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Well-Designed Gifts for Every Budget Courtesy of Pentagram

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It’s December. A month that is full of parties, drinking, deadlines, ironic jumpers and endless poultry. And, the annual crisis of choosing what to buy for your mother, your friends, your colleagues, your neighbour and your significant other

We know time is tight, and that end-of-year shopping is a nightmare, so in the spirit of giving, we’ve made a list of gifts, from Pentagram, to suit every budget.

Gamechanger: A Cautionary Tale of Corporate Jargon

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Naresh Ramchandani and Marina Willer explain the thinking behind this year’s Pentagram holiday card. 

We have spent a long time working together and often speak about how, like many other people who do what we do, we have developed an allergy to corporate jargon.

We often laugh at a story from when Naresh worked with a man who, on their very first meeting, said the task he wanted him to achieve was “mission critical.” The task was to add a couple of pages to a corporate site, not to hack through a jungle or to take a ring to a volcano. Was it that critical? Well, given that he only had to amend an ‘About’ page, the failure to do so was neither going to halt the “mission,” —if that’s what it was—or kill anyone in particular.

New Work: ‘Malformed’

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An unusual new book designed by Stu Taylor and partner DJ Stout in Pentagram’s Austin office comes out of the closet, literally, on December 2. Published by powerHouse Books, Malformed: Forgotten Brains of the Texas State Mental Hospital features still-life images of brains by Austin-based photographer Adam Voorhes with reporting and essays by Alex Hannaford.

“The book will be out just in time for those hard to shop for Christmas gifts,” quips Stout. “But seriously, these expertly crafted images may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think they are fascinating and beautiful in their own right.”

New Work: ‘Boyhood: Twelve Years on Film’

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No artist has tapped in to Austin’s distinctive ethos like filmmaker Richard Linklater. His indie classic Slacker helped to define the laidback, “keep it weird” attitude of the burgeoning Texas metropolis.

Now, Pentagram partner DJ Stout and designer Stu Taylor in our Austin office have designed and produced a book of photographs by Matt Lankes that documents the making of Boyhood, Linklater’s critically acclaimed new film that has taken the country by storm.

New Work: ‘Jack Allen’s Kitchen’

Pentagram associate Julie Savasky and partner-in-charge DJ Stout in our Austin office have designed and produced Jack Allen’s Kitchen: Celebrating the Tastes of Texas, the first cookbook from the popular Austin-area eatery. Distributed by the University of Texas Press, the book will make its debut at the Texas Book Festival next weekend, October 24 through 27. Jack Gilmore, the restaurant’s colorful owner, is a bit of a celebrity chef, but he doesn’t look like one. With his tumbleweed mane, gray-streaked beard, and Cheshire Cat smile, he looks more like an unkempt Yosemite Sam than a culinary master.

“He looks like ‘Austin’ actually,” says Stout. “His hard work ethic, creativity in the kitchen, and devotion to sustainability and locally sourced food—he was doing ‘Farm to Table’ before it was cool—has made him one of the most admired chefs in these parts.”