This year’s edition of The Atlantic’s annual Ideas issue focuses on creativity and “how genius happens.” To celebrate the theme, the magazine invited three leading artists and designers to create images for a collection of cover for the issue, each highlighting a different aspect of creativity.
For his cover, Pentagram’s Eddie Opara rendered the brain as a colorful network of lines and connections. The illustration accompanies “Secrets of the Creative Brain,” an article by the neuroscientist Nancy C. Andreasen about the brain processes that foster creativity. In his note about the cover series, Atlantic Creative Director Darhil Hooks says Opara presents “the brain—an unfathomably complex organ—as an object both simple and beautiful.” Other covers for the issue were created by Shepard Fairey and Geoff McFetridge.
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The ongoing series of typographic posters designed by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut for the Yale School of Architecture has made use of literally hundreds of different fonts since the series began in 1998. For the poster announcing the school’s fall 2014 lectures and exhibitions, Bierut and designer Jessica Svendsen wanted to try Maelstrom, an unusual new font by Kris Sowersby of Klim Type Foundry. The reversed-stress typeface makes the typically thick strokes of a letter thin, and the thin strokes thick. The font’s architectural quality is brought out in the poster, which stacks the letterforms and their heavy horizontals into a typographic structure. (The designers made some small modifications to the “E” and “F” to slightly improve legibility.) The school’s circular “Y” emblem also appears in Maelstrom.
Project Team: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge and designer; Jessica Svendsen, designer.
The third edition of EXEL, the annual research magazine published by Drexel University in Philadelphia, begins hitting mailboxes this month. The new 2014 issue was designed and produced by designer Carla Delgado in Pentagram’s Austin office, with DJ Stout serving as art director and partner-in-charge. The Pentagram team, working with programmer Hunter Cross, also developed EXEL magazine’s online counterpart, exelmagazine.org.
The latest issue of the award-winning publication features an eye-catching shot of PVC pipe on its cover. Yes, PVC pipe—plastic pipe. The magazine’s distinctive cover format unfolds to reveal the name Drexel, a large graphic letter “X,” and a striking image of the blue pipe. Like the previous issues, the third edition of EXEL features a wide array of visually dynamic scientific photography, illustration and infographics, which are used in inventive layouts to express Drexel’s rich research narratives.
“Our emphasis is on featuring the research—the actual subject matter of the research—not just the researchers,” says Stout. “We believe science and research is inherently interesting.”
Continue reading “Update: Drexel University’s EXEL Magazine 2014″
Infographics are a dynamic way to visualize data, stats and other figures, and are especially effective at showing opinions—presenting graphic snapshots of what people are thinking and feeling, that help to shape how we view the world. Blopboard is an innovative new social network that enables users to ask questions, share opinions, and visualize how opinions and attitudes change over time. The platform uses the power of infographics to share what people are thinking—in real time, as they think it.
Pentagram’s Eddie Opara and his team have designed and developed Blopboard as a visually and socially engaging community that invites anyone to share their ideas and opinions, with data aggregated in thought-provoking charts and diagrams that can be customized by users. The designers worked closely with Blopboard co-founder Amy Kaufman to create the structure and functionality of the platform, which is available as both a website and mobile app.
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Quick Link: How Natasha Jen Transformed the Architecture of the Taiwan Pavilion Into a Graphic Identity
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.
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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.
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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 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.
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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.
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