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A Devil of a Poster

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Now that it’s finally spring things are really starting to heat up in New York. Tonight the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine hosts its annual Maundy Thursday evening reading of selections from the Inferno, the opening section of Dante Alighieri’s medieval masterpiece the Divine Comedy. The dramatic literary event is presented in the Cathedral crossing and features a lineup of distinguished guests. Our poster for the reading uses the identity for the Cathedral designed by Michael Bierut, most recently seen on our signage for the institution’s four-legged parishioners. The graphics employ the custom font Divine, a redrawn version of Frederic Goudy’s 1928 Blackletter.

Project Team: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge and designer; Katie Barcelona, designer.

29 Posters For The Planet

How do you get people to live more sustainably? You inspire them. That’s the principle at the heart of Do The Green Thing, the environmental charity co-founded by Pentagram’s Naresh Ramchandani.

This month Do The Green Thing is partnering with WWF to release 29 Posters For The Planet, 29 pieces of inspiring creativity published daily in the run up to Earth Hour on March 29th. Contributors to the 29 Posters include Pentagram partners Paula Scher, Harry Pearce, Abbott Miller and Natasha Jen.

Paula Scher, in her poster above, sees a satanic side to our over-plugged lives, so she has created a devilish image and message, adopting the idiom of a 1940s civil action poster to inspire us to use less energy.

New Work: Yale School of Architecture Lectures, Exhibitions and Symposium Spring 2014

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Michael Bierut’s ongoing series of posters for the Yale School of Architecture follow simple design parameters: one standard size, black and white, and all type, in literally hundreds of different fonts since the series began in 1998. Designed with Jessica Svendsen, the new poster announcing the school’s spring 2014 lectures and exhibitions features its own custom typography, rendered as a single, continuous strip of “tape” that twists and folds in on itself to form dimensional lettering. The school’s circular “Y” emblem has also been configured from a folded shape.

Project Team: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge and designer; Jessica Svendsen, designer.

Calling All Young Creatives

Fancy spending a day at Pentagram London working with one of its Partners to create a poster to inspire the world? This is your chance.

Pentagram Partner Naresh Ramchandani has launched a poster design competition for his environmental charity Do The Green Thing, in collaboration with WWF for their Earth Hour campaign. Last year, Do The Green Thing lead the countdown to Earth Hour in March 2013, inspiring over 11 million around the world with 23 posters from world-class creatives.

New Work: Pecha Kucha Austin 18 Poster

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Pecha Kucha, which means “chit chat” in Japanese, is an evening of creative inspiration originally imported from Tokyo in 2003. Currently there are over 700 chapters in cities all over the world. The challenging Pecha Kucha format involves 10 local speakers chosen from a variety of disciplines who are allowed 20 slides a piece set on a timer of 20 seconds per slide. The fast-paced “20 X 20″ presentations, just over six minutes per person, make for a thoroughly entertaining night of insight, artistry and passion. The Austin chapter was founded by Herman Dyal and Carla Fraser, and Lana McGilvray and Pentagram partner DJ Stout took over as directors in 2011.

Stout and his colleague Stu Taylor at Pentagram’s Austin office started designing original posters for the events with Pecha Kucha volume 10, which was staged at a rock ‘n’ roll hot rod customizing garage called the Austin Speed Shop, and they have now completed the poster for Pecha Kucha 18, to be held this week at the Livestrong headquarters in East Austin. Over time the commemorative silk-screened posters, which always feature the names of the 10 guest presenters, have become collectors’ items in Austin.

Pentagram Designs Posters for InsideOut SF

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The charm and beauty of San Francisco have inspired countless artists and designers and earned it acclaim as the best and happiest city in America, not to mention the most romantic. (We know we love it.) To celebrate the city, AIGA San Francisco has curated InsideOut SF, an exhibition and silent auction of original poster designs that highlight personal impressions of the city. The show features new posters by Bay Area-based designers, photographers and illustrators (the “Inside” perspective), as well as some of the most influential creatives from around the world (the “Out”). Pentagram’s Natasha Jen, Eddie Opara, John Rushworth, Paula Scher and Marina Willer have all contributed designs for the event. (Check out the full list of contributors here.) Proceeds from the sale will benefit the San Francisco chapter of AIGA, with funds going towards scholarships, educational programming and community events, such as SF Design Week.

The posters will be exhibited and auctioned at the AIGA SF Fall Gala on Tuesday, November 12 at Terra Gallery, 511 Harrison Street in San Francisco. Get your tickets here.

New Work: National Theatre

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To celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, the National Theatre in London invited five internationally renowned graphic designers to each create a poster that represents one of the NT’s five decades. Pentagram’s Paula Scher has designed a poster that features custom typography inspired by the NT’s original home at the Old Vic. Other participating designers include David Carson, Michael Craig-Martin, Graphic Thought Facility and Jamie Reid. Each of the 20″ x 30″ (508mm x 762mm) signed prints has been published in a limited edition of 200 and is available for purchase at “Shopping and E*ting,” a special pop-up shop at the NT’s home on the South Bank, as well as online. Scher’s design is also available as a greeting card and tote bag. The pop-up launches today and remains open through 12 January.

Project Team: Paula Scher, partner-in-charge and designer; Jeff Close, designer.

New Work: Darden Smith, ‘Love Calling’

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Partner DJ Stout and designer Stu Taylor in Pentagram’s Austin office have designed a new CD package, posters and a lyric book for Austin-based musician Darden Smith. The multi-talented singer-songwriter’s newest release on Compass Records, Love Calling, features a not-so-loving image of a woman strapped to a large wooden wheel with multiple swords protruding from her back. “Obviously this album features love songs,” says Stout, “but as everyone knows, there’s a very thin line between love and hate.”

Included with the collection of love ballads is a song called “Angel Flight” that Smith wrote in 2009 with his friend Radney Foster. The song, which became a radio and Internet sensation, honors the military pilots who fly the planes that bring fallen soldiers home. That song gave Smith the idea for his successful Songwriting with Soldiers program, established in 2012, where the master songwriter works with veterans suffering from PTSD and other injuries. “The album also features a song about jealous love called ‘I Smell Smoke,’ and ‘Baltimore’ is a dark tale about shattered love and salvation,” says Stout, “so the songs aren’t all lovey-dovey. ‘Angel Flight’ is about the heart-wrenching consequences of war, so the violent image of the angelic-looking woman with the traditional weapons of warfare stuck in her back seemed to me to be an appropriate symbol for this collection of songs.”

For local hero Smith, who’s been writing songs and performing for 40 years, Love Calling opens a new chapter in the artist’s prolific career and circles back to his musical roots. “And that’s where the symbolism of the big wooden wheel on the cover comes into play,” says Stout. “Darden is a hard worker and he’s had his fair share of high points and low, both in music and love.”

New Work: Sundance Institute


Animated version of the new Sundance Institute identity.

Founded by the actor and director Robert Redford in the mountains of Sundance, Utah, in 1981, Sundance Institute has grown into a global nonprofit cultural organization that advances the work of storytellers in a variety of disciplines. Best known for the Sundance Film Festival, one of the largest showcases for independent cinema in the world, the Institute is also a resource for thousands of independent film, theater and music artists through its year-round labs, programs and initiatives including the Feature Film Program, Documentary Film Program, Theatre Program, Creative Producing Initiative, Film Music Program, #ArtistServices, and many more.

Pentagram’s Paula Scher has created a new identity for Sundance Institute and a flexible identity system that can be customized for the Institute’s many programs and initiatives. Bold, iconic and memorable, the identity is based around the simple form of a bright yellow circle, a play on the Institute’s name. Scher has also designed the graphic identity for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

New Work: Richard Rogers Royal Academy Exhibition

Opening today, Inside Out is an exhibition at the Royal Academy that celebrates Richard Rogers, one of the world’s most influential and admired architects. To promote the exhibition, Pentagram’s Marina Willer was asked to create an introductory film and Harry Pearce and his team created its visual campaign.