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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.

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.

New Work: ‘Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modern Art’

A true power couple and two of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera helped develop Mexican modernism, a movement that combined social realism and surrealistic imagery in paintings and murals that shaped Mexico’s cultural heritage. Over fifty years after their deaths, the pair continue to fascinate, and Frida is currently having a moment as the subject of several books and exhibitions. Pentagram’s Eddie Opara and his team have designed the catalogue for Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Mexican Modern Art, a new exhibition currently on view at the Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale that explores these famous figures and the other artists who defined the movement.

New Work: ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’

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Pentagram’s Natasha Jen and her team have designed the catalogue for China: Through the Looking Glass, the blockbuster exhibition currently on view at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Organized by Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute, the show explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion, and how China has inspired artists and designers for centuries. The exhibition launched with the annual Met Gala on May 4 and remains on view through August 16.

China: Through the Looking Glass is one of the largest exhibitions ever mounted by the Metropolitan Museum and features more than 100 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear by designers including Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood. These are juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other artworks, including films, which are highlighted for their importance in influencing fashion. (The celebrated filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai served as the exhibition’s artistic director.)

‘Mad Men’: The End of an Era

This Sunday the landmark AMC television series “Mad Men” signs off with its final episode. But just because the show is over, that doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to Don Draper: he lives on in a custom one-of-a-kind bench installed for the summer in midtown Manattan.

Over the course of seven seasons, viewers have become obsessed with the meticulously detailed world of ad man Draper and his colleagues in the “Golden Age” of advertising in 1960s New York. We caught up with several fans who reflected on the show’s impact—and what just might happen in the last episode—as they visited the Mad Men bench. In the words of one fan, “Unfortunately all things come to an end, but we’ll always have reruns.”

Designed by Pentagram’s Lorenzo Apicella, Michael Bierut and Emily Oberman, this “monument to Mad Men” transforms the iconic graphic of Draper from the show’s opening title sequence into a sleek bench where fans can “drape” like their hero. As one visitor told us, “How often do you get to sit next to Donald Draper?”

The bench is on display outside the Time & Life Building, once the fictional home of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, at 1271 Avenue of the Americas (between 50th and 51st Streets) through the summer.

Project Team: Lorenzo Apicella, Michael Bierut and Emily Oberman, partners-in-charge and designers; Jonathan Correira, designer; Matthew Clare, associate and designer; Dragan Skuljevic, designer; Julia Lindpaintner, project coordinator.

Film by Drew Bierut and Tyler Weinberger, Superseed Productions. Music by Jacob Rosati.

New Work: ‘Safdie’

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For five decades, the pioneering architect Moshe Safdie has designed iconic buildings and public spaces that have contributed in meaningful ways to their settings while catalyzing a vibrant public life. Pentagram’s Michael Gericke and his team have designed Safdie (Images Publishing), a definitive 50 year monograph that traces the evolution of the prolific architect, urban planner, educator, theorist and author. Safdie was awarded the 2015 AIA Gold Medal in recognition of his lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.

Safdie presents a complete chronology of Safdie’s planning and design work since the inception of his practice, ranging from his groundbreaking modular design for Habitat ’67 in Montreal to his current commissions around the world. Organized to follow the architect’s career and design explorations, the book is richly illustrated with architectural imagery, design drawings and essays by noted critics and writers.