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A Journey of Many 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.

New Work: ‘Mad Men’ Monument

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Over the course of seven seasons, the landmark series “Mad Men” has charted the rise of ad man Don Draper in the “Golden Age” of advertising in 1960s New York. Today AMC unveils a special installation that commemorates the show’s impact in the city. Designed by Pentagram’s Lorenzo Apicella, Michael Bierut and Emily Oberman, the monument takes the form of a sleek, elegant bench that features the iconic graphic of Draper from the show’s opening title sequence. Pentagram project coordinator Julia Lindpainter worked closely with AMC and the bench’s fabricator, DCL, to manage the design’s careful execution.

The bench is located outside the Time & Life Building, the fictional home of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (changed to Sterling Cooper & Partners in the sixth season), where Draper and fellow characters Roger Sterling, Peggy Olson, Joan Holloway and Peter Campbell work in the series. “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner and stars Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones, Christina Hendricks and John Slattery were on hand today for the sculpture’s unveiling.

The installation coincides with the show’s final seven episodes, which kick off on Sunday, April 5. The bench will be on display in the Time & Life Building Plaza at 1271 Avenue of the Americas (between 50th and 51st Streets) for fans and passersby to enjoy from March 23 through the summer.

New Work: Do The Green Thing

Creativity is an incredibly powerful tool that can inspire, seduce and provoke people into action. This is the basis of Do The Green Thing, an environmental charity co-founded by Naresh Ramchandani. It’s an online inspiration feed, filled with posters, videos, podcasts and objects by brilliant creative minds that use positivity to inspire people to live more sustainably.

After many conversations on how she could contribute to the cause, Marina Willer has developed a new identity for the charity, which encompasses the simple steps we can all take to living a greener life.

College Football Playoff Wins Big

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Last night Ohio State triumphed over Oregon 42-20 to win the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Watched by a capacity crowd of 85,689 in the stands and a cable television record of 33.4 million viewers—ESPN’s largest audience and highest overnight rating ever—the game represents a stunning success for the new era in college football.

Pentagram’s Michael Gericke and his team created an iconic trophy and visual identity to build the foundation for the new four-team playoff and raise its profile in the national conversation. The designs were fundamental elements in shaping every aspect of a mega sports event that combines the excitement of a tournament with a championship game on par with the Super Bowl.

Sleek and contemporary, the 24-karat gold, bronze and stainless steel trophy expands on the identity originally created by Michael Gericke and Matt McInerney for College Football Playoff. The symbol’s two rising brackets represent the coming together of the best teams in the playoff system and form the shape of a virtual football—the four laces of the ball portray the four playoff teams.

World Chess Championships 2014

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The World Chess Championship begins today in Sochi. For the next 20 days, incumbent Magnus Carlsen of Norway, rated as the best player in history, and five-time World Champion Viswanthan Anand of India will be battling for the title.

The Match is being played over a maximum of twelve games, with the winner being the first to score 6.5 points or more. The match is seen as the last chance for Anand to recapture the title from 23-year old Carlsen, after losing to him in Chennai last year.

This is the second world championship that will be played with Daniel Weil’s World Chess set.

Throughout the Championship Pentagram will be sharing daily results on Twitter. Live coverage of the match can be found on FIDE’s website.

A limited number of World Chess Set are available for purchase here.

New Work: Berry Bros. & Rudd Exceptional Casks Collection

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Berry Bros. & Rudd has released the first bottlings from its new Exceptional Casks Collection, an exclusive and exquisite range of rare spirits. Following Pentagram’s development of a new identity for the brand, Harry Pearce has designed the collection’s bottlings. 

New Work: College Football Playoff

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The College Football Playoff National Championship trophy is the ultimate goal of college football teams across the United States. Awarded to the winner of the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, the trophy represents the highest level of team achievement in the Division 1 NCAA sport.

Pentagram’s Michael Gericke and his team have created a dynamic and contemporary design for the trophy. Commissioned for the new era of the College Football Playoff, the trophy will be presented on-field to the winner of the Championship Game on January 12, 2015.

The new trophy is designed to be raised in celebration by the winning team. An ascending virtual football, the trophy’s handcrafted gold brackets surround a hardened steel core. The design features a focused football at the center of the base that rises within the trophy to form an actual-size ball. Standing at a total height of three feet, the trophy and base are two integral but separate pieces, so the trophy may be lifted up independently when it is awarded at the championship game.