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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.

Preview: The Bridge at Cornell Tech

Teaser video for The Bridge at Cornell Tech.

Construction kicked off this week on Cornell Tech, the $2 billion, 17-acre campus for technology on Roosevelt Island in New York City. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team are designing the identity for The Bridge at Cornell Tech, an innovative corporate co-location building on campus that will bring together students, companies, researchers and entrepreneurs to collaborate and interact, all under one roof.

Developed by Forest City Ratner Companies and designed by Weiss/Manfredi, the Bridge is the centerpiece of Cornell Tech and is conceived as an incubator that connects—or “bridges”—the gap between academia and industry leaders. The seven-story, 200,000-square-foot building will contain loft-like spaces where students and entrepreneurs can work with stunning views of Midtown Manhattan as the backdrop. Cornell Tech is set to occupy one third of the building, with a mix of startups and larger companies in the rest. The campus also includes an academic building and residential building, and is scheduled to open in summer 2017.

To launch The Bridge, Bierut and his team created a teaser video that highlights the idea of connection. The clip pictures a series of graphic intersections, then pulls back to reveal the Bridge logotype, set in the distinctive, tech-inspired font Three Six by Muir McNeil. The visuals are accompanied by propulsive music composed by Jacob Rosati.

Additional coverage: Fast Company.

Project Team: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge, designer and writer; Hamish Smyth, associate and designer; Todd Goldstein, designer. Music by Jacob Rosati.

Preview: ‘Live From New York!’


“Saturday Night Live” continues the celebration of its 40th anniversary with the release of “Live From New York!”, a new documentary feature film that explores the legendary sketch comedy show’s cultural impact and evolution into an American institution. The film premiered as the opening night selection of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and opens today in theaters nationwide.

Pentagram’s Emily Oberman and her team have designed all of the graphics for the documentary, including the identity, poster and motion graphics in the film and its trailer. A devoted fan who has watched SNL since the beginning, Oberman has collaborated with the show on many projects over the past two decades, both before and since joining Pentagram, including three iterations of its identity, several opening title sequences, commercial parodies, and most recently, the graphics for the 40th anniversary season and the design of Saturday Night Live: The Book, the definitive visual history of the show.

New Work: 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival


The 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival opens today with a bold identity, promotional campaign and trailer designed by Pentagram’s Emily Oberman and team. Produced by Film Independent and now in its 21st year, the Festival runs from June 10 to 18 at L.A. LIVE and showcases 74 feature films—including 39 world premieres—60 short films and over 50 new media works representing 35 countries. Simultaneously strong, colorful and evocative, the branding sets the tone for the extraordinary range of films presented at the Festival.

New Work: ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’

Opening titles for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” the new Netflix comedy from “30 Rock” creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.

In the extremely funny “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” the new comedy from “30 Rock” creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the titular heroine is rescued from a doomsday cult after 15 years of living underground and must use her irrepressibly cheery spirit to navigate contemporary New York. Pentagram’s Emily Oberman and her team have designed the identity and opening titles for the show, which debuts today on Netflix.

Played by Ellie Kemper (Erin on “The Office”), Kimmy is the living embodiment of spunk (and normally we hate spunk), a fish-out-of-water who is naïve and sheltered but blissfully well-equipped to deal with any situation, usually with hilarious results. Oberman’s ebullient graphics echo Kimmy’s sunny disposition with bold typography, a bright tween-age color palette, and a generous sprinkling of fairy dust. For the opening titles, the designers collaborated with “songify” artists the Gregory Brothers, who brought their special magic to a beyond-catchy theme song, written by composer Jeff Richmond, and who also created an extended viral-video version of the song.