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New Work: KIPP NYC College Prep High School

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This week KIPP NYC College Prep High School celebrates the graduation of the second class of seniors who have studied at its new state-of-the-art building in the South Bronx. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have designed the program of signage, wayfinding and environmental graphics for the school, which is the first high school in the KIPP NYC network of 11 public charter schools and serves over 900 students in grades 9 through 12.

KIPP stands for “Knowledge Is Power Program,” and KIPP NYC students regularly outperform their peers at other New York schools and boast higher graduation and college matriculation rates. (KIPP NYC College Prep sees an extraordinary 100 percent of its students go on to apply for college.) This mission of educational empowerment extends to the graphics of the new building, which encourage students to think, learn and problem-solve as they encounter a series of codes, puzzles and riddles that have been integrated into the school environment.

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.

New Work: ‘Philadelphia Explained’

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In her typographic map paintings, Pentagram’s Paula Scher explores ideas of location and individual ways of seeing the world. Now, working in collaboration with students at her alma mater, the Tyler School of Art, Scher has expanded this unique point of view to an immersive environment. Philadelphia Explained is a large-scale installation that details the city and its surrounding areas in a hand-painted map created by Scher and 154 participants that covers the walls and floor of Temple Contemporary, the school’s 2,100 square-foot gallery.

Preview: ‘Live From New York!’

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“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

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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: ‘Revolution of the Eye’

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Award-winning dramas and groundbreaking comedies aside, television is seldom considered high art. But this hasn’t always been the case. Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television is a new exhibition at the Jewish Museum that explores how avant-garde art influenced and shaped the look and content of network television in its formative years, from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s. Pentagram’s Abbott Miller and his team have created a striking design for the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue that highlights the connection between television and modern art movements like Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art and Minimalism.

New Work: Shakespeare in the Park 2015

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Paula Scher’s iconic Public Theater identity goes to pieces in the campaign for this year’s Shakespeare in the Park, the annual free performances presented by The Public Theater at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. This summer’s program pairs “The Tempest”, Shakespeare’s stormy classic about the magic of storytelling, with the fairy-tale romance “Cymbeline”.

Scher’s campaign for the summer performances previews the look of the graphics for the Public’s 2015-2016 season. The Shakespeare in the Park poster campaigns used to exist apart from the fall season campaigns, but over the past few years the graphics for the Public’s most famous program have helped establish the seasonal look for all aspects of the institution.

Playing off the word “free,” this year’s design is handmade and exists as lines of sliced typography that are cut through photography or large-scale words. The tempest of type creates a mini-identity that both dramatically updates and functions within the familiar Public Theater brand.

New Work: ‘The Great Minds of Investing’

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The first time Michael O’Brien photographed Warren Buffett (for Esquire) in 1988 it changed his life. From that moment on the photographer became a devoted student of value investing, Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway, and a super fan of the “Oracle of Omaha.” He even named his dog Buffett. Now O’Brien’s portraits and William Green’s profiles of the top investors in the world have been published in The Great Minds of Investing, a new book designed and produced by partner DJ Stout and designer Barrett Fry in Pentagram’s Austin office.

The Great Minds of Investing, one of the first books of its kind, was the brainchild of Hendrik Leber, who is the founder and managing partner in ACATIS Investment, a German asset management firm based in Frankfurt. Leber found a co-conspirator in O’Brien and commissioned the value investment enthusiast to photograph 33 of the preeminent investors of our time. O’Brien traveled all over the U.S. and Europe to capture his elusive subjects on film. His large-format, black-and-white portraits, formal and dignified, show the confident demeanor of the profession—and a lot of nice suits.

Pentagram Papers 44: Hear, All Ye People; Hearken, O Earth

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Do typefaces matter? In July 2012, the filmmaker and author Errol Morris published a short and rather enigmatic quiz on the website of The New York Times. Without really understanding its purpose, over 45,000 people responded to the quiz, which purported to address the question “Are You an Optimist or a Pessimist?” Morris’s real goal, however, was to determine whether the choice of typeface had any effect on a message’s believability. His answer: It does.

This experiment is the focus of Pentagram Papers 44: Hear, All Ye People: Hearken, O Earth. Designed by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Jessica Svendsen, the book republishes the two-part Times essay in which Morris revealed the results of his test, and is set almost entirely in the typeface that he determined to be most trustworthy: Baskerville.