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New Work: ‘Paradise Planned’

Trends show that an increasing number of young Americans are eschewing suburban sprawl for life in the big city. Young people have typically moved to cities in their early to mid-twenties, returning to the suburbs years later with new families and new jobs. However, this metropolitan exodus is leaving suburbia in crisis, as many of the suburban ideals that were once appealing—automobiles, sprawl, and isolation—are proving to be less sustainable in a modern world.

Amid these changes, a new trend of retrofitting suburbs is now gaining popularity in metropolitan planning. The garden suburb, a phenomenon that developed in the late eighteenth century in England and the U.S., is regaining prominence as an ideal setting for life outside of, yet accessible to the city.

In their new book, Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City (The Monacelii Press), architect Robert A.M. Stern and co-writers David Fishman and Jacob Tilove make a case for the garden suburb as a model for future suburbs. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut, Aron Fay, and Yve Ludwig have designed Paradise Planned as a definitive history of the unique, outlying residential area and its relationship to the development of cities. The book was recently awarded the John Brinkerhoff Jackson Book Prize by the Foundation for Landscape Studies.

New Work: ‘thingworld’

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Presented by the National Art Museum of China, thingworld: International Triennial of New Media Art is the third edition in the museum’s series of large-scale surveys looking at current trends in art created with new media technologies. One of the most comprehensive international exhibitions staged in China, the 2014 triennial features 58 works by 65 established and emerging artists from 22 countries around the world. Pentagram’s Natasha Jen and her team have designed the identity, graphics and catalogue for the exhibition, on view this summer in Beijing.

Following earlier editions that focused on more ephemeral forms of new media art, the theme of this year’s triennial is “thingness”—object-based works that explore the salience of things. As triennial curator Zhang Ga describes it, “The world is a thing world…Thing is everything.” Many of the displayed works examine how objects mediate experience between people and the world around them.

Jen’s identity for the exhibition is built around customized Chinese typography. Chinese characters are pictograms—representing things—and the thingworld letterforms have themselves been objectified through modification.

End of ‘Century’


A behind-the-scenes look at the development and installation of Century at the AIGA National Design Center.

This week is your last chance to see Century: 100 Years of Type in Design, the landmark exhibition at the
AIGA National Design Center that celebrates the incredible diversity of typefaces and their integral role in design over the past 100 years. Created by Pentagram’s Abbott Miller and produced and curated by Monotype, the exhibition transforms the AIGA gallery into an immersive environment of typography.

In this video, Miller and Monotype Type Director Dan Rhatigan talk about how Century came together. Miller’s concept for the exhibition design builds on the idea that a single period contains the DNA of a typeface. In the finished exhibition, the walls and floor of the gallery at AIGA have been covered in a pattern of 1,058 different periods, drawing from 630 typefaces.

Century is on view at the AIGA National Design Center in New York through Thursday, July 31.

A Smaller Symbol

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A miniature edition of Symbol is due to be published in August. Authored by Pentagram partner Angus Hyland, with Steven Bateman, it condenses the appeal of the original 2011 book into a new, smaller format.

“The idea behind the book is to explore the visual language of symbols according to their most basic element: form,” Hyland writes. “We have brought together symbols conceived all over the world, in different times and for different purposes, and categorized them by visual types.”

The book lays these symbols out in a manner divested of all agendas, meanings, and messages that might be given by their customary contexts, isolating them so that the reader can enjoy them as a pictorial language in their own right.

New Work: National Center for Civil and Human Rights

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The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is a new museum that connects the American Civil Rights Movement with current struggles for human rights around the world. Located near Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, the Center harnesses the city’s legacy as a birthplace of civil rights activism to encourage visitors to think about the role they can play in protecting human rights.

Pentagram’s Paula Scher has designed a large-scale mural for the museum lobby that pays homage to the graphics of rights movements and brings them together in a bold new composition centered on a raised human hand. The installation has inspired its own viral mini-movement: Visitors are showing solidarity with the mural’s message by sharing images of their own “high fives” on social media.

New Work: Montague Street Business Improvement District

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Located in the heart of Brooklyn Heights, Montague Street is one of Brooklyn’s most charming downtown streets and an important commercial corridor that hosts a mix of more than 100 shops, restaurants and services along tree-lined blocks of architecturally historic buildings and residences. Pentagram’s Emily Oberman and her team have designed a new identity for the Montague Street Business Improvement District, the not-for-profit organization with the mission of making the street a great place to work, live and shop.

Oberman and her team worked closely with the BID’s Executive Director Brigit Pinnell to develop the identity. Oberman knows Montague Street well, having called it home for the past 8 years.

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.

New Work: Penguin Press

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Founded in 2003 by the esteemed editor Ann Godoff, Penguin Press is an imprint of Penguin that publishes literary fiction and quality non-fiction by a distinguished list of authors that includes Thomas Pynchon, Zadie Smith, Ron Chernow, John Berendt, Michael Pollan and Errol Morris, among many others. Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and his team have designed a new identity for Penguin Press that establishes an iconic symbol for the imprint. Bierut and his designers also recently developed the new brand identity for Penguin Random House, Penguin’s parent company.

Type Dancing: A Visual Identity for Riotous Company

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Pentagram’s Harry Pearce and his team have created a new visual identity and a series of performance materials for Riotous Company, the dance and theatre group that creates large-scale performances and chamber pieces with a worldwide collective of composers, dancers, singers, actors, writers and visual artists. Riotous Company’s work has been created in collaboration with leading companies and festivals in South Africa, Cuba, Nepal, Palestine, Portugal, Macedonia, Denmark and the UK.

The logotype was created by staging the typography, manually building a miniature stage and allowing the type to perform. The core idea of type integrating with performance weaves through all the poster work and becomes the visual language for the brand.