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New Work: Sotheby’s

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Established in 1744, Sotheby’s is one of the world’s oldest and largest auction houses, and the oldest company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: BID). From its roots as a book dealership, the auction house has grown over the past three centuries into a global company that ranks alongside the great art museums in the breadth of its influence and expertise. Pentagram’s Abbott Miller has been collaborating with Sotheby’s over a two-year period to bring stronger coherence to the full spectrum of the company’s identity and communications, including its website, catalogues, and magazine. Miller and his team worked closely with Sotheby’s leadership, collections specialists, and design and technology teams in New York and London to develop the comprehensive program.

New Work: ‘Surf Texas’

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“If God meant for Texans to ski, he would have made bullshit white” is an anti-Texas bumper sticker that appeared in New Mexico and Colorado in the 1970s and 80s. You might think a similar derogatory sentiment could be said about Texans and surfing, but you’d be wrong. There are no mountains to ski on in the Lone Star State, but there is abundant coastline along the Gulf of Mexico—over 367 miles of it, to be exact. The Texas Gulf Coast is not Cape Cod or Malibu (nor does it want to be), but it does have a rugged beauty and charm all its own. And it has an enthusiastic and devoted surf culture that has not been fully documented until now.

Partner DJ Stout and lead designer Barrett Fry in Pentagram’s Austin office have designed one of the first serious visual explorations of the Texas Gulf coast surf scene which begins hitting bookstores this week. Surf Texas, published by the University of Texas Press with a foreword by Stephen Harrigan, showcases the lovingly crafted, black-and-white images of Austin photographer Kenny Braun. An exhibition and book release party for Surf Texas, Braun’s first monograph, will be held at the prestigious Stephen L. Clark Gallery in Austin this Saturday, March 22, from 6-9 PM.

New Work: ‘Szenasy, Design Advocate’

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For more than 30 years, the writer and educator Susan S. Szenasy has led the charge for ethical, sustainable and human-centered design. As editor in chief of the groundbreaking magazine Metropolis, Szenasy has guided and influenced generations of designers, architects, builders, manufacturers, journalists, educators and students. Szenasy, Design Advocate (Metropolis Books) is the first published collection of Szenasy’s writings. Edited by Ann S. Hudner, Akiko Busch, and Angela Riechers, the book includes editorials, reviews, stories, profiles, presentations, lectures, addresses, and even tweets. Pentagram’s Paula Scher has created a design for the book that conveys the revolutionary point of view of Szenasy’s writing and advocacy.

Szenasy will join Debbie Millman for a conversation and reception at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York tonight, March 20, at 7 pm. The event is free and open to the public with the museum’s pay-what-you-wish admission.

From the Archive: ‘Under the Skin’

This week sees the release of the critically acclaimed sci-fi horror-film Under the Skin, directed by Jonathan Glazer and starring Scarlett Johansson as an extra-terrestrial cruising the streets of Glasgow. The film is based on the Michel Faber novel published in 2000 by Canongate.

Angus Hyland designed the first edition of the book which had an initial run of only 2,000 copies. The design featured a semi-transparent flesh-textured jacket over a black and white image.

New Work: ‘Color Works’

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From establishing the tone of a brand to setting the mood for an environment, color is an inherent and invaluable component of graphic design—one that designers often use intuitively, without even recognizing it. Pentagram’s Eddie Opara has created a comprehensive new reference for using color in design, Color Works: An Essential Guide to Understanding and Applying Color Design Principles, out now from Rockport. Co-written with John Cantwell, the book is a highly readable primer on everything designers need to know about color, from scientific theory to cultural significance. It also features case studies by leading designers about their most colorful projects, including essays by Stefan Sagmeister, Paula Scher, Michael Rock, Brian Collins, Tony Brook, Gael Towey, karlssonwilker and Matt Pyke (Universal Everything), among others.

New Work: ‘Coyote v. Acme’

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In his never-ending quest to capture the Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote has been a faithful customer of the Acme Company, whose products—Spherical Bombs, Rocket Skates, Spring-Powered Shoes—invariably fail him at the worst possible time. Pentagram’s Daniel Weil has reimagined designs for five of these gadgets, rendered as a series of highly detailed technical diagrams. The drawings were inspired by Ian Frazier’s classic humor essay Coyote v. Acme and accompany a republishing of the article for Pentagram’s annual holiday card.

Celebrating ‘Drawing McCarthy’

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Pentagram recently invited friends, clients and colleagues to “Join the Party” to celebrate the publication of our newest Pentagram Paper, Drawing McCarthy, at a reception at Pravda in New York. The Paper collects a series of previously unpublished drawings created by the artist Arline Simon as she watched the Army-McCarthy hearings when they were originally televised in 1954. Simon was in attendance at the party, as were Victor Navasky, who contributes an essay to the Paper, and Pentagram’s Emily Oberman, who designed the book and also contributes an essay about the artist, who happens to be her mother.

The New York Times recently selected Drawing McCarthy for its 2013 Holiday Gift Guide, in which Times art critic Roberta Smith called Simon’s drawings of the hearings “spare, lovely things, primarily linear, that teeter appealingly between caricature and realism.” A limited number of copies of Drawing McCarthy are available for $20 each, with all proceeds to be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union. Contact info@pentagram.com for details.