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New Work: Kikori Whiskey

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Pentagram Austin partner DJ Stout and lead designer Barrett Fry have designed the identity, packaging and print collateral for a new Japanese whiskey called Kikori. The name Kikori, which was developed by the Pentagram team, means “woodsman” in Japanese and was inspired by the lush forests that surround the distillery in Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu in southern Japan, where the whiskey is made.

In addition to a spare, all-caps word mark, Stout and Fry created a traditional Japanese symbol for Kikori featuring an image of a woodsman with an axe slung over his shoulder and carrying a lantern. The mark references Visu the woodsman, the stubborn protagonist in a cautionary Japanese folk tale about life without balance. Working day and night, Visu forsakes his family and friends. When advised to seek his spirit, he abandons his work and drifts even further from his family. Eventually he loses everything.

New Work: Food Truck Nation at Expo Milano 2015

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Hand-crafted hamburgers made with organic grass-fed beef. Wood-oven pizza topped with handmade cheese and seasonal vegetables. Korean tacos stuffed with locally sourced ingredients. Some of the best and most sustainable American food is currently being served by the artisanal food trucks and street vendors that are sprouting up all over the U.S. The USA Pavilion at the food-themed Expo Milano 2015 pays tribute to this casual culinary revolution at “Food Truck Nation,” an installation of six food trucks that offers a rotating menu of regional favorites.

Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have designed graphics for “Food Truck Nation” that build on the identity they developed for the USA Pavilion, designed by Biber Architects. Appearing in patriotic red, white and blue, the system of 160 custom icons works in tandem with the flag symbol to create a playful take on American iconography. The circular symbols are inspired by highway and roadside signs, as well as icons used in farming and agriculture, and graphically complement the massive billboard-size flag logo that anchors the Pavilion.

SAM Labs: Democratising The Internet of Things


Marina Willer and team’s identity for SAM Labs

SAM Labs is an innovative start-up that first came to public attention through a startlingly successful Kickstarter. Founded by Joachim Horn, SAM is the world’s most user-friendly kit for the Internet of Things – a way of connecting objects without the need for human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. SAM does this through a group of electronic puzzle pieces that connect to an intuitive digital interface, creating a Lego-like building set for the Internet of Things.

SAM introduces a playful new entry point to the world of coding, helping anyone create products, apps and experiences in seconds. It empowers creatives, students and designers alike to invent – building vacuuming robots, personalised doorbells, responsive shoes, smart pillows, shirts with cooling fans and much more.

At the heart of SAM’s mission is a desire to humanise technology. To communicate this at all levels, from product to collateral to language, SAM enlisted the help of Daniel Weil and Marina Willer to develop a product strategy as well as a visual identity and tone of voice.

New Work: Theatre Under the Stars

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Pentagram’s DJ Stout and his team in the Austin office have designed a new identity and website for Theatre Under The Stars, Houston’s acclaimed non-profit musical theater company known as “TUTS” to the locals. The completely overhauled website is a part of TUTS’ campaign to update and freshen the company’s brand, following the new logo reveal earlier this year.

Theatre Under The Stars, which offers a world-class musical theater experience ranging from full-scale Broadway productions to educational initiatives, literally got its start under the stars. Founded in 1968, TUTS began staging its mix of touring musicals and self-produced shows at the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park. What began as free summer shows, a beloved staple for the Houston public to this day, TUTS’ role in all facets of theater arts has flourished beyond its origins in the open air. To date, TUTS has produced more than 300 musicals including many local, national and world premiers and has made the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts its home.

New Work: Hazen and Sawyer

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Hazen and Sawyer is the world’s leading engineering firm devoted to water. Headquartered in New York, the company has 42 offices across the U.S., as well as in Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Jordan, and focuses on developing safe water drinking systems, as well as controlling water pollution and its effects on the environment. Pentagram’s Paula Scher and her team have designed a new identity for the firm that reflects its stature in the field.

The work Hazen and Sawyer does is incredibly important, especially as access to fresh water becomes a critical issue around the globe. Staffed by a team that includes many of the world’s top environmental engineers and scientists, the firm addresses these growing challenges. The new identity integrates the company’s mission into its logotype, which features a ripple of water inspired by the free water surface symbol, a notation used in water system engineering.

Melissa: Making Plastic Glamorous

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Melissa is a shoe company based in Brazil that creates extraordinary plastic shoes. Over the past 36 years they have collaborated with Vivienne Westwood, Zaha Hadid, Karl Lagerfield and many others.

Their designs include a broad spectrum of shoes, from simple sandals to extravagant sculptural wedges. Consumed by a huge part of the population in Brazil, they have also found celebrity fans in Katy Perry, Anne Hathaway and Kate Moss.

Pentagram London’s resident Brazilian, Marina Willer and her team have created a summer campaign for the brand, here she explains her return to Rio.

New Work: Knotty Objects


Title sequence for Knotty Objects, the inaugural MIT Media Lab Summit.

The first MIT Media Lab Summit devoted to design, Knotty Objects brought together designers, scientists, engineers, curators and scholars to celebrate the chimeric nature of contemporary design and how it defies a discipline-specific approach. Organized by Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at MoMA, and Neri Oxman and Kevin Slavin, professors at the MIT Media Lab, the conference explored the theme through four archetypal objects for which conception, design, manufacturing and use are non-linear, or “knotty”: the brick, the bitcoin, the steak, and the phone.

Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Aron Fay designed an identity for Knotty Objects that plays off the Summit title and theme with twisting and turning typography that builds on their identity for the MIT Media Lab. The knotty-but-nice type was applied to a full program of event collateral, including a title sequence that played before the start of the conference and environmental graphics for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and the MIT Media Lab, where the Summit was held on July 15-16.