland.

This year, Do The Green Thing and WWF-UK wanted to do something a little different. As Naresh Ramchandani explains, “We wanted to create pieces that could be in the real world rather than on a screen; that could be physically worn, touched, held, sat on, used; that could give a better sense of what a sustainable life and would actually look and feel like.”

New Work: Bike New York


Emily Oberman has designed a new identity for Bike New York, a non-profit organization that promotes cycling throughout the city.

Spring has finally sprung, and New Yorkers are hopping on their bikes to greet the beautiful weather. Just in time for the cycling season, Pentagram’s Emily Oberman and her team have rolled out a bold new identity for Bike New York, the city’s leading proponent of biking as a practical, sustainable, and healthy means of transportation and recreation. Along with the identity, the update includes a redesign of the Bike New York website, cycling guides and other collateral, and looks ahead to the organization’s biggest events, the TD Five Boro Bike Tour and Bike Expo New York, scheduled for May 1-3.

With a growing network of over 900 miles of bike lanes and the recent launch of the Citi Bike bike-share program, cycling in New York is more popular than ever. Over the past year and a half, Oberman and her team have been working with Bike New York on elements of its brand identity and messaging, with the goal of helping the non-profit organization better engage and connect with all of New York’s riders. While creating the new identity, the team designed the promotional campaigns for last year’s Tour and Expo, which previewed the new look.

New Work: The New School

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Paula Scher has designed a new identity for The New School that utilizes a custom font with letterforms in three different widths.

The New School has been at the vanguard of innovation in higher education for almost a century. Founded in 1919, the progressive university in New York’s Greenwich Village now combines design thinking with varied areas of study: from liberal arts to performing arts, from global policy to social research. Pentagram’s Paula Scher has designed a new identity for The New School and its constituent institutions—Parsons School of Design, Eugene Lang College for Liberal Arts, and Mannes School of Music, to name just a few—that reflects the university’s unique interdisciplinary approach.

Using custom typography, the identity establishes an iconic brand for The New School as a whole, while also setting apart the university’s different schools, institutes and programs. The identity introduces a groundbreaking bespoke typeface called Neue that is composed of extended letterforms. The typeface is revolutionary in its combination of regular, extended and very extended widths of the same font programmed together and used all at once. The typography embodies the progressive mission of The New School and represents a technological advance in the art of type design.

A Journey of Nine Pencils

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Naresh Ramchandani tells the journey of an idea, from conception to execution. 

This month, Do The Green Thing, the environmental charity I help to run, launched Everyday Things, a wonderful collection of everyday objects made by artists and designers to act as inspiring canvases for sustainable messaging and inspiring examples of sustainable design. The collection was made in collaboration with WWF-UK and celebrates Earth Hour, the worldwide lights off event.

We received many brilliant submissions from many brilliant creative people, including Flower Glass, a beautiful vase made from a wine glass and a coat hanger by Daniel Weil, Marina Willer’s handmade Sketchbox sketchbooks made from recycled cardboard and paper, wonderful badges made from old bottle tops by Ron Arad, a working record player made from paper by Simon Elvins, lights made out of Hawaiian beach litter by Sophie Thomas, and many more.

Inspired by these submissions, my team decided to turn try and create our own Everyday Thing. We’d noticed a slew of pencils in Pentagram London’s studio, discarded before they had been sharpened very far. To combat this wastage, and celebrate the creative potential of the humble pencil, we decided to challenge ourselves to create a set pencils that would encourage people to use them to the very end.

It turned out to be way harder than we first imagined, and took us nine attempts to get to something we were happy with. So you can enjoy our pencil highs and lows, allow me take you on our pencil journey through the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly to our final idea, Pencils To The End.